NHL betting preview: Best bets for Wednesday and Thursday night
Chase Agnello-Dean / National Hockey League / Getty

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We started the week hot and would like to keep that momentum rolling into the weekend.

The next two days are relatively quiet for the NHL with just 11 games scheduled, but there are still a couple of spots that offer us good value.

Here's what we'll be betting:

Oilers (+135) @ Maple Leafs (-155); Jan. 20, 7 p.m. ET

The Oilers have had a miserable start to the season, and that's opened up a rare value opportunity to back a team that's typically overpriced in the market. I'm not particularly high on Edmonton this season, but this matchup features two similar squads that are being priced very differently based on small sample sizes.

The Oilers never could get things going in a two-game set against a very sound Canadiens team; we saw that coming from a mile away, backing the Habs in both games. Montreal matches up well with Edmonton, consistently ranking among the league's best teams at five-on-five under head coach Claude Julien. The Canadiens have especially excelled at suppressing offense, ranking top 10 in expected goals against in three seasons under Julien. The Maple Leafs have ranked 21st, 27th, and 28th in that category in those three years.

Edmonton also struggled mightily on the power play in two games against Montreal, going a combined 0-for-10. This was the league's best unit a year ago, so we have to give it the benefit of the doubt with a sample size too small to make any definitive judgements. The Maple Leafs play a style far more conducive to success for the Oilers, giving up numerous high-danger chances while getting below-average goaltending.

This line is a bit too high for my liking, and I don't love the idea of backing a struggling Oilers team I've been down on since before the season started. But at this price, I'll place the bet, close my eyes, and hope for the best.

Pick: Oilers (+135)

Wild (-130) @ Ducks (+110); Jan. 20, 9:30 p.m.

John Gibson stole a 1-0 win on Monday when these teams met for the first time this season, giving the Ducks their first victory of the campaign. The Wild owned 67.56% of the expected goal share in that game, posting a 3.69 xGF to Anaheim's 1.77. Gibson pitched a shutout despite that disparity, saving all 11 high-danger shots he faced.

Being thoroughly outplayed has been a common theme for the Ducks early in the season. They've owned just 34.78% of the expected goals share through three games, by far the worst mark in the league; the Jets are second-worst with 40.16%. The Wild, meanwhile, are second-best in that regard with a 58.69% mark, and they top the NHL with a 61.36% rate at five-on-five.

This will be another lopsided game. With the balance of play so distorted, I'd make this bet 10 times out of 10 at this price and hope Gibson doesn't steal the show once again. While that's always a possibility, no bet is without risk,

Pick: Wild (-130)

Flyers (+105) @ Bruins (-125), Jan. 21, 7 p.m.

By now, you've heard all about how the Bruins have yet to score a goal at five-on-five this season. You've probably heard people question whether this team has fallen off a cliff or if it can get back on track without David Pastrnak. All of it works in our favor here, as we get Boston at a small discount - smaller than I would have liked, but still sufficient to lock the Bruins in as a bet.

You can be certain that positive regression is coming for Boston. The Bruins have run into some excellent goaltending early in the campaign, facing MacKenzie Blackwood twice and Semyon Varlamov once. Those two lead the NHL in goals saved above average through the first week of the season, and it isn't particularly close.

Rank Goalie GSAA
1 MacKenzie Blackwood 4.80
2 Semyon Varlamov 4.79
3 Juuse Saros 3.95
4 Brian Elliott 3.16
5 John Gibson 2.92

Simply put, the Bruins have been stonewalled by a pair of hot goalies. They owned 57.71% of the expected goal share at five-on-five in their season opener against the Devils and a 60.61% mark in Monday's 1-0 loss to the Islanders. Boston's fortunes are going to level out real soon.

For the Flyers, however, regression looms large. Philadelphia has enjoyed a 3-1-0 start to the season despite being one of the league's worst teams at five-on-five thus far. The team has been considerably outplayed, owning just 44.42% of the expected goals share. This is a great sell-high moment for Philadelphia and an equally good time to buy low on the Bruins.

Pick: Bruins (-125)

(Odds source: theScore Bet)

Alex Moretto is theScore's supervising editor of sports betting. 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, loves a juicy puck line, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.

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NHL betting preview: Best bets for Wednesday and Thursday night
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