NHL Picks: Betting Advice and Analysis for Opening Night Games

NHL Picks: Betting Advice and Analysis for Opening Night Games
© USA Today

Hello everyone, and welcome to another NHL season. The summer was an actual summer this offseason, as there have been more than 3 ½ months since the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup. 

Let’s jump in as we look at four more teams who begin their season on Tuesday night. Two might wind up facing each other in the East again. The other two are Pacific Division rivals who could be battling for a playoff spot. 

 

Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Rangers

Ride The Lightning

The good news is both games are on ESPN on Tuesday night. The last time the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers played each other, Tampa won Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. These two teams do not like each other much and are, in some ways, mirror images of one another. 

Tampa Bay comes into 2022-23 with less pressure. The weight of defending the Stanley Cup is gone. The Lightning won 11 straight series before falling to the Colorado Avalanche. They are a team that won 51 games, amassed 110 points, and beat two of the best teams in the league.

The Lightning will not have Anthony Cirelli but figure to have a healthy Brayden Point to start the season. Tampa features one of the most dangerous power plays in the league, and Point was a big reason. Despite many injuries, Point had 28 goals and 58 points in 66 games last year. 

With the uncertainty in Florida and defense/goaltending concerns in Toronto, the Atlantic Division could be considered up for grabs. At +300, that is not a bad number to look at. Some other numbers to look at is the Over of 103.5 points at -115. 

Can The Rangers Do It Again? 

That is the big question. Chris Kreider topped the 50-goal mark, including a whopping 31 power-play goals. Can Kreider come close to that number? Igor Shesterkin produced league-leading numbers (2.07 goals-against average, .935 save percentage) on the way to being a Hart Trophy finalist and Vezina Trophy winner. Does Shesterkin stay on that upward trajectory like his counterpart, Andrei Vasilevskiy? 

The Metropolitan Division is not as challenging for the Rangers as in previous years. Pittsburgh is another year older and figures to take a step back. Washington expects to regress a bit, and who knows when Nicklas Backstrom will return from hip surgery.

New York brought in Vincent Trocheck, who should be able to stabilize the second line. If the younger players start to progress as expected, the Rangers will be pretty dangerous once again. 

Some of their numbers have shortened. The Over of 99.5 points is at -120 but still viable. They are third in the odds of winning the division at +350. 

Quick Thoughts on Tuesday Night’s Opener

The Rangers have been going through the motions in the preseason, while Tampa Bay seems to be a bit more together. The first games are tough. Add in the atmosphere and expectations the Rangers face, and it is no surprise why they are only a -115 favorite. The picks get more detailed as we progress into the season, with props included. 

For Tuesday night, taking the Tampa Bay Lightning in 60 minutes at +160 is a fun risk to take. Even the Over of 5.5 at -105 is worth a look. 

 

Vegas Golden Knights at Los Angeles Kings

Vegas Is A Mess

The Golden Knights missed the playoffs last year unexpectedly, which seemed to throw their offseason way off. Pete DeBoer was fired and replaced by Bruce Cassidy. Then, it was revealed that Robin Lehner would miss the entire season because of injury and surgery. With Laurent Brossoit out, Logan Thompson is expected to carry a massive load for this season. 

If things weren't bad, Vegas barely had the cap space to re-sign Nic Hague on Monday. Their salary cap is compliant on a day-to-day basis. That was even after trading Max Pacioretty to Carolina. Jack Eichel is thinking? He got out of Buffalo for this? 

Vegas to miss the playoffs at +180 is not all that much of a long shot. Injuries and inconsistent play are going to hurt this team. The Under is just 96.5 points, and one expects that to connect at -130. If one bumps that to 95.5 at -115, take it.

We Love LA?

The Los Angeles Kings are the trendy pick this season to go further in the playoffs. They acquired Kevin Fiala from the Minnesota Wild and gave him an extension for $7.9 million AAV. Can he get near that 85-point breakout campaign from last year? Los Angeles hopes so. The Kings are also optimistic that players like Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty can stay healthy. 

Younger players like Adrian Kempe keep taking strides forward, too. Even Arthur Kaliyev could easily break 20 goals this season. That is the kind of balance the Kings could very well possess. Los Angeles had nine players who scored double-digit goals last year (three with 20+). Those numbers could quickly go up in 2022-23. 

Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen will be the 1A and 1B in goal for the Kings. Expect Quick to get about the same workload, and the hope is that Petersen plays a little better than last season (.895 save percentage). He did show flashes of good form. Quick could easily win 25+ games and Petersen 20+.

The Over for the Kings set at 95.5 points is too low. Take that at -115 as an easy small unit wager. 

Our Pick For The Late Game

Keep this one simple. Take The Los Angeles Kings on the moneyline at -115. For a shot at the plus-money, make a smaller unit bet with the spread of -1.5 goals at +205. Good luck, and expect many more previews and picks this week. 

 

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