The Winnipeg Jets have won eight of ten and now lead the Western Conference standings in the NHL with 50 points, three points clear of Calgary and with a game in hand. The Pacific Division is in disarray, with no team in the top six currently on a winning streak, and with leaders Calgary and San Jose each on a three-game skid. In the Eastern Conference, Toronto has won four games in a row and six of ten but still has lost ground to Tampa Bay, who leads the conference with 58 points, winners of nine of ten. As you start to take down Christmas trees and think about those post-holiday sales, take a look at these three NHL betting picks from the world of hockey to spruce up your amount of money to spend.
Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – December 26th Edition
Mike Harrington’s NHL Power Rankings https://t.co/7BUXUG3LYS
— Buffalo News Sports (@TBNSports) December 22, 2018
Thursday, December 27
Dallas at Nashville (8:00pm ET)
A new head coach has not been able to solve the inconsistencies that have plagued the Dallas Stars over the past few seasons. They have terrific talent up front, and their scoring is usually reliable, but their defense cannot string together more than a game or two of consistent effort — and matters are made worse with the loss of goalie Ben Bishop to a lower-body injury. In their last four games, they have dominated Pacific leaders Calgary, 2-0 and then turned around to lose to Central Division basement dwelling Chicago, 5-2, two nights later. They went up to Minnesota and beat a young and hungry Wild team, 2-0, and then came back home to lose to the New York Islanders, 3-1, on their home ice.
They head to Nashville to face a team that is in some uncharacteristic angst of its own, losers of four in a row, as their East Coast trip turned into a house of horrors as they fell to Ottawa, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston, losing to the Bruins 5-2 on Saturday. They’ve had four days of rest since then to gear up for the Stars. The Predators have lost P.K. Subban to injured reserve, but they should be able to use the rest to gear up for the inconsistent Stars.
NHL Betting Prediction: Nashville 4, Dallas 2
Friday, December 28
Toronto at Columbus (7:00pm, ESPN+)
The Maple Leafs won four in a row to go into Christmas, scoring 23 goals over those four games while allowing just 10. They mowed down New Jersey, 7-2, and polished off Florida, 6-1, before beating the New York Rangers and Detroit by a combined score of 10-6. The win over the Red Wings came on the back end of a back-to-back and featured two goals from Kasperi Kapanen, including the game-winner in overtime. The Red Wings had a 4-3 lead until there were just 7.6 seconds left in the third period, when John Tavares deflected in a shot to score his 24th tally of the season.
The Leafs take their red-hot offense to Columbus, who has a four-game winning streak of their own cooking, with wins over Vegas, Philadelphia and New Jersey (including two wins over the Devils sandwiched around a win in Philadelphia). They play the Rangers in New York before returning home to face Columbus the next night. In that last win over New Jersey, Columbus dealt a 3-0 shutout behind 39 saves from Sergei Bobrovsky. Can Columbus mount that sort of effort on the second night of a back-to-back against Toronto? I’m not sure they can outskate a rested Maple Leafs squad.
NHL Betting Prediction: Toronto 3, Columbus 2
Saturday, December 29
Minnesota at Winnipeg (3:00pm ET)
The Wild stumbled into Christmas on a four-game skid, losing to Calgary and San Jose at home, falling in Pittsburgh and then returning at home to lose to Dallas on Saturday. They head to Chicago on Thursday before heading to Winnipeg for a Saturday matinee. Their losses to Pittsburgh and Dallas came by identical 2-1 scores, and the loss to Dallas came in overtime, as the Wild surrendered the game-winner with just 10 seconds left in the extra frame.
Winnipeg has won seven of eight, including a 1-0 shutout of Vancouver on Saturday. They host Calgary on Thursday before welcoming the Wild on Saturday. In that win over Vancouver, the Jets got 40 saves out of Laurent Brossoit, who posted his first career shutout, and Mark Scheifele scored the game’s only goal with 1:32 remaining in the third period. The Jets have things cooking right now and have the offense to outscore a young Wild team.
NHL Betting Prediction: Winnipeg 4, Minnesota 1