NHL Best Bets: Picks, Odds for Oilers vs. Golden Knights & More
David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images. PicturedL Shea Theodore of the Vegas Golden Knights
- NHL games on Friday include two Game 5 matchups -- Panthers vs. Maple Leafs and Oilers vs. Golden Knights.
- Our hockey experts made their picks and have multiple bets for tonight's NHL games.
- Below, check out their favorite picks, including a team total, a juicy draw bet and a trio of player props.
Check out our NHL Game 5 best bets from our crew of hockey experts for Friday, May 12.
The 2022-23 NHL postseason continues with tonight’s doubleheader, in which one team looks to clinch the second-round series while another series is knotted at 2-2.
Below, check out our hockey crew’s top picks, including Panthers vs. Maple Leafs as well as Oilers vs. Golden Knights tonight.
Panthers vs. Maple Leafs Team Total
Tony Sartori: The Toronto Maple Leafs return home for Game 5 against the Florida Panthers. After avoiding the sweep in Florida, the Leafs continue to hang onto their playoff lives against a Panthers team that leading the series 3-1 and is currently firing on all cylinders.
Florida leans heavily on its powerhouse offense, scoring three or more goals in six of its past seven games this postseason. This trend should not be surprising given the Panthers’ hyper-aggressive offensive play and desire to go south-to-north as quickly as possible.
At five-on-five in the regular season, Florida finished first in the league in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60). Featuring three 30+ goal scorers and a roster full of offensive-minded players both in the forward and defensive group, the Panthers receive plenty of scoring help no matter who is on the ice.
Meanwhile, Toronto’s blue line has been questionable, allowing three or more goals in six of its past eight playoff games. While the defense is deep, it features six guys who are solid, but not spectacular, on the back end.
The Leafs attempted to bolster this blue line with the acquisitions of Luke Schenn and Jake McCabe at the trade deadline, but the results have not been there. Since the Christmas break, Toronto ranks in the bottom half of the league in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) at five-on-five.
Backing up this fade-worthy defense is goaltender Joseph Woll, who is thrust into a tough spot due to the injury to Ilya Samsonov. Through three appearances in the crease this postseason, Woll possesses a mere .902 SV%.
Panthers vs. Maple Leafs Player Prop
Greg Liodice: These playoffs have really shown off the impressive depth of the Florida Panthers. However, one player stood out to me in first round.
Eetu Luostarinen was a thorn in the side of the Bruins, racking up five points in the seven games played. However, since the series with Toronto started, Luostarinen has been held off the scoresheet in every game.
You can see he’s a player poised to break out. The 24-year-old forward is shifty and speedy with a deceptively good shot. He also enjoyed a career-high year with 43 points, a little more than half a point per game.
The second-round production has slowed for him, but after four games, I think it’s time the fourth-year veteran gets on the board. He’s fifth on the team in expected goals with a 55.62 xGF%, seventh in PDO with a 1.027, and generates a decent amount of high-danger chances. Grouped on a line with both Sam Reinhart and Anton Lundell is also a massive help, given that both have had a stellar second round.
It’s only a matter of time until the Finn gets on the scoresheet. At +152, I think it’s a real solid opportunity to potentially make some money here.
Pick: Eetu Luostarinen over 0.5 points (+152)
Oilers vs. Golden Knights Moneyline
Grant White: The Edmonton Oilers invade T-Mobile Arena for a critical Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights. Both teams have put forth sub-optimal efforts throughout the series, which is tied 2-2, but we’re expecting the Knights and Oilers to be at their best in this Pacific Division showdown.
Analytically, these teams have been nearly indistinguishable through the first four games of this series.
Edmonton has attempted 34 high-danger chances to Vegas’ 33. Conversely, the Golden Knights hold a modest shot attempt advantage, directing 90 shots on target at five-on-five compared to the Oilers’ 87. Cumulatively, the Knights have a modest 52.3% advantage in the expected goals-for rating.
Although the scores have been lopsided, this second-round matchup has been closer than it appears at first glance. Neither team can afford to come out flat, and we’re anticipating a tightly contested affair on Friday night. As such, it’s the perfect time to back the 60-minute tie at +370.
Pick: Tie in regulation (+370)
Oilers vs. Golden Knights Player Prop
Nicholas Martin: Vegas’ top right defender, Alex Pietrangelo, will be suspended for this contest. That absence should mean that Theodore is asked to step up and play huge minutes as he slides up to the top unit.
Theodore gets power-play time normally, but he should still see an increase in usage on that front, as well. This series has gotten a little out of control in terms of player safety, which means we could likely see referees call this game very tightly to try to keep things in check. If there are more power plays than normal, that is great for this play,
Theodore’s output of shots on goal is trending quite low, but part of the reason why is due to a higher-than-average number of his attempts have not found the target. He ranks fourth on the Knights with 13.19 shot attempts per 60 this postseason.
Theodore is a more capable offensive defender than he has shown so far this playoff. He had some tough moments in Game 4, but with Pietrangelo he will be given every opportunity to make up for that performance tonight.
Oilers vs. Golden Knights Player Prop
Ryan Dadoun: Brayden McNabb ranked second in the league in blocks during the regular season with 198 in 82 contests, so just in general, him getting at least three blocks in a single game isn’t a rarity.
That’s been especially true in the second round, where he’s averaged nearly that many – with 11 blocks through four outings.
That’s part of the reason why I think he’s a strong play for tonight, given the solid potential return attached to the bet. The other factor is the exclusion of teammate Pietrangelo, who will serve a one-game suspension Friday.
McNabb has averaged 18:23 of ice time versus Edmonton in this series, but he should see several minutes of additional work in Game 5 as the Golden Knights adapt to playing without their team leader in playoff ice time this year. Naturally, the more work McNabb gets, the more opportunities he’ll have to get in front of pucks.
That extra projected ice time is what elevates this from a good bet to a great one, in my mind.
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