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NHL Thursday best bets: Red Wings to best Blues

John McCreary / National Hockey League / Getty

We have a fun 12-game slate ahead of us on Thursday night. Naturally, I see the most value in two of the least enticing matchups. Let's dig in.

Blues (+110) @ Red Wings (-130)

Although their recent record (5-4-1) might not suggest as much, the Blues are playing some truly terrible hockey right now.

They've lost the expected goal - aka weighted shots - battle in eight of the last 10 games and seven in a row. That would perhaps be justifiable if their schedule was difficult, but it hasn't been.

During this stretch, the Blues have faced off against the Red Wings, Sharks (twice), Coyotes, Blue Jackets, and a Capitals team that saw their GM pull the plug on the season at the deadline. If the Blues can't hang at five-on-five with those teams, there's real cause for concern.

I don't have a long list of great things about the Red Wings, but there are a couple. For all their faults, they've defended very well of late. Only five teams have done a better job at suppressing expected goals since the deadline.

They've fared especially well against bad teams, allowing next to nothing at five-on-five to the Blues (1.52 xG), Predators (0.79 xG), and Blackhawks (0.73 xG).

Beyond three or four forwards at the top of the roster, the Blues are paper-thin up front. If they couldn't muster up much against Detroit while controlling matchups at home, I don't see a reason to expect any different on the road.

The Red Wings have played decent hockey in Detroit this calendar year, owning a .500 record at home.

Look for them to take care of business against a Blues side that has won just six times and posted a 41 xGF% away from home in 2023.

Bet: Red Wings (-130)

Kraken (-125) @ Predators (+105)

Death, taxes, and targeting the Predators. I've gone at them a handful of times since the trade deadline, and I'm going back to the well tonight with the Kraken.

Yes, the Predators have done a good job of staying afloat after depleting their roster at the beginning of the month. That being said, their recent wins have come against the Blackhawks, Kings (in a shootout), Ducks, Red Wings, and a Sabres team that's conceded what feels like 500 goals this month.

The Preds scored one goal at home to Chicago. They generated 20 shots at home to the Jets. They generated 22 shots and lost by seven to the Rangers. There isn't a whole lot to be impressed with.

If they're struggling to create against the Blackhawks and Jets (in their current form), I certainly don't have faith in their ability to facilitate offense against the Kraken.

Although there's always the possibility an egg is laid in goal for Seattle, that's about the only way the Preds are going to score against them. The Kraken are very stout defensively and give opponents next to no room to breathe.

They've conceded just 26 shots on goal per game over the last 10, ranking third in the league. The Kraken also sit near the top in terms of suppressing expected goals and chances.

It'll be very difficult for this watered-down Predators lineup to create opportunities with any sort of regularity. If Seattle's goaltending is remotely decent, it should be able to pick up two big points.

Bet: Kraken (-125)

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

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