NHL Monday best bets: Golden Knights to pounce on Blue Jackets
We have a very fun slate of games to look forward to Monday night.
Three of the league's top four seeds are in action, and only two of the 12 teams playing aren't among the top 19.
Let's take a look at the best way to attack the games.
Golden Knights (-270) @ Blue Jackets (+220)
The Vegas Golden Knights enter Monday on a mini two-game losing skid, during which they've been outscored by six goals.
They own a 16-6-1 record and have been consistent all season long. The Golden Knights have dropped back-to-back games just one other time, and they responded with a 4-1 victory. I expect a similar result this time around.
Although Vegas' five-on-five numbers have tailed off a bit of late, they are still solid. The Golden Knights sit 10th in high-danger chance share over the last eight games.
Comparatively, the Columbus Blue Jackets sit 28th in that category during the same stretch. They haven't conceded chances at as high of a clip as earlier in the year, but their offense is now lifeless. No team has generated five-on-five high-danger chances at a lesser clip over the last eight games.
Creating chances against this Bruce Cassidy-coached Golden Knights team is a difficult task at the best of times. With the Blue Jackets focusing more on the defensive side of the ice - and playing without key weapons like Patrik Laine and Zach Werenski - I just don't see them doing so Monday.
Whenever Columbus is able to break through, it'll have to deal with Logan Thompson. The 25-year-old owns a rock-solid .917 save percentage through 35 NHL games and sits 10th among 33 goaltenders (minimum 10 appearances this season) in Goals Saved Above Expected. He's capable of cleaning up any mess that comes his way.
I expect this veteran-heavy Golden Knights team to come out with purpose and take care of business against a bottom-feeding Blue Jackets side. Back Vegas in regulation to make the juice worth the squeeze.
Bet: Golden Knights in regulation (-155)
Stars (-115) @ Blues (-105)
The Dallas Stars have played in a lot of high-scoring affairs this season. I think this contest could be an exception to the rule.
Having dropped back-to-back games, and three of the last four, the Stars will no doubt be looking to tighten the screws and get back on track, especially given the opponent.
The St. Louis Blues started the season in miserable fashion, but they've worked their way out of a big hole. They're currently holding a playoff spot and sit just six points back of the Stars for the division lead. The Blues have a game in hand, too.
Although it's far too early to worry about playoff seeding, this is a divisional game between a pair of winning teams. It holds real meaning. I expect both sides to play accordingly and make the opposition work for everything offensively.
When the inevitable defensive breakdowns occur, the goaltending should be able to hold up. Jake Oettinger enters play with a .917 save percentage and is one of the league's leaders in GSAE. While Jordan Binnington lags well behind with a .901 save percentage, he's in good form right now. Binnington has posted a .915 SV% over St. Louis' last 10 games.
It's also worth noting these teams have played each other remarkably tough for years. They've met 15 times over the last few seasons, with 13 of those games going under the total in this contest (6.5).
I understand there's been some roster turnover, and that Dallas has a new character behind the bench. A lot of the core players remain the same, though, so I think there's something that can be taken away from those numbers.
Bet: Under 6.5 (-125)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.