NHL picks, best bets Thursday
We have a Habs vs. Bruins prediction as Atlantic’s best team hosts Atlantic’s worst team.
Boston still has a chance to beat Montreal’s season-high 137 points set in 1967-77, though it would take regulation wins in seven of the last 12 games.
So even though the Canadiens are outplayed in every way, perhaps some sense of pride will fuel the Canadiens in the NHL on Thursday night.
Either way, the Bruins are the home monster favorites at TD Garden. But can we find betting value when the betting line is so unbalanced?
Betting on the NHL?
Canadiens vs. Bruins Odds
Money line: Canadiens (+335) vs. Bruins (-440)
Broadcast: Canadiens +1.5 (+140) vs. Bruins -1.5 (-165)
Total: Over 6.5 (-110) | Less than 6.5 (-110)
Bruins vs Canadiens Prediction
Although the Bruins have already clinched a playoff berth, they haven’t slowed down.
The B’s are 7-3 in their last 10 games and are looking for a fifth straight win.
Boston outscored opponents 17-3 during the four-game winning streak, increasing the Bruins’ goal differential to a whopping +114 this season.
For context, the +114 goal differential is more than double any other NHL team this season.
Pure dominance. Meanwhile, the Canadians showed few signs of life.
The Habs have lost nine of their last 11 games and suffered numerous injuries during the streak (Josh Anderson, Kaiden Guhle, Christian Dvorak and Jordan Harris).
However, the Habs picked up a solid win over Tampa Bay last night, holding off the Lightning for a 3-2 home win.
Could the Canadians bring some momentum to this game?
I would say the opposite. Instead, Thursday is a prime disappointment for Montreal as they travel to Boston within two days of a huge victory.
First, the Canadians needed luck to beat Tampa Bay.
The Habs were beaten 33-20 and lost the head-to-head battle 27-20, and the post-game Money Puck expectation predicted that the Habs would only win this competition 41.1% of the time (out of 1000 simulations).
Therefore, we can target the Habs for negative game-to-game regression.
Second, the Canadiens picked starting goaltender Jake Allen over Sam Montembeault, according to Habs In High Heels on Twitter.
Per Money Puck, Montembeault has scored 13.4 goals above expectations compared to Allen’s 0.1 this year.
In other words, the backup goaltender leaves for Montreal today.
And while the Bruins are likely to start their backup goaltender, Jeremy Swayman, Swayman has posted 18.7 goals above expectations this season.
Swayman is no Linus Ullmark, but he has been more capable than most goaltenders this year.
Finally, the Bruins owned the Canadiens. The B’s are 8-1-1 in their last 10 meetings with the Canadiens, with an 8-2 record against the puck line, according to Bet Labs.
David Pastrnak is on a tear, recording 13 points in games on March 10.
Considering he had four points in 22 shifts last time out against Montreal, I’m willing to bet he’ll have a big night tonight as well.
Ultimately, I expect the Habs to regress after a lucky win in a bad game, and I’m looking for the Bruins to come out on top.
Therefore, I’ll bet on the Bruins to cover the puck line in a dominating home win.
And, given that The Action Network’s PRO model projects the puck line at Boston -2.15, I see some value in the spread count available at Caesars Sportsbook.
Canadiens pick vs. Bruins
Boston Bruins -1.5 (-165) at Caesars Sportsbook
New York Post