NHL

NHL Betting Picks for Monday 3/18/24: Flames Look to Stay Hot Against Capitals

Scott Edwards Jr.
Scott Edwards Jr.@ScottEdwardsJr
NHL Betting Picks for Monday 3/18/24: Flames Look to Stay Hot Against Capitals

There won't be much to pick from tonight as the NHL week kicks off with just two games.

Whether it's moneylines or total goals, there are plenty of ways to bet on the NHL action all season. It's a long 82-game campaign, meaning that the best selections of each night can be very different based on backup goalies coming into play, injuries that add up, and if teams are due for positive or negative swings.

Let's dive into the best bets for tonight.

Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All NHL betting odds and totals are from the NHL odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. All advanced statistics are used from MoneyPuck.com and NaturalStatTrick.com.

NHL Best Bets

Washington Capitals at Calgary Flames

Over 5.5 Goals (-140)

Not only do we have just a two-game slate to pick from tonight, but both games are battles of non-playoff teams. The first up is between the Washington Capitals and Calgary Flames, who have a low total of 5.5 goals that I expect them to surpass based on recent play.

For much of this season, these two teams haven't been all too good at scoring -- a reason why the 5.5 total makes sense. The Capitals have averaged just 2.58 goals for per 60 minutes (GF/60) in all situations, massively underperforming on their 2.91 expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60). The Flames have been better by a good chunk. Coming into tonight, Calgary places in the middle of the league (15th) with 3.12 GF/60 and a quietly impressive 3.24 xGF/60.

In recent games, the Flames have been keeping up their end of the bargain scoring-wise while the Capitals have raised their game, giving us some confidence for tonight's tilt. Over the last 10 games, both of these teams are top-15 in GF/60. The Capitals are 13th with 3.20 GF/60 while the Flames are scoring at a high rate of 3.60 GF/60, the 5th-best in the NHL. Let's bank on this continuing tonight.

Each team is allowing plenty of goals in that same span, too. The Flames have 3.60 goals against per 60 minutes (GA/60) despite 3.02 expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60). Washington has an xGA/60 of 3.14 and has played on par with that, allowing 3.14 GA/60.

These two teams should be able to deliver tonight based on the trends of their recent play.

Buffalo Sabres at Seattle Kraken

Sabres ML (+102)

While it hasn't been their year, there's been a lot to like about the Buffalo Sabres when they're playing lower teams in the league. That's where we are tonight when they face off with the Seattle Kraken.

Buffalo has been above average when it comes to keeping pucks out of their own net. They rank 12th in the NHL with 2.93 GA/60. The same can be said for the Kraken, however, as they're holding opponents to just 2.77 GA/60.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Joey Daccord will get the starts in net tonight, essentially cancelling each other out. Luukkonen has posted a 2.40 goals against average (GAA) and .915 save percentage (SV%). Meanwhile, Daccord has a 2.45 GAA and .919 SV%, proving his quality and consistency night in and night out.

Expectations for both these teams heading into the season were not met, especially after Seattle made the playoffs last season and Buffalo had one of the best offenses a year ago. The Kraken are in the bottom five when it comes to goalscoring with 2.64 GF/60. It shouldn't be too surprising considering they have a 2.76 xGF/60, which is also in the bottom five. For the Sabres, they're doing as expected with their GF/60 and xGF/60 being the same at 2.90.

The main difference between these two teams is scoring overall, which hasn't been all too easy for either team, but the last 10 games say more. Seattle has dropped two straight games and is averaging just 2.17 GF/60 in their last 10. The Sabres have been far better, scoring 3.04 GF/60, which gives them all the edge we need for tonight.


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.