NHL Underdog Bets: Greg Liodice’s Likable Losers (Thursday, April 11)

NHL Underdog Bets: Greg Liodice’s Likable Losers (Thursday, April 11) article feature image

Adam Hunger/Getty Images. Pictured: Jesper Bratt #63 and Timo Meier #28 of the New Jersey Devils

If you like juicy NHL bets, be sure to check out Greg Liodice's Likable Losers for tonight, Thursday, April 11, with his top underdog picks.

To be a likable loser, a number of stars have to line up. When we hit that place-bet button, we always want a "sure thing." Because of that, we tend to lean a certain way with NHL bets.

That "sure thing" is usually the betting favorite. Bettors probably see that a team is favored to win at -200 odds and think that’s the best way to cash a winner (or, at the very least, create some momentum). And if you care just about wins and losses with your NHL bets, you’re not wrong.

However, while that heavy favorite is a favorite for a reason, the name of the game is value. And one way to tilt the odds in our favor and find that value is by betting on NHL "losers" – teams that have underachieved and disappointed for the most part. But we don’t want to bet those underdogs willy-nilly – that’s just irresponsible.

Instead, in addition to betting on NHL losers that pass the eye test, we’ll examine trends with 10-game samples, 5-on-5 play, goaltending matchups, and more.

I’ll be here to conduct that research so you don’t have to. Let’s make some money and dive into what we have in store for tonight's NHL bets.

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NHL Bets – Liodice's Likable Losers

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that I'm targeting from today's slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

GameTime (ET)Pick
7 p.m.
7 p.m.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NHL Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

Devils vs. Maple Leafs

Thursday, April 11
7 p.m. ET
Devils (+170)

New Jersey Devils

It’s been such an incredibly disappointing season for the Devils, who put everyone on notice last year. Now they’ll be watching the Spring Classic from home.

They also just got word that superstar Jack Hughes will be done for the remainder of the season – a blow to an already lost season.

New Jersey fell to Toronto on Tuesday at home, 5-2, and in its last 10 games, the Devils have gone just 4-5-1.

Why to Bet New Jersey

With all that’s going wrong for the Devils, it’s the perfect opportunity to stick it to the team that beat them just two days ago. The Maple Leafs are still looking to gain home-ice advantage. They’re currently three points back of Florida.

Additionally, the Devils excel on the road, with a 20-17-2 record.

Seems like a perfect recipe for the Devils to play spoiler.

Amid all of this, it looks like we’ll be seeing Kaapo Kahkonen return to the crease. Kahkonen missed a few games due to a lower-body injury, but the Finn gives the Devils the best chance to win. In the few games he’s played in the Garden State, he’s posted to a solid .905 SV%, and for the season, he has a -0.8 goals saved above expected (GSAx).

Toronto Maple Leafs

Perhaps the most polarizing team in the NHL, the Maple Leafs yet again find themselves in the playoffs. After finally breaking the spell last year of not making it past the first round, there are still doubters.

Toronto has won three games in a row. The Leafs have also gone 7-3 in their past 10 games, and they're loaded with star power. Auston Matthews is having another superb season with 66 goals while Mitch Marner and William Nylander average more than a point per game.

Why to Fade Toronto

Can we trust the Maple Leafs in big-game situations?

While they had one amazing stretch in February, the Leafs tend to have games in which they zone out and play down to their competition. I think tonight is going to be one of those games.

The lights will be bright, and Leafs fans will expect their team to sneak up one point behind Florida for home-ice advantage. Toronto’s netminding is also in question. It has been nearly impossible to put any faith in either Ilya Samsonov, Martin Jones or Joseph Woll.

As mentioned, their opponents in the Devils have a solid road record, and on top of that, I have to imagine revenge is on their minds.

Toronto has played like the better team all year, but this has the makings for a spoiler win by the Devils.

Pick: New Jersey Devils (+170 at ESPN BET)

Capitals vs. Sabres

Thursday, April 11
7 p.m. ET
Capitals (+115)

Washington Capitals

Washington has truly stunned us all. In the midst of a heated playoff race for a very attainable spot in either a wild-position or the third seed in the Metropolitan Division, the Capitals are still in the thick of things.

It’s been a rather down year for the Caps, but after a massive surge in the past few weeks, Washington has made its presence felt.

Alex Ovechkin is on a tear with four goals in as many games, and Dylan Strome is having a career season.

Why to Bet Washington

Well, for starters, the Capitals' power play seems to be finally clicking. They’ve scored at a 22.6% clip in their past 10 games.

Their 5-on-5 play since March 25 has been quite suspect, but I have more faith in the power play making a difference. Their opponents in the Sabres find themselves in the penalty box frequently, which will allow the Capitals to make their mark.

I also think that the reason why Washington is listed as an underdog is because of its road record vs. Buffalo’s home record. The Sabres beat the Capitals at home earlier this month, 6-2, so that also has to play a factor.

The big factor in this game, though, will be goaltender Charlie Lindgren. Lindgren was a force in the win against Detroit on Tuesday, stopping 42 of 43 shots, including all nine high-danger shots against. He’s been a massive bright spot for this team, and good teams rely heavily on good goaltending.

Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres have been eliminated from the playoffs for the 13th consecutive year. This is a sad story, considering their talent and the promise on the horizon.

They’ve lost two in a row along the way, and they've gone 4-6 in their last 10 games.

Tage Thompson and Alex Tuch have performed at a high level in the past month, and Rasmus Dahlin has solidified himself as an elite defenseman.

Not only that, but Buffalo has some solid scoring depth in JJ Peterka and Jeff Skinner. It’ll only be a matter of time until the playoffs return to Western New York.

Why to Fade Buffalo

As much as I want to back Buffalo, it’s such an unreliable team.

The Sabres are terrible at 5-on-5 play, and in the last 10 games, they've scored on the power play at a horrendous 13% clip.

Luckily, they’ve gotten good goaltending all season from Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, but even he has struggled over the past five games with an .895 SV%.

I’m still surprised that FanDuel has Buffalo as a favorite even during this poor stretch, but I’m just assuming it’s because of its home record. Beyond that, I can’t imagine them being a favorite, especially at this juncture.

Pick: Capitals (+115 at FanDuel)

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