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NHL best bets
NHL best bets

Thursday offers a busy night on the ice in the National Hockey League, with several Eastern Conference bubble teams in the hunt for a playoff spot. Read on for our NHL best bets for Thursday based on the best NHL odds.

Thursday's docket features a handful of premium matchups, including the Edmonton Oilers at the Boston Bruins and the Vegas Golden Knights visiting the Tampa Bay Lightning. But there are also quite a few games involving teams in the hunt for wild card playoff spots.

The positional jockeying begins in Pittsburgh, where the Penguins host the New York Islanders in a battle between the two current East wild card teams.

Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, and Washington Capitals are all five points behind the Penguins – and all three are in action against quality opponents. A win by any of these teams would provide a major boost to their playoff hopes.

Here are our best NHL picks for Thursday (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, Caesars SportsbookBetMGM, and PointsBet; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Check out our NHL picks.  

Thursday’s NHL schedule and odds

(odds via Caesars)

  • New Jersey Devils (-135) vs. Washington Capitals (+115)
  • Dallas Stars (-170) vs. Buffalo Sabres (+143)
  • Philadelphia Flyers (+328) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (-430)
  • New York Islanders (+122) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (-145)
  • Vegas Golden Knights (+143) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (-170)
  • New York Rangers (-292) vs. Montreal Canadiens (+235)
  • Edmonton Oilers (+140) vs. Boston Bruins (-165)
  • San Jose Sharks (+122) vs. St. Louis Blues (-145)
  • Los Angeles Kings (+135) vs. Colorado Avalanche (-160)
  • Nashville Predators (-170) vs. Arizona Coyotes (+143)
  • Ottawa Senators (+110) vs. Seattle Kraken (-130)

Thursday’s NHL best bets

  • Moneyline: Kraken (-130 via Caesars) vs. Senators ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Spread: Hurricanes -1.5 (-155 via DraftKings) vs. Flyers  ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Total: Golden Knights-Lightning Over 6 (-115 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Prop: Jack Quinn anytime goal (+330 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thursday’s NHL top picks

Moneyline: Kraken (-130 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Senators might be a desperate team pushing for a playoff spot, but desperation alone isn't going to help them against a stout Seattle offense.

The Kraken are riding a five-game winning streak and rank fifth in the NHL with 3.49 goals per 60 minutes. They don't have a lot of star power, but the balance is impressive: Led by Jared McCann and his 31 goals, Seattle has 13 players with double-digit tallies. Ottawa has just seven.

The Senators looked formidable in putting together a five-game winning streak during which they outscored the opposition, 27-10, but came crashing back to earth in a 5-0 loss to Chicago on Monday to kick off a five-game road swing. Rookie goaltender Mads Sogaard surrendered five goals on just 21 shots in the loss.

With Cam Talbot and Anton Forsberg injured, the Sens will need Sogaard to bounce back, but this is not a favorable matchup at all.

Caesars has the best price for the Kraken on the moneyline at -130, just ahead of PointsBet (-131), FanDuel (-134) and BetMGM (-135). DraftKings is the priciest option at -140.

Check out our latest Stanley Cup odds!

Spread: Hurricanes -1.5 (-155 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

When the Hurricanes win, they win big.

The Hurricanes are 17-3-1 in their past 21 games, controlling a league-best 63% of five-on-five score-and-venue-adjusted expected goals in that span. And while we only need a two-goal win to cash this, it's notable that 11 of the Hurricanes' last 17 wins have actually come by 3+ goals.

By comparison, the Philadelphia Flyers rank 25th with 48.0% of expected goals over that same stretch. After a brief surge of competitive play, the Flyers have two wins in their past 11 contests, with six multi-goal defeats.

The best odds for a Carolina PL win range from -155 at DraftKings to -176 at PointsBet.

BetMGM has moved its puck line to -2.5 (+120), but as much as this game looks like a clear mismatch, a three-goal margin is a big ask. Even though the Hurricanes rank fifth in the NHL in wins by 3+ goals, they've covered a 2.5-goal spread in just 12 of 31 home games.

Total: Golden Knights-Lightning Over 6 (-115 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐

Two of the most talented teams in the league meet in Tampa Bay.

While the Lightning have elite offensive players like Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Brayden Point, that is only part of the reason to like this total to go Over. The other is that Tampa Bay has been suspect defensively.

Since the All-Star break, the Lightning are 6-6-4, ranking 21st in goals against average (3.44) and 20th in expected goals against per 60 minutes (3.20).

The Golden Knights have the versatility to play a tight-checking or high-scoring game, which is why I make this a three-star selection. However, they rank third in the NHL with a .929 save percentage since the All-Star break and that is due for regression.

Most of the best sportsbooks are in sync here, with Caesars, BetMGM, and PointsBet all at -115 on the O6. DraftKings is at -120, while FanDuel has the total at 6.5, priced at +104 for the Over. The best value, however, is on the O6.

Check out our latest Norris Trophy odds!

Prop: Jack Quinn anytime goal (+330 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sometimes, all it takes is an opportunity. And that has been especially true for players in Buffalo.

Forward Tage Thompson had toiled in mediocrity prior to the 2021-22 season, when the Sabres converted him to center, gave him skilled wingers and watched him score 38 goals in a breakout season that he has already improved upon in 2022-23.

Rookie right winger Jack Quinn is getting his opportunity to play a bigger offensive role, and is similarly taking advantage. He has four goals in his past nine games and has spent time on Buffalo's top line alongside Thompson and Jeff Skinner in place of the injured Alex Tuch (though Quinn is expected to be back on the second line Thursday).

Thursday brings a tough matchup against the Dallas Stars, but FanDuel's offering of +330 is good value for an anytime goal. I have a Quinn goal priced at +280.

Caesars is a decent secondary option here at +305, while most of the other marquee sports betting sites have a Quinn anytime goal at +290.

NHL best bets made 3/9/2023 at 12 p.m. ET.

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