NHL weekly betting preview: Reeling Leafs head west
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It's around the point in the NHL season when value really starts to show up on a nightly basis.

"It's still early" is a common saying this time of year, with many people dismissing early-season results in favor of public perception. For example, the Tampa Bay Lighting are 9-6-2 but have been favored in 16 of 17 games, while the 11-5-4 Montreal Canadiens have been favored in less than half of their matchups.

Being able to identify which teams continue to be overvalued and undervalued can be the difference between losing your shirt and turning a profit. With that being said, here's your betting guide to the week ahead.

Game betting

Tampa Bay Lightning at St. Louis Blues (Tuesday)

The Lightning came into this season hoping to supplant the Blues as Stanley Cup champions, but they've disappointed thus far. Sure, they've won four of their last six games, but losses to the Islanders and Jets are more telling than wins over weak opponents like the Sabres, Rangers, and Devils.

The Blues are too well-coached and disciplined to cater to the Lightning's style of play, so you should back them to beat the Bolts and end a three-game skid. The Lightning have a lot to prove before we can justify taking them at their lofty prices.

Vancouver Canucks at Dallas Stars (Tuesday)

There hasn't been a better or more consistent team in November than the Stars, who've posted a 6-0-1 record since the start of the month. They've done it with stellar defensive hockey, allowing one goal or fewer in four of those games.

The Canucks are capable of scoring goals in bunches, but they've been much less prolific on the road. Play the Stars in this spot or bet the under if you're not comfortable with the chalk.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Vegas Golden Knights (Tuesday)

Five successive losses have Leafs fans waiting for Mike Babcock to get the ax, but a coaching change won't solve Toronto's issues. Despite featuring plenty of talent, the Leafs currently lack the character to play themselves out of this slump.

This team has lost six of its last seven on the road and will hope to repair its fractured ego on the West Coast. However, there's little evidence to suggest the Leafs can go into the toughest building in hockey on Tuesday night and snap their skid. Take the Golden Knights and don't think twice.

Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens (Wednesday)

You have to go back to Nov. 2 to find the last time the Canadiens lost in regulation. Before that loss, it was Oct. 24. These Habs are a chameleon; they're able to adapt and excel in any type of game, which makes them so tough to beat on any given night.

This matchup will be their second contest in as many days, but the same is true for the Senators, who will also be playing their fourth game in six nights and their 10th in 17. Ottawa has struggled in the second half of back-to-backs since the start of last season, losing 14 of 18 such games. The Sens have lost six in a row in Montreal - five of which came by two or more goals. Back the Habs on the puck line.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Arizona Coyotes (Thursday)

It doesn't get any easier for the Leafs here, as their sputtering offense will visit the league's stingiest defense. The Coyotes have allowed just 2.33 goals per game this season and that figure drops to 1.88 on home ice. With Mitch Marner out and Toronto lacking scoring depth, the Leafs will need to play a similarly stingy game to win this battle. All signs point to the under as a result.

San Jose Sharks at Vegas Golden Knights (Thursday)

This might be the most entertaining game of the week if you enjoy post-whistle shenanigan, as there may not be two teams in hockey that dislike each other more right now. Evander Kane was suspended for the first two meetings this season, but he'll be in the lineup on Thursday to renew his rivalry with Ryan Reaves. Everything about this game shouts excitement.

The Sharks, winners of six in a row as of Monday, are starting to rediscover their game and their scoring touch. However, they still can't stop other teams from scoring. Expect the refs to call this game tight, which should lead to plenty of power plays for two of the league's better units, and a number of goals as a result. The over looks like a strong play here.

Game props

Edmonton Oilers at San Jose Sharks (Tuesday)

Both of these teams are scoring at will lately while struggling to keep pucks out of their own net. The Oilers' last three trips to San Jose produced 10 first-period goals, including three in their matchup last week. The last seven meetings between these teams have gone over 1.5 goals in the first period, and there's no evidence to suggest that will change on Tuesday.

Washington Capitals at New York Rangers (Wednesday)

Let's stick with these first-period overs that have been hitting at a very high clip for certain teams. The Capitals and Rangers have nailed the over in the opening 20 minutes in their last three meetings, and in six of their last seven. Back it again here.

Player props

Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens (Wednesday)

Nick Suzuki is getting more impressive by the game. The youngster, acquired by Montreal in the Max Pacioretty trade, is playing some really strong hockey at both ends of the ice and he's been rewarded with a three-game point streak. He's also getting power-play time and a bump up the depth chart with Jonathan Drouin sidelined. Suzuki should have ample opportunities to get on the scoresheet in this game, and the over 0.5 assists is enticing at more than 2-1 odds.

Boston Bruins at Buffalo Sabres (Thursday)

It's hardly going out on a limb to back Brad Marchand - who's posted 19 assists in 20 games - but he's an especially good bet to get on the scoresheet when his Bruins face one of the league's worst penalty-killing units.

Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.

NHL weekly betting preview: Reeling Leafs head west
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