NHL Thursday best bets: Blues to get revenge vs. Flames

Scott Rovak / National Hockey League / Getty

We have a jam-packed schedule to work our way through today, as 20 of the league's 32 teams will be in action.

Let's dive into a couple of my favorite ways to attack this slate.

Rangers (-200) @ Blue Jackets (+165)

We have faded the Blue Jackets a lot in this space of late. For the most part, the rewards have been fruitful, so we're going right back to the well tonight with the Rangers.

Put simply, the Blue Jackets are a disaster defensively. Over the last 10 games, they rank 31st in high-danger chances allowed per 60, 31st in expected goals allowed per 60, and 30th in shots allowed per 60. They're giving up quality opportunities in bulk.

Winning when that's the case is difficult even with Elvis Merzlikins between the pipes, as we saw last night. He finished with a save percentage above .900 but still conceded six goals.

Winning while giving up that kind of quality and quantity with Joonas Korpisalo in net is an all but impossible task. He has played dreadful hockey all season, posting an .881 save percentage and conceding eight more goals than expected through 15 appearances.

The Rangers' offense is tied with the Avalanche for 10th in goals over the last 10 games, and I expect it to take advantage of Korpisalo's shortcomings.

Bet: Rangers in regulation (-135)

Flames (+115) @ Blues (-140)

The Blues are in the ultimate bounce-back spot tonight. They're coming off an embarrassing loss to these Flames, which they'll look to rectify.

Everything is lining up for that to happen. For starters, this game is in St. Louis - where the Blues are remarkably strong. They own a 16-4-2 record and +32 goal differential at home this season. They're not just squeezing out wins in their building; they're beating teams into the ground.

While the Flames seem to be on their way out of an ugly stretch of hockey, I don't see them staying hot in this one. They're playing their third game in four nights against a rested team with extra motivation to put their best foot forward in this game.

Dan Vladar is expected to get the nod in goal for Calgary. While his counting stats (.910 save percentage) are OK, he has performed below expectation this season. The difference between Vladar (-0.11) and Jacob Markstrom (+0.37) is nearly half a goal per game.

That's something, especially in a tough spot in the schedule where your goaltender is likely to see plenty of rubber.

Bet: Blues (-140)

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

NHL Thursday best bets: Blues to get revenge vs. Flames
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