NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Ducks vs Golden Knights (Thursday, April 18)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Ducks vs Golden Knights (Thursday, April 18) article feature image

Zak Krill/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Tomas Hertl of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Ducks vs Golden Knights Odds

Thursday, April 18
10 p.m. ET
Ducks Odds+320
Golden Knights Odds-400
Over / Under
-115o / -105u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

Depending on who you view as the best team in the West, the Knights do have something to play for in Game 82.

A win would mean a first-round date with the Oilers, who are tied as the outright favorite to win it all at most sportsbooks. A loss would likely mean a date with the Stars (and Kings would need to beat Chicago) and staying in the Central Division side of the bracket.

The Ducks are locked into 30th place and will finish with the third-best chance of claiming Macklin Celebrini in this summer's entry draft.

They're 2-7-1 over their last 10 and have put up a 14-24-2 record on the road this season. They'll have NCAA leading scorer Cutter Gauthier in the lineup tonight, and he'll be making his NHL debut after putting up 0.93 goals per game this season with Boston College.

Let's dive into the NHL odds for Ducks vs Golden Knights and make a pick and prediction in our betting preview for Thursday, April 18.

Anaheim Ducks

After a surprisingly hot start to the season under new coach Greg Cronin, the Ducks faltered tremendously. However, you could say they still made some progress compared to what we saw in 2023 under Dallas Eakins, particularly as injuries played a key factor in the lowest points of the season.

Anaheim was laughably bad defensively last season, allowing a historically high 4.09 goals against per game and a nearly identical 4.11 xGA/60. This year, its actual goals mark improved to 3.60 goals against per game (29th) to go with a 3.67 xGA/60 (28th).

The Ducks' injury situation remains relatively bad ahead of this game, as Mason McTavish and Pavel Mintyukov both appear unlikely to play in the season finale.

Gauthier took practice yesterday on the Ducks' top line alongside Alex Killorn and Leo Carlsson. Comparable college prospects have been able to jump in and make an immediate difference at the NHL level recently, and it's realistic to think he already raises Anaheim's upside in his debut.

John Gibson is projected to get the start in net on Thursday. The difference between Gibson and Lukas Dostal has been marginal, so goaltender confirmation doesn't matter much from a handicapping standpoint.

Gibson owns a -9.9 GSAx and .888 save percentage in 46 appearances.

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Vegas Golden Knights

The Knights can't be overly happy with their two prospective first-round matchups, as they're staring down oddsmakers' consensus Western Conference favorites. By no means should the Stars or Oilers be happy to see a first-round date with the defending champs, either.

Even with a number of significant pieces still on the sidelines, the Knights have rounded into solid form ahead of the playoffs. They've played to a record of 10-4-1 over the last month of action and have controlled play with a 54.1% expected goals share.

Noah Hanifin and Tomas Hertl have both trended into dominant form over the last several weeks, which has helped cover up for some key pieces who are still out of the lineup such as Alex Pietrangelo and Mark Stone.

Chandler Stephenson and Anthony Mantha missed Tuesday's game against Chicago and are set to remain on Vegas' lengthy injury list for this matchup.

It will be interesting to see if the Knights go with Adin Hill or Logan Thompson for the start in Game 1 of the playoffs, but Hill has been confirmed as the starter for this matchup.

Hill has been in far worse form than Thompson down the stretch. At this point, it's loosely rumored that Thompson will be the Knights' starter for Game 1 of the playoffs despite Hill's spectacular form in last year's cup run.

Hill owns a +7.5 GSAx and .910 save percentage across 34 appearances this season.

Ducks vs Golden Knights

Betting Pick & Prediction

The Ducks have continued to be one of the worst defensive sides in the league recently and will likely be exposed again in Game 82. They've offered more on offense of late, though, and I think they'll chip in on this low total.

The Knights have been involved in a lot of high-scoring games this month. Their goaltending has been middling, but their offensive play has surged.

Over the last 10, they've averaged 3.8 goals per game, and that came against teams that can defend far more effectively than Anaheim.

You can bet the over 6 at -115 at bet365, and I see value in betting 6 at anything better than -120.

Pick: Over 6 (-115 · Play to -120)

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