NHL Betting Guide for Thursday, December 30: Playing a Pair of Road Dogs

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The high-scoring trend continued in the early part of last night’s slate, making it six straight overs before three unders hit in the later game. Last night’s results make the over 6-3 since the NHL returned to action a couple of nights ago. With seven games scheduled for tonight, six of which feature teams on the second night of a back-to-back, there’s potential for more high-scoring shenanigans tonight.

These are the wagers we’re looking at from FanDuel Sportsbook!

After not playing for 13 days, the Florida Panthers will compete for the second time in as many nights when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. This season, the Panthers have struggled on the second night of back-to-backs, and the Bolts will be ready to strike.

Florida is winless on three second-night scenarios this season, getting outscored by a cumulative 14-7 margin. However, the more concerning trend could be their recent lackluster offensive efforts. The Panthers have attempted nine or fewer high-danger chances at five-on-five in four of their past five games, getting out-chanced in three of those contests. Florida averages 8.2 quality chances and 19.8 scoring opportunities per game over that five-game sample. We’re not expecting that trend to correct on the second night of a back-to-back against one of the league’s top teams.

Tampa comes into tonight’s battle out-chancing their opponents in quality opportunities in four of their past five and posting an expected goals-for percentage above 50.0% at five-on-five in three of five. The Bolts get a boost between the pipes as Andrei Vasilevskiy is expected to return against the Panthers. Vasilevskiy is on a seven-game winning streak, stopping 93.3% of shots faced and posting a 2.11 goals-against average. His presence stabilizes the Bolts’ backend, allowing their offense to operate more freely.

This game will be closer than the betting market implies. Florida has struggled under these circumstances this season, and the Lightning get a big boost in net. We’re betting that Tampa comes out on top, although it should take longer than 60 minutes to get there.

The Picks: Lightning +128, 60-minute tie +330

All NHL predictions and picks are courtesy of SportsGrid.

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