NHL Friday best bets: Let's get Wild
We bounced back in a big way on Thursday night with two relatively easy wins. The Blue Jackets pummelled the Coyotes, 8-2, while the Stars and Rangers combined for just four goals in regulation, ensuring a clean win on the under of six goals.
We'll look to keep the good times rolling as we head into a busy weekend of sports.
The Devils will be without starting goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood due to a heel issue. They're also missing their second pairing of Ty Smith and Damon Severson, as well as depth winger Miles Wood. They'd probably still be my preferred side in this game but it's a long season - we don't need to force plays when the value isn't there.
Instead, we're going to attack this contest with player props. I like backing Jack Hughes to record a point (-112) and/or an assist (+170) in what should be a high-scoring game.
Chicago is a bad defensive side and they will remain one even with Seth Jones. They were out-chanced by 21 against a Colorado team missing Nathan MacKinnon, and a lot of those chances came with Jones on the ice.
I think Jones' reputation far outweighs his value - especially defensively. Hughes is a great bet to take advantage of that.
While his counting totals didn't pop off the page last season, Hughes did create chances at a high clip. With another summer of development and an improved supporting cast, I think Hughes is poised for a breakout campaign.
It starts Friday against an overrated Chicago team expected to rest its starting goaltender.
I do think the Wild take a bit of a step back this year - part of last season's success can be attributed to unsustainably high PDO - but they still shouldn't have much trouble against the Ducks.
The Wild finished 14 spots ahead of the Ducks in expected goals for percentage at five-on-five, and both sides are returning similar rosters.
Anaheim will have a difficult time creating offense at five-on-five, as no team gave up fewer high-danger chances than Minnesota a year ago. Despite the loss of Ryan Suter, I expect the Wild to continue to suffocate their opponents on a nightly basis this year.
So long as Cam Talbot doesn't allow a softy, the Wild should take care of business.
Bonus round: I have my eye on the Vancouver Canucks (+130) against the Philadelphia Flyers (-150). I'd recommend pulling the trigger if and when news comes out that Brock Boeser will be available.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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