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Evan Rodrigues #17 of the Florida Panthers celebrates his first period goal against the Boston Bruins as we make our best NHL prop bets for Thursday's action.
Evan Rodrigues #17 of the Florida Panthers celebrates his first period goal against the Boston Bruins at Amerant Bank Arena on March 26, 2024 in Sunrise, Florida. Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/AFP

Thursday's NHL schedule features 14 games as we dive into our best props and picks, including Alexander Ovechkin and Connor McDavid, via our top NHL odds from our best sports betting apps.

Alexander Ovechkin is leading an impressive Washington Capitals' resurgence. The Great 8 looks to continue his hot streak against the Toronto Maple Leafs, with the puck dropping at 7 p.m. ET from Scotiabank Arena.

Meanwhile, the Florida Panthers will be highly motivated to end their slump as they welcome the New York Islanders to Amerant Bank Arena, with that game also starting at 7 p.m. ET.

We also like Connor McDavid's chances of notching a couple of points at home against the Los Angeles Kings. The puck drops in Edmonton at 9:00 p.m. ET. Finally, the Dallas Stars look to win their sixth straight on the road when they face the Vancouver Canucks at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Here are our top NHL prop picks and best bets for Thursday (NHL picks based on odds via our best NHL betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Thursday's NHL best bets

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Thursday's NHL schedule and odds

(Odds via DraftKings)

  • Washington Capitals vs. Toronto Maple Leafs | Spread: Maple Leafs -1.5 | Total: 6.5
  • New York Islanders vs. Florida Panthers | Spread: Panthers -1.5 | Total: 6
  • Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Penguins | Spread: Penguins -1.5 | Total: 6.5
  • Chicago Blackhawks vs. Ottawa Senators | Spread: Senators -1.5 | Total: 6.5
  • Philadelphia Flyers vs. Montreal Canadiens | Spread: Flyers -1.5 | Total: 6
  • Detroit Red Wings vs. Carolina Hurricanes | Spread: Hurricanes -1.5 | Total: 6
  • San Jose Sharks vs. Minnesota Wild | Spread: Wild -1.5 | Total: 6
  • Vegas Golden Knights vs. Winnipeg Jets | Spread: Jets -1.5 | Total: 5.5
  • Calgary Flames vs. St. Louis Blues | Spread: Blues -1.5 | Total: 6
  • LA Kings vs. Edmonton Oilers | Spread: Oilers -1.5 | Total: 6
  • New York Rangers vs. Colorado Avalanche | Spread: Avs -1.5 | Total: 6.5
  • Nashville Predators vs. Arizona Coyotes | Spread: Predators -1.5 | Total: 6
  • Anaheim Ducks vs. Seattle Kraken | Spread: Kraken -1.5 | Total: 5.5
  • Dallas Stars vs. Vancouver Canucks | Spread: Stars -1.5 | Total: 6

Thursday's NHL player props

Alexander Ovechkin anytime goal (+130 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Ovechkin endured the worst start to a season in his illustrious career while scoring just five goals over the first 29 games of 2023-24. He's since awoken from that early-season slumber and is on a tear, netting eight goals in his last six games, including a recent streak of five straight contests with at least one goal. 

He was kept off the scoresheet in Tuesday's 4-3 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings, but Ovechkin will be highly motivated to get back to his scoring ways in Toronto. Ovechkin has scored three goals over two contests against the Buds this season, including two on March 20. All three came against Joseph Woll, Thursday's expected starter for Toronto in goal. 

His two goals on March 20 came on two shots, a stark contrast compared to the one goal he scored against Woll on 14 shots during the Oct. 24 game. That equates to a shooting percentage of 19%, over eight better than his 10.8% season average.

The Great 8 has logged 44 goals over 58 career games against Toronto, and he'll be chomping at the bit given the Caps' recent surge, especially with another playoff berth within sight. With +130 odds, DraftKings and FanDuel offer the best value with +130 odds. bet365 is posting +125 odds, while Caesars sits at +113. 

A $10 winning bet at DraftKings or FanDuel would pay out $23, with the +130 odds accompanying a 43.48% probability. 

Connor McDavid Over 1.5 points (-125 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

McDavid racks up points faster than snow accumulates during an Edmonton blizzard. He's tallied two-plus points during nine of his last 12 contests, including in five straight. The third favorite in our Hart Trophy odds has registered at least two points in 15 of his last 19 games and 38 points overall during that stretch. 

If that's insufficient ammunition to back the prop, his performance at Rogers Place might convince you. McDavid has recorded 73 points across 33 home contests, a jaw-dropping 2.21 points per game. There's a slightly disturbing stat though, as McDavid has posted a comparatively low points-per-game return against the Los Angeles Kings, notching just 39 points in 31 games. 

However, McDavid desperately wants his team to gain some separation from the chasing Kings, who are just three points adrift in the Pacific Division. That alone will provide the Oilers' superstar with more than enough motivation to do what he does best.

Most of our best sports betting sites offer -125 odds, with an implied probability of 55.56%. A winning $10 wager would pay out $18 at those odds.

Thursday's NHL game picks

Panthers -1.5 vs. Islanders (+130 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐

As the weather warms, the Islanders have gone in the opposite direction, cooling as drastically as someone brave enough to do a polar dip. They've recorded only one victory in the last eight games since a six-contest winning streak between Feb. 26 and March 10. The Islanders are six points back of a playoff spot with 11 games to play and would need to leapfrog three teams to secure a wild-card berth, the chances of which decrease substantially with every poor performance.  

Patrick Roy's team has lost four straight road games and has posted the 24th-ranked road points percentage (.471). The club is tied for the ninth most while allowing 3.43 goals per game in enemy rinks, and the team was outscored 26-9 during its recent six-game losing slide. 

The Florida Panthers have also been struggling recently while enduring their worst skid of the season and losing five of six. They've dropped three straight at home and four of five, but the squad has won six straight previously at Amerant Bank Arena. 

Utterly devoid of confidence and momentum, the Islanders are the perfect opponent for the Panthers. Three of our best sportsbooks offer +130 odds for the Panthers to win by at least two goals. A winning $10 bet would pay out $23, and the odds come with an implied probability of 43.48%. 

Stars ML vs. Canucks (-113 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Stars are the NHL's second-best road team while taking 69% of available points. They've won five straight and five on the bounce in enemy environments, making this a particularly challenging encounter for the Canucks. Vancouver is forced to start backup netminder Casey DeSmith, as Thatcher Demko will be out for another week or two. DeSmith and the Canucks are 3-2-1 since Demko injured his knee against the Winnipeg Jets on March 9. 

Most of our best sports betting apps offer -115 odds for the Stars' moneyline. However, Fanduel is featuring marginally better value at -113, with an implied probability of 53.05%. A winning $10 bet would pay out $18.85. 

NHL best bets made Thursday at 11:45 a.m. ET.

Here are our best NHL betting sites:

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* Bonuses not applicable in Ontario.

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