NHL Betting Picks for Thursday 3/7/24: Kings Fighting for Playoff Spot

Scott Edwards Jr.
Scott Edwards Jr.@ScottEdwardsJr
NHL Betting Picks for Thursday 3/7/24: Kings Fighting for Playoff Spot

A huge 12-game slate features some exciting matchups to bet on with many of the top teams in the NHL playing.

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

St. Louis Blues at New Jersey Devils

Blues +1.5 (-152)

The New Jersey Devils have underperformed all season, which is why siding with the St. Louis Blues to cover is the move tonight.

If someone said at the beginning of the 2023-24 NHL season that the Blues would have more wins than the Devils this year, I'm not sure many would believe you. St. Louis has been a steady hockey team this season. They're averaging 2.87 expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60), which is towards the bottom of the league. However, they're playing a Devils team that is scoring only 2.90 goals for per 60 minutes (GF/60) themselves in their last 10 games.

In terms of keeping the puck out of their own net, the Blues have leaned on Jordan Binnington, who has answered the challenge. While they have an expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) average of 3.40, they're actually only allowing 3.04 goals against per 60 minutes (GA/60), ranking them in the middle of the NHL.

Where New Jersey truly struggles is keeping it out of their net. They are sporting 3.12 xGA/60 but that turns into 3.48 GA/60, the fifth-worst mark in the league this season.

These numbers work against one another well in support of the Blues, which is why they should be able to cover at +1.5 tonight.

Buffalo Sabres at Nashville Predators

Predators ML (-172)

The Nashville Predators are chasing a playoff spot and are currently holding the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. Taking down the Buffalo Sabres tonight can play a big part in that.

All the noise this season has gone to other teams, but the Predators deserve their flowers. While Nashville ranks 13th with a 62.08 Corsi For (CF/60), what may be most impressive is that they're 7th with a 3.27 xGF/60. Those numbers are beginning to shine increasingly, considering they average 3.16 GF/60 overall.

On the opposite end, they're allowing 3.06 GA/60 with Juuse Saros leading the way in net. He'll get the start tonight, as he does most nights, and should be able to stop a Sabres' offense that doesn't have much bite to it.

Buffalo has averaged just 2.88 GF/60 on the season, which ranks 24th in the NHL. Along with that are defensive metrics that aren't as bad, as they're holding opponents to only 2.96 GA/60, but their 3.12 xGA/60 means that the Predators should be able to score with their offensive onslaught. That's especially the case against Eric Comrie, who has been bad with a 3.87 goals against average (GAA) and .868 save percentage (SV%).

Ultimately, Nashville is 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and is one of the best teams going right now. The Sabres shouldn't be able to stop them with the way they're going.

Ottawa Senators at Los Angeles Kings

Kings ML (-188)

It's been a whirlwind of a season for the Los Angeles Kings, but they're in a good position right now to earn a playoff spot.

The Kings have watched the Vegas Golden Knights fall down the standings and now find themselves tied up with the team that was at the top of the Pacific Division in the early goings of the season. The Kings have the edge right now, and they'll need to keep winning to earn that spot.

That brings us to tonight, where Los Angeles will be facing the Ottawa Senators. This is about as good a matchup as they can get tonight because of how bad the Senators have been and seemingly will continue to get. They just traded Vladimir Tarasenko, taking away some of their offensive firepower that has actually been the bright spot for their lacking campaign.

Ottawa averages 3.21 GF/60, but they're allowing 3.54 GA/60, ranking at the bottom of the NHL. A big reason why is their goaltending, of course. Joonas Korpisalo will get the start, and he's been one of the worst goalies in the league. In 39 games, he has a 3.41 GAA and .887 SV% while having the worst goals saved above expectation (GSAx) in the NHL at -17.13. The Kings can strike big tonight.

Los Angeles ranks sixth with a 3.31 xGF/60 and keeps the puck out of their own net with a 2.90 xGA/60. They're the type of team that the Senators struggle against, giving us all the confidence in betting the Kings' moneyline.

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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.