SportsGrid NHL Model Picks for Saturday, December 2
Saturday is synonymous with hockey. It’s typically the busiest day of the week in the NHL, featuring a bevy of intriguing matchups. That leaves many in-roads for bettors looking for edges in the gambling market.
To help players get a winning edge, we’re highlighting some of our favorite plays from the SportsGrid NHL Model.
Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Maple Leafs Moneyline (-115): 5-Star Rating
Two Original Six foes stand toe-to-toe in the epicenter of hockey as the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Boston Bruins. Although they’ve needed overtime in both contests, the Maple Leafs are riding consecutive wins into this Atlantic Division clash. However, momentum isn’t the only advantage they have in this one.
Recently, the Leafs have seen an uptick in their on-ice product. Toronto has posted an expected goals-for rating above 50.0% in three of six, crossing the 60.0% threshold twice over that stretch. Cumulatively, the team is up to a 50.8% rating over that stretch, hitting double-digit high-danger chances in all but two of those outings.
The Bruins are on the opposite end of the analytics spectrum, teetering on the precipice of regression. Boston has been outplayed in four of its past six with a 49.6% expected goals-for rating, underscoring a 2-3-1 stretch. Still, the B’s are due for ongoing correction as they remain well ahead of their season-long ratings. So far this campaign, the Bruins are operating at an actual benchmark of 59.5%, a substantial deviation from their expected goals-for rating of 51.4%.
Regression is inevitable for the Bruins, a trend that could be facilitated by an improved Leafs squad on Saturday night. That leaves a significant edge in backing Toronto as short home favorites. We rate it as a five-star play.
Seattle Kraken vs. Ottawa Senators
Kraken Moneyline (+104): 5-Star Rating
Nothing is going right for the Ottawa Senators this season, an issue that could be compounded by a challenging schedule. Tonight, the Sens host a Seattle Kraken team due for some puck luck after a span of above-average play.
The Kraken have been a dominant force lately. Seattle has tilted the ice in its favor by asserting itself on both ends of the ice. The NHL’s newest franchise is up to 9.3 high-danger chances per game over their last seven, getting out-chanced just once over that sample. That improved structure on both ends of the ice has inflated the Kraken’s expected goals-for rating to 57.6%.
The opposite is true for the Senators, who have fallen flat on their faces this week. Ottawa has been outplayed in two of its previous three, extending a downturn in their play. Extending the lens further back reveals a more concerning trend in which the Sens have been outplayed in eight of 12, losing seven of those games.
Playing in opposite conferences isn’t the only contrasting characteristic about this matchup. The Sens have struggled mightily this season, whereas Seattle is starting to find its rhythm. On that basis, we’re backing the Kraken as road underdogs, rating it as a five-star play.
Vancouver Canucks vs. Calgary Flames
Flames Moneyline (-120): 5-Star Rating
We are staying on the Canadian theme, highlighting a Pacific Division matchup with our final pick. The Vancouver Canucks came flying out of the gates this season, going 12-3-1 to open the year. They’ve come back down to earth since then, losing five of their last eight. We’re betting that downward trajectory continues against the Calgary Flames.
Vancouver was doomed for failure after outlasting its sub-optimal metrics. The Canucks sit in the bottom half of the league with a 49.3% expected goals-for rating, a significant departure from their second-rated 59.6% benchmark. As expected, the air has been let out of their sails, with the Canucks seemingly destined for ongoing correction.
Conversely, Calgary has put forth some convincing efforts this week. The Flames skated past two top Western Conference contenders, knocking off the Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars. Those wins were backed up with improved underlying metrics, supporting the Flames’ ongoing success.
The Flames have won three of their last four while extracting some of their best efforts of the season. The same can’t be said for the Canucks, who have floundered after an unsustainable start. That’s enough to warrant a play on the home side as short faves.
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