@FastMoneyLabs’ Best NHL Bets - 3/25

Moneyline Pick

You could call me a biased New Jersey Devils fan, but the reality is this: every pick I recommend is data-driven. I study the statistics, pick apart the trends and share my findings with the FlashPicks Fam.

I’m not afraid to fade my own team when the numbers suggest we should (as I tried to do on Wednesday by backing Auston Matthews to dominate my Devils).

All that is to say, I’ve been studying what’s happening in New York and can confidently and objectively state —with all biases aside— the New York Rangers are NOT a good hockey team. In fact, if we ignore their record: they are technically one of the worst by the numbers. . . and it’s only getting worse.

New York Rangers by the Numbers

My critical assessment is based purely on the numbers displayed below - which I view as ‘key performance indicators’:

NHL

The rankings in this table tell a simple story: if not for elite goaltending, the New York Rangers would not be a playoff team.

In their last 10 games:

  • Only 1 team has fewer Expected Goals than the Rangers.
  • Only 4 teams allowed more High-Danger Scoring Chances.
  • Only 7 teams generated fewer High-Danger Scoring Chances.
  • The team garnered less than 47% of shot attempts and shots on goal, continuing a season-long trend.

Another concerning trend for NYR is the fact their team Save Percentage is starting to drop, though it is somewhat marginal, and I’d characterize 90.9% in their last 10 as still very good.

The slight drop in Save Percentage is easily explained by the fact the team is putting their goaltenders in tougher position lately by allowing more high-danger chances — 14.08 per game in their last 10 vs. 12.64 on the season. They’re also generating less high-danger scoring chances in their last 10 games. Not a good combo.

Now to be fair, the Rangers front office recognized their weaknesses and theoretically addressed them in the trade market last week. However, until the changes prove effective (which they did not in game 1, an embarrassing 7-4 loss to NJD), I feel like the only choice I have is to fade the New York Rangers until further notice.

Pittsburgh Penguins by the Numbers

Here are the same statistics for the Pittsburgh Penguins:

NHL

I won’t hold this side by side next to the Rangers table — I’ve got too many NYR fans as friends to do something so cruel! — but the key point is: this is what a playoff team’s numbers are supposed to look like.

What also strikes me as positive is the the team’s consistency. Their rankings in their last 10 mirror closely with their Overall rankings. This is different from NYR who saw several key rankings drop 10+ spots in their last 10 games.

Recent Matchup History

In 9 matchups since 2021, the Penguins are 7-2 vs. NYR. Of the games played at Madison Square Garden (MSG), Pittsburgh is only 2-2.

In their only matchup this year, the Pens eked out a 1-0 shutout victory over NYR. That game was played just 1 month ago in Pittsburgh. Tonight, the battle shifts back to MSG.

Notably, both teams are coming off a loss. This year:

  • Pittsburgh is just 12-13 straight up in the game after a loss. Since the All-Star break, they’re 4-3 in this situation. As the road team, they’re 6-4 overall and 2-0 post-All Star break.
  • New York has been significantly better than Pitt coming off a loss. Entering tonight, they’re 15-8 straight up after a loss and 6-3 at home. Post-All Star break they are 4-2 coming off a loss and 1-1 at home.

$FML Moneyline Pick

betmgm

PENGUINS ML @ -120

Game Total & Player Prop Pick

For my top game total and player prop spot, let’s head to Canada.

Readers of my column are probably familiar with a guy named Patrik Laine by now. He plays for the Columbus Blue Jackets and we’ve been cashing his props with regularity in the last 2 months.

What you might not be familiar with is his history before joining Columbus. Here’s a quick recap:

  • In 2015, he was drafted 2nd overall — not by Columbus, but by the Winnipeg Jets.
  • The then 18-year-old proceeded to score 36 goals in his rookie campaign.
  • He followed that with a 44 goal season as a sophomore.
  • Needless to say, he quickly became a fan favorite in Winnipeg.

Fast forward to January of last year. Laine was surprisingly traded away to Columbus, and the reasoning is complicated. Here’s a link to the full story if you’re interested in reading about it. 

Bottom line, it was an ugly departure, and I expect a motivated Laine tonight vs. his former team. It will be his first chance at redemption, so I need all the Patrik Laine props I can get tonight.

These teams have also been flying over their Game Totals of late. I expect a buzz in the building tonight for Laine’s return and feel it’s a good excuse to back the ‘Over’ for what should be an entertaining battle tonight.

$FML Game Total Pick (CBJ vs. WPG)

caesars

GAME TOTAL OVER 6.5 @ -130

$FML Goal Scorer Pick

fanduel

PATRICK LAINE TO SCORE A GOAL @ +172

$FML Points Pick

flashpicks

PATRICK LAINE TO RECORD 2+ POINTS @ +280

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