It’s opening night of the shortened 48-game season and there is a full slate of hockey betting matchups to choose from. With no exhibition games, teams that have little change over from last season could get off to quicker starts, as opposed to teams learning to deal with new systems, coaches and players.
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Montreal Canadiens
Odds: Canadiens -140
Two Original Six storied franchises open the season at the Bell Centre as both teams have been dealing with adversity since the lockout ended.
The Maple Leafs fired General Manager Brian Burke less than two weeks before the season started. The team failed in its pursuit of trading for Roberto Luongo and will open up the season with two young unproven goaltenders. With Matthew Lombardi traded and Tim Connolly placed on waivers, the youth movement in Toronto is on.
Fans of the Montreal Canadiens are not happy the club has been unable to sign restricted free agent P.K. Subban. The team also got a scare when stud goaltender Carey Price hurt his groin during a scrimmage on Thursday. While he expects to play, he will not be 100 percent.
Take the Maple Leafs in this one as there is too much value with the visitors in a game that could go either way.
Pick: Maple Leafs +120
Detroit Red Wings @ St. Louis Blues
Odds: Blues -140
The Detroit Red Wings looked like they took a step back last season losing to the Nashville Predators in the first round of the playoffs. With Nik Lidstrom retiring, the Red Wings have even a few more glaring holes entering this season.
The St. Louis Blues are coming off a magical season and dominated the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the playoffs. Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott are an outstanding tandem but when Halak got hurt in the playoffs last year, Elliott was unable to carry the load. The Blues gave up less than two goals a game in the regular season and with Halak healthy again this team has a chance for another magical season.
Pick: Blues -140
Anaheim Ducks @ Vancouver Canucks
Odds: Canucks -170
The Vancouver Canucks were another Canadian team that had a rough couple of weeks after the lockout. They open the season with Ryan Kesler and David Booth on the long-term injury list and they have a major distraction on their hands as they begin the season with Roberto Luongo and his 12-year $64 million dollar contract sitting on the bench.
The Anaheim Ducks had a great second half of the season last year when Bruce Boudreau took over and they might be able to carry that momentum over. Look for Jonas Hiller to have a bounce back season in goal, and Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to both play well in contract seasons.
There is way too much value with a sleeper Ducks team in this NHL betting matchup against a Canucks team that comes into the season in less than stellar shape.
Pick: Ducks +150