NHL Thursday best bets: Stars to stomp Sabres

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We have a full slate of games to work through tonight, with nine games scheduled to go.

That leaves us plenty of meat on the bone when looking for best bets. Let's get into a couple of my favorites.

Capitals (+155) @ Bruins (-175)

The Bruins and Capitals are both strong defensive teams - elite, even. Boston concedes only 2.0 expected goals per 60 minutes of five-on-five play, which is the lowest rate in the NHL. Washington allows 2.26 per 60, slotting it sixth. Both of these teams can defend with the best.

Yet, for whatever reason, they find themselves in track meet after track meet when squaring off against one another.

Bruins versus Capitals games have gone over the number in seven of their last 10 meetings, with an average of 7.1 goals scored on a per-game basis.

Scoring hasn't been nearly as big of a problem for Boston since it put David Pastrnak on the second line, giving the lineup much more balance.

Meanwhile, the Capitals are in the top 10 in goals per game despite dealing with an abundance of injuries to key players all season long. Nicklas Backstrom has missed 33 games, Anthony Mantha has missed 30, and T.J. Oshie has missed 22 - and it hasn't really mattered.

Don't be surprised if we see fireworks in this game; we usually do between these two teams.

Bet: Over 6 goals (+100)

Stars (-200) @ Sabres (+170)

We have frequently targeted the Sabres for months now, and it has led to plenty of success. While they hurt us last time out, that's not going to scare us away. This team is bad - very bad.

Buffalo has been out-chanced by 117 over the last 10 games. That's an average of 11.7 per game. Their share of the chances (39.27%) is tied for the lowest in the league in that span, putting them on the same level as the Canadiens.

On the flip side, the Stars have a +36 chance differential over the last 10 games. That's not an astronomical number, but their 53% share ranks them 11th over that span, slotting them just ahead of the Penguins and Golden Knights. That's pretty good.

It's almost a certainty the Stars will dominate the chance share in this game. They're the much better team, and they're coming off three straight losses, including one to Montreal. They're going to come out hungry, and I don't think the Sabres will be able to match them in skill or intensity.

That wouldn't be the end of the world if Buffalo had quality goaltending, but it doesn't. Its tandem currently consists of Aaron Dell (.892 save percentage) and Michael Houser - a journeyman that has played more ECHL games than NHL games this season.

I don't think either will be able to hold up against what will likely be 40+ shots from a good team. Back the Stars to take care of business in 60 minutes.

Bet: Stars inside regulation (-120)

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.

NHL Thursday best bets: Stars to stomp Sabres
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