The opener is upon us for the 2021-22 season, and the NHL has (surprisingly) done a great job starting it off with two games on opening night, with the league’s newest team, the Seattle Kraken, in the fold. Last year was obviously the strangest in years, with Canadian and American teams not facing one another until the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With the expansion franchise in Seattle, there is a new buzz around the NHL, which should ramp up the NHL betting picks market as well. Let’s get the NHL season started off right going over the NHL betting lines tonight and finding some of the best NHL bets today, with a player prop at nice plus-money odds.
Best NHL Bets Today: Player Prop Odds & Betting Picks
Vegas Golden Knights to Cover (-1.5) vs. Seattle Kraken (SugarHouse)
In a matchup of the league’s two newest additions, this one really is not that close in terms of quality. The only reason the NHL betting market may believe it is close is the hype train for the expansion Kraken. Since their inception the Golden Knights have been a perennial power, with playoff appearances in each of their four seasons. Management for this very recent franchise may be stronger than any team in sports, with their ability to make necessary moves and hold onto core players. All of last year’s top six forwards and top four defenseman are still there, which immediately thrusts them into the Stanley Cup conversation. Alex Tuch is the only consistent contributor missing for the team, but as all good franchises do, they brought in the skillful Evgenii Dadonov to bolster their depth scoring.
In terms of the matchups at even strength and down a man, it is hard to say how Seattle will fare with a team of all new components and only a few players who have shared the same ice. This should also work to Vegas’ favor, with the league’s best penalty kill last year at 86% and a power play that could use a boost from just 17% success rate. As a whole Vegas dominated the North American circuit last year, pacing the NHL with a 71.4% win percentage and nearly the same exact roster. Seattle’s team looks nothing like what the Knights built in 2017, so this should be all Vegas.
News to watch for: Shea Theodore is day to day but expected to play, and Jared McCann and a litany of Kraken players are on the COVID protocol list, which could severely deplete their roster and already shoddy depth.
Reilly Smith to Score a Goal +1400 (SugarHouse)
There is no sport where being at home can be more advantageous from a tactical standpoint than hockey. Getting the last change on any iced/frozen puck will create opportunities for Vegas and coach Pete DeBoer to exploit the weak depth of the Kraken. Couple that with the fact that Reilly Smith is listed on the top power play and fired well over two shots in under 18 mins per game last year, and the chances will be there. If just comparing him to those around him, such as teammate Evgenii Dadonov (+1600), he grades far better for NHL betting, with years of playing with his linemates, more goals and shots over any span of time measured.
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