NHL Betting Preview: Two Underdogs Provide Value on Opening Night

NHL Betting Preview: Two Underdogs Provide Value on Opening Night article feature image

Stan Szeto, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Erik Karlsson

Betting odds: Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Canadiens Moneyline: +200
  • Maple Leafs Moneyline: -240
  • Over/Under: 6 (-120/-101)
  • Time: 7:05 p.m. ET

>> All odds as of 12 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NHL odds and track your bets

The Air Canada Center will be rocking tonight as the Toronto Maple Leafs host their longtime rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. For the first time in a long time, expectations are quite high in Toronto and they are quite low in Montreal.

There’s no getting around that Toronto is clearly the better team in this one and wins this game more often than not. Even without William Nylander (contract holdout), the Leafs’ top six is fantastic and should own the puck.

Montreal’s best chance in this game is relying on goaltender Carey Price. The Habs should also see some success against Toronto’s subpar defense — especially on the right side.

At this number, the odds imply that the Maple Leafs have a 67.4% chance (when adjusting for the vig) of winning on Wednesday night. The Leafs’ price is probably a little inflated by public perception (home opener, big debut, etc.) and I think the value is on Montreal as a 2-1 underdog on opening night. It’s a bet you lose more often than you win, but that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong one to make. Let’s just hope Price is on his game.

The Canadiens are +205 at some shops, so make sure to look around for the best number. Even so, I like this bet at +190 or longer.

Bet: Montreal +200

Betting odds: Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals

  • Bruins Moneyline: +105
  • Capitals Moneyline: -125
  • Over/Under: 5.5 (-120/-110)
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Channel: NBCSN

The scene at Capital One Arena will also be worth checking out as the Capitals will raise a Stanley Cup banner for the first time in team history.

The Capitals’ roster didn’t change much over the offseason but Washington did lose head coach Barry Trotz to the Islanders. Trotz was a whiz at getting his teams on the same page, especially defensively, so it will be interesting to see how Washington adjusts to life without him.

The Bruins have the best line in hockey with David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, and the rest of their top nine is solid, too. They will be without Torey Krug, though, and that dings them a bit.

This number opened at Boston +115, and at that number I’d suggest betting on the Bruins, but anything lower than that is a pass. These odds have adjusted to the right spot.

Betting odds: Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks

  • Flames Moneyline: -135
  • Canucks Moneyline: +115
  • Over/Under: 5.5 (-115/-105)
  • Time: 10 p.m. ET

The Canucks are one of the worst teams in the NHL and have holes up and down their roster. The offense will rely heavily on sophomore Brock Boeser and rookie Elias Pettersson. Jacob Markstrom will be in goal for Vancouver and he’s not the type of goalie to steal a game.

This will be Calgary’s first game under new head coach Bill Peters. The former Hurricanes coach turned Carolina into a possession juggernaut over the years, and the Flames were one of the league’s best teams in terms of shot share last season.

Calgary is a deserved road favorite, and at the current number I don’t see anything of note.

Betting odds: Anaheim Ducks at San Jose Sharks

  • Ducks Moneyline: +150
  • Sharks Moneyline: -170
  • Over/Under: 5.5 (+105/-125)
  • Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
  • Channel: NBCSN

Erik Karlsson makes his debut for the Sharks tonight, and I think that is providing some value in this game.

With Karlsson, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, San Jose has one of the league’s best defenses, and its forwards are strong as well. The Sharks are a legitimate contender in the West.

The Ducks are dealing with some injuries (Ondrej Kase, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler) but they’ve got skilled players up front ready to fill in. They also have one of the league’s better top fours on defense, and in goal will be John Gibson, a Vezina Trophy candidate.

While San Jose is the better team in the matchup, this is a lot closer than the odds suggest, and I think, largely thanks to Gibson, Anaheim is a live dog at the Shark Tank.

Bet: Anaheim +150