NHL predictions for Tuesday’s games: Golden Knights and more hockey picks
Heading into Monday night, NHL favorites that closed at -200 or higher were 12-1 to start the 2022-23 season. After Monday night, that record stands at 13-3. The New York Rangers took care of the Anaheim Ducks as -270 favorites, but the Penguins lost to the Canadiens after closing at -250, and the Leafs lost to the Coyotes, 4-2, despite going off at a ridiculous price of -550. Arizona’s win was the third-biggest moneyline upset in the NHL since 2005-06.
Will we see more craziness on Tuesday night?
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NHL picks and predictions today
Buffalo Sabres (+225) vs. Edmonton Oilers (-265), O/U: 6.5
The Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres are expected to have very different seasons. While the Oilers are a Stanley Cup contender and a trendy pick to come out of the Western Conference, the Sabres are a longshot to just make the postseason.
While the odds suggest that there’s a decent chance that Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl play the Sabres off the rink on Tuesday, there’s also reason to believe that Buffalo is a live underdog at this price.
For one thing, the Sabres are showing some promise offensively through their first two games. After defeating Ottawa, 4-1, in their season opener, the Sabres fell to the Panthers, 4-3. That’s seven goals for the Sabres through the first two contests and all seven came at 5-on-5.
Buffalo’s forward group may not have the game-breaking star that you need to be a true contender in the NHL, but the Sabres are pretty deep up front and if youngsters like JJ Peterka, Jack Quinn, Dylan Cozens and Peyton Krebs trend in the right direction, the Sabres could be quite the pesky underdog.
That attack should have plenty of chances against the Oilers, who have conceded 3.4 expected goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 this season, which is the third-worst mark in the NHL through the first week of the new campaign.
Edmonton is 1-1 on the season but fell behind by three goals in both contests and then relied on its all-world power play to get it back into the contest. The Oilers are 4-for-8 on the man advantage to start the season, so it’ll be imperative for Buffalo to play a clean game to give itself a chance.
With Jack Campbell struggling out of the gates, Stuart Skinner is slated to start in goal for the Oilers. The 23-year-old netminder stopped 31 of 31 shots in relief of Campbell on Saturday and was strong (.913 save percentage, +1.01 Goals Saved Above Expected) in 13 games last season, but it’s impossible to project how a rookie netminder will perform in his first game of the season.
With the goaltending battle a wash and the Oilers defense looking vulnerable to start the season, there are some legitimate reasons to put Edmonton on upset watch on Tuesday night.
Sabres vs. Oilers pick
Sabres +225 (BetMGM)
Betting on the NHL?
Vegas Golden Knights (+135) vs. Calgary Flames (-155), O/U: 6.5
Through two games, the Calgary Flames look every bit a Stanley Cup contender. Not only are the Flames off to a 2-0-0 start with a +3 goal differential, but Calgary earned those wins against the Colorado Avalanche and the Edmonton Oilers.
As impressive as those wins were — and they were quite strong showings, with Calgary posting a 61.3% expected goals rate and 55.9% high-danger chance rate at even strength — they do need some context. The win over the Oilers was full value, but Edmonton has looked iffy to start the season. Still, the victory over Colorado was a terrific spot for the Flames, as the Avalanche were traveling from Denver to Calgary on a back-to-back after raising their Stanley Cup banner.
That isn’t to say Calgary doesn’t deserve a lot of credit for beating two Stanley Cup contenders — they do — it’s just that starting a season those kinds of results can inflate the price on a team quickly.
It does look like that is what’s happening on Tuesday night, with the Flames sitting at -155 against the Vegas Golden Knights, who are also off to a flawless start this season.
The quality of competition for Vegas was much softer, but the Knights have looked really strong at 5-on-5 under new head coach Bruce Cassidy. During his tenure in Boston, Cassidy had the Bruins at, or near, the top of the NHL in expected goals rate every season, and (small sample, I know) right now, the Knights are heading in that direction with a 61% xG rate. Sure, you can add in the caveat that these numbers came against Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle, but the numbers suggest that things seem to be clicking in Sin City.
At the end of the day, this seems like a classic sell-high spot on the Flames against another contender in the Western Conference.
Golden Knights vs. Flames pick
Vegas Golden Knights +135 (Caesars)