SportsGrid NHL Model Picks for Saturday, December 16


Dec 16, 2023

Saturday is synonymous with hockey. It’s typically the busiest day of the week in the NHL, featuring a bevy of intriguing matchups. That leaves many in-roads for bettors looking for edges in the gambling market. 

To help players get a winning edge, we’re highlighting some of our favorite plays from the SportsGrid NHL Model.

New York Islanders vs. Montreal Canadiens
Islanders Moneyline (-134): 5-Star Rating

Two vintage NHL rivals take to the ice at the Bell Centre on Saturday night, with the Montreal Canadiens looking to get back in the win column against the New York Islanders. The Habs have lost two in a row and five of their last seven, with the outlook equally pessimistic tonight. 

Montreal is having a hard time generating offense at the moment. The Canadiens have been limited to nine or fewer high-danger opportunities in five of their past seven, going north of 23 scoring chances just once over that span. Predictably, this has resulted in decreased output, with Montreal recording 16 goals across the seven-game sample. 

We’re not expecting that to improve against a stingy Islanders side. The Long Islanders have limited their opponents to nine or fewer quality chances in four of six, with only one of those teams exceeding 25 scoring opportunities. That defensive structure has been evident throughout the Islanders campaign, helping New York goalies combine for the best five-on-five save percentage in the show. 

The Canadiens are priced as home underdogs for a reason. Still, the price should be higher on the Islanders. On that basis, backing the Isles on the moneyline is rated as a five-star play.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Maple Leafs Moneyline (-134): 5-Star Rating

Saturdays just don’t feel right without the Toronto Maple Leafs taking to the ice. Thankfully for the hockey’s faithful, the Leafs are back in action tonight, hosting Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Leafs were on the wrong end of a 6-5 decision the last time out but are poise for a breakout against the Pens. 

Toronto’s analytics are trending positively over its recent stretch. The Maple Leafs are coming off one of their best offensive performances of the season, delivering 21 high-danger chances last time out. That was the second straight game they eclipsed 12 opportunities, and the second time in four games, they posted an expected goals-for percentage above 60.0%.

The Penguins find themselves on the opposite end of the analytics spectrum. Pittsburgh has been outplayed in four of its previous seven, getting out-chanced in high-danger chances in all but two of those outings. That faltering defensive zone coverage won’t hold up against the Leafs. 

The Leafs usually come out to play on Saturday night, and we’re expecting such against the Penguins. Our algorithm leaves a substantial edge in backing the home side as short favorites. Maple Leafs moneyline is the play.

Washington Capitals vs. Nashville Predators
Capitals Moneyline (+114): 5-Star Rating

The Nashville Predators are coming off a come-from-behind victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night, hosting the Washington Capitals on Saturday. This shapes up to be a flat spot for the Preds as they host a surging Capitals squad. 

Although the Predators were victorious, we’ve seen deteriorating metrics from them recently. Nashville has been outplayed in three of its past four, giving up an average of 11.0 high-danger chances per game. Short rest will be a factor as they travel back home for tonight’s inter-conference battle. 

Conversely, the Caps are well-rested ahead of this one, playing just one game since last Sunday. Pointing the lens further back reveals a team that is 4-2-2 over their previous eight, with the Capitals outplaying their opponents in three of their last five. 

We project a substantive edge in backing the Capitals in this one, rating it as a five-star play.

Stay ahead of the game and elevate your sports betting experience with SportsGrid.

Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Picked For You