NHL best bets: Will Caufield's shooting trend continue vs. Blue Jackets?
There are just three games on the NHL schedule Wednesday night. Although nothing stands out in terms of sides or totals, a few props caught my eye.
Let's take a closer look.
Cole Caufield over 3.5 shots
Caufield is a very matchup-dependent shooter. Take the past 10 games: Caufield faced seven teams currently holding playoff positions and three teams on the outside looking in.
He failed to register four shots in the seven games against playoff teams, falling well short on most nights. He only reached three shots twice.
Caufield teed off on the non-playoff teams, however, going over his total in all three games while generating 19 shots - better than six per night - in aggregate.
Caufield has a tantalizing matchup tonight against the Blue Jackets. They've struggled defensively all season long and recently lost one of their best blue-liners, Damon Severson, to injury. That bodes well for Caufield, who recorded eight shots on a whopping 15 attempts against the Blue Jackets earlier this season.
I'm not sure Caufield will match those outputs, but volume shouldn't be an issue against one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL.
Odds: -125 (playable to -145)
Kirill Marchenko over 2.5 shots
Marchenko - like many goal-scorers - has extreme home/road splits. He's feasted in Columbus this season, recording three shots or more eight times in 11 tries (73%) while averaging a healthy 3.6 shots on goal per game.
His numbers have fallen off a cliff away from home, however. Marchenko is averaging just 1.9 shots per game and has gone over his total in only three of 10 appearances on the road.
Marchenko finds himself in a very strong spot on Wednesday night. He'll have the luxury of playing on home ice - where he averages two more attempts per game - against a Canadiens team that allows more shots per night than anyone but the Sharks and Islanders.
Getting cushy usage against an exploitable opponent, Marchenko should have plenty of opportunities to fire in this one.
Odds: -140 (playable to -155)
Alex Ovechkin under 3.5 shots
Ovechkin isn't generating a ton of shot volume these days - at least, not compared to his usual standards.
He has gone under the number in 10 of 18 games this year and eight of the past 12 overall. Similarly to Caufield, he is mostly enjoying shooting success against weak opponents.
Ovechkin's only hits over the past 10 games came against the Sharks, Islanders, and Sabres. He failed to get the job done versus better shot-suppression teams like the Panthers, Devils, Golden Knights, and Oilers.
That likely spells trouble heading into a game against the Kings. They rank third in shots against this season and their numbers are better when playing at home.
The Kings are very structured and - led by Anze Kopitar and Phillip Danault - they have a fantastic combination of defensive centers they can throw at top players to defang them offensively.
It will likely be sweaty - sometimes it takes just one or two power plays for Ovechkin to get within striking distance - but I see value in targeting his under in Los Angeles.
Odds: -130 (playable to -150)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @ToddCordell.