NHL Betting Guide: Friday 4/16/20

The Wild have won 13 of their last 14 games on home ice. Is there value in backing them against the Sharks tonight?

It's a relatively quiet Friday night in the Chel. There are five games on the betting board, with three of the five matchups coming from the NHL West Division. Limited action isn't going to stop us from finding value on the board, though.

Here are a few plays from our daily projections!

Minnesota Wild vs. San Jose Sharks

Wild Moneyline (-196): 3-Star Rating out of 5
Under 5.5 (+110): 1-Star Rating out of 5

The San Jose Sharks played their last five games on home ice against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks and put up some pretty suspect metrics over that span. Now they have to travel to take on the Minnesota Wild, one of the best teams on home ice in the NHL.

Over the last five games, the Sharks have out-chanced and out-shot their opponents in high-danger chances just once at five-on-five. Scoring chances were only slightly better, with San Jose attempting more chances on two of the five occasions. As a result of this, their expected goals-for percentage was below 50.0% in three of the five games, and they dropped four of the five decisions. The most concerning part, though, is that this effort came against two of the worst teams in the NHL. The Ducks rank 31st in expected goals-for percentage at five-on-five, and the Kings rank 28th.

The Wild have been dominant at the Xcel Energy Center this season. They have a 15-4-0 record on home ice and have the eighth-best expected goals-for percentage in the league. Their biggest strength is their defensive structure, as they limit opponents to an average of 16.0 scoring chances and 4.8 high-danger chances at five-on-five, which rank second and first in the league, respectively.

The Sharks have lost three in a row against some inferior opponents and now have to travel to take on one of the best home teams in the league. The -196 moneyline price doesn't do the Wild justice. We're backing the Wild and relying on defensive metrics to keep this game under 5.5. Those plays are rated as three- and one-star plays, respectively, as per our projections.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Los Angeles Kings

Under 5.5 (+112): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

When you look at the Colorado Avalanche's roster, your first thought isn't, 'This looks like the best defensive team in the league!' but that's exactly what they have been this season.

The Avs lead the league in expected goals-against at 1.38 per game at five-on-five. That number is so low thanks to some staggering defensive metrics. Colorado holds opponents to 18.9 shots (best in the league),15.8 scoring chances (best), and 6.7 high-danger opportunities (second-best). Their actual goals against is a little further down the league, ranking fourth in goals-against at five-on-five. That implies that we could see even fewer goals over the coming Avs games.

The Kings' defensive metrics are not on the same plane as the Avs', but they have been improving recently. LA has allowed 23 or fewer scoring opportunities in four of five and 10 or fewer high-danger chances in three of their last five. They will need to maintain that defensive composure if they hope to limit the Avalanche tonight.

The Kings' save percentage has been irregular on a game-to-game basis. Cal Petersen and Jonathan Quick alternate between above-average and below-average performances. The Kings goalies have 93.3% or more shots at five-on-five in five of their last 10 and stopped 87.5% or fewer at five-on-five in the other five games. Thankfully, they've been running hot against the Avs all season, stopping 94.0% of shots at five-on-five.

Based on our analysis, there's an advantage in backing the under tonight. That aligns with our projections, which rate the under 5.5 as a one-star play.