SportsGrid NHL Model Picks for Saturday, November 18

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.

The Oilers Should Have Fired Ken Holland, Not Jay Woodcroft

Edmonton Oilers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Lightning Moneyline (+102): 5-Star Rating

A couple of wins under a new head coach have seemingly calmed the waters in Edmonton, but there’s a much more sinister consequence following the move. Edmonton’s analytics have imploded. Granted, it’s only been two games, but now that the Oilers are heading out on a four-game Eastern Conference road trip, we could see diminished efforts from them on the road. That starts with Saturday’s matinee against the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

In two games under Kris Knoblauch, the Oilers have failed to generate any meaningful offense. In total, the team has totaled just 15 high-danger and 42 scoring chances, well below their respective season averages of 11.8 and 25.4. Worse, Edmonton has been out-chanced in both games despite playing on home ice. Every team is a little more insulated on home ice but will pay for those miscues on the road. 

At the same time, we’ve seen an uptick in the Lightning’s production. Tampa Bay has posted an expected goals-for rating of 59.0% or higher in three of their past four. Cumulatively, the team has a 56.9% rating over that stretch but only has one win to show for their efforts. That makes the Lightning natural progression candidates over their coming games. 

Nobody on the Oilers knows what’s going on. Although some may point to the coaching change spurring the team into action, their analytics suggest otherwise. Conversely, the Lightning have upped the ante recently and are due for an increase in wins. Don’t pass up the value on the home underdog Lightning.

New York Islanders vs. Calgary Flames
Flames Moneyline (-146): 5-Star Rating

Arguably, the Calgary Flames’ current state of disarray matches the Oilers. Several prominent Flames players have expressed dissatisfaction with the environment, requesting trades. The difference is Calgary continues to churn out above-average metrics but doesn’t have the wins to reflect its performances. Thankfully, they catch a tired New York Islanders squad at the end of a long road trip. 

Calgary’s anticipated progression is best reflected in its goals-for ratings. So far this season, the Flames have put up a respectable 52.3% rating, ranking top ten in the league; however, their actual percentage of 43.9% is much more dismal. More wins should follow as these metrics balance out.

The wheels have fallen off the Islanders’ wagon at the end of a long roadie. New York has been substantially outplayed over its last two outings, mustering a paltry 35 scoring and 15 high-danger opportunities across that modest sample. That standing won’t improve as the Islanders contend with a condensed schedule and multi-time zone trip planning.

The Flames’ on-ice dominance is captured in their current state. Calgary has posted an expected goals-for rating above 59.6% in four of their previous six. The Islanders haven’t kept up with worse analytics teams lately, ensuring Calgary walks away with this one.

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Washington Capitals
Blue Jackets Moneyline (+132): 5-Star Rating

With our final pick, we’re keying into another key underdog in a Metropolitan Division matchup. The Columbus Blue Jackets travel to take on the Washington Capitals on Saturday night. The betting market has installed the Caps as home chalk, but our projections suggest the advantage lies in backing the Jackets. 

Columbus has turned a corner with its recent offensive production. The Blue Jackets have attempted 11 or more quality chances in two of their last three. Predictably, that’s resulted in increased output, with the former expansion team tallying a 9.5% shooting percentage at five-on-five. 

That improved play coincides with a collapse in the Capitals’ metrics. Washington has given up at least 12 quality chances in four straight, with opponents averaging 13.0 per game. However, that’s had an inverse impact on goaltending, as Capitals netminders have combined for a 94.5% save percentage at five-on-five. 

The bottom will fall out of the Capitals’ goaltending metrics any day now. They can’t continue to get steamrolled and have their goalies save the day. It’s worth betting that Columbus comes to town and facilitates some of that regression tonight. 

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