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NHL best bets
NHL best bets

Can the Nashville Predators inch closer to a playoff spot today with a victory over the struggling Winnipeg Jets? Read on for our NHL best bets for Saturday, based on the best NHL odds.

Even after dealing away several veterans at the trade deadline and losing a couple of their top snipers to injury, the Nashville Predators find themselves in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race with less than a month to go. Nashville can move within two points of a wild-card berth this afternoon when the team hosts the struggling Winnipeg Jets in one of several games with huge postseason implications. 

Here are our top NHL picks for Saturday (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Check out our NHL picks.

Saturday’s NHL schedule and odds

(odds via FanDuel)

  • Colorado Avalanche (-176) at Detroit Red Wings (+146)
  • Boston Bruins (-160) at Minnesota Wild (+132)
  • Winnipeg Jets (-142) at Nashville Predators (+118)
  • Edmonton Oilers (-132) at Seattle Kraken (+110)
  • Carolina Hurricanes (-240) at Philadelphia Flyers (+195)
  • New Jersey Devils (-105) at Florida Panthers (-114)
  • Montreal Canadiens (+300) at Tampa Bay Lightning (-400)
  • Toronto Maple Leafs (-144) at Ottawa Senators (+120)
  • Pittsburgh Penguins (+128) at New York Rangers (-154)
  • Vancouver Canucks (+162) at Los Angeles Kings (-196)
  • Dallas Stars (+106) at Calgary Flames (-128)
  • Chicago Blackhawks (+130) at Arizona Coyotes (-156)
  • New York Islanders (-170) at San Jose Sharks (+140)

Saturday’s NHL best bets

  • Moneyline: Wild ML vs. Bruins (+135 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Team Total: Predators Under 2.5 goals vs. Jets (-103 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Puck Line: Oilers -1.5 vs. Kraken (+180 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐
  • First-Period Moneyline: Canucks ML vs. Kings (+130 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐

Saturday’s NHL top picks

Moneyline: Wild ML vs. Bruins (+135 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

Boston still has a chance to set single-season records for wins and points in a season, but it’s not going to be easy. After suffering regulation-time losses in three of their last five games, the Bruins would need to collect 12 victories and 26 points in their final 15 contests to break those respective records.

Boston players like Brad Marchand have already told reporters that they don’t care that much about breaking regular-season records, and we might already be seeing the Bruins’ intensity slipping a bit with first place in the league all but clinched.

There’s no lack of intensity right now from the Minnesota Wild, who extended their team-record point streak to 14 games with Thursday’s 8-5 victory over St. Louis. Minnesota scored 21 goals during a 3-0-1 road trip and now returns home to Xcel Energy Center, where the team has held 12 of its last 15 opponents to two regulation time goals or less. As crazy as it sounds, the Wild are the far hotter team than the league-leading Bruins, and I’ll take a shot with the hosts at +130 or better.

Team Total: Predators Under 2.5 goals vs. Jets (-103 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a huge game in the Western Conference playoff race as the Predators can move within two points of Winnipeg for the final wild-card spot if they can beat the Jets in regulation. With the stakes so high, we should expect a defensive battle - not that these teams have been playing many high-scoring affairs lately anyway.

The Jets’ offense has gone into the tank during the team’s 4-10-1 skid over its last 15 games, failing to score more than three goals in all but four of those contests. Meanwhile, Nashville has rode the goaltending of Juuse Saros and a conservative game plan to post a 5-2-1 mark in its last eight games despite managing just 19 regulation time goals during that span.

Winnipeg is the more talented team in this matchup, especially with the Predators playing without injured snipers Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg, and I like the Jets to get the job done in this one. Rather than lay -130 with the struggling road favorite, I’ll take nearly even money on the Predators team total Under 2.5 in a game where both teams might fail to score three.

Puck Line: Oilers -1.5 vs. Kraken (+180 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

To say the Edmonton Oilers offense is hot would be an understatement. Just one team - the stingy Bruins - has held the Oilers to less than three goals over the past month, and Edmonton has tallied at least four goals in 11 of its last 13 games. A lot of that damage has been done on the road, where the Oilers are an impressive 20-11-3 on the season, averaging 3.94 goals per contest.

Edmonton should have no problem finding the net once again against a Seattle Kraken team that has been struggling defensively at home, allowing four or more in five of its last six at Climate Pledge Arena, where the Kraken are just 16-14-4 on the year, a significant drop off from their 22-9-3 mark on the road.

Edmonton’s ability to hang a big number and Seattle’s recent home struggles mean that the blowout potential is higher than these odds suggest. With 12 of the Oilers’ last 14 victories coming by two goals or more, I see value on Edmonton -1.5 at +160 or better.

1st-Period Moneyline: Canucks ML vs. Kings (+130 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐

Don’t look now but the Canucks are playing much better defensive hockey under Rick Tocchet, who replaced Bruce Boudreau behind the Vancouver bench at the end of January. Although the Canucks fell 3-2 in Arizona on Thursday, it marked the seventh straight game and ninth in 10 in which Vancouver held an opponent to three goals or less. Goaltender Thatcher Demko deserves a lot of that credit, giving up just 12 goals in his last six starts.

The Los Angeles Kings aren’t an easy team to bet against right now, having won seven of eight overall and eight of their last nine at home. However, they’ve had a lot of trouble recently against the division rival Canucks, dropping the only meeting so far this season and failing to beat Vancouver in 11 straight matchups. L.A. has also gotten off to slow starts lately, getting outscored 7-4 in the first period over its last 10 games.

Money has already come in on Vancouver, dropping the Canucks to as low as +155 on the full game moneyline after opening north of +170. I won’t be surprised if Vancouver pulls off the outright upset, but I’d rather back the Canucks to hang tough early against an opponent they should have plenty of confidence facing.

NHL Best Bets made 3/18/2023 at 8:44 a.m. ET.

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