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Top NHL Betting Picks for Saturday, January 15th (2022)

by January 15, 2022
Sidney Crosby

The end of the NFL regular season is always a little bittersweet. On one hand, I’m sad to see another football season nearing completion. On the other, the end of football season allows me to focus more attention on my second favorite sport, hockey.

The NHL has rewarded us with a whopping 13-game slate Saturday, and there are a couple of games catching my attention. Let’s break down my best bets for this Saturday’s slate.

Compare odds from all major sportsbooks for today’s games >>

Pittsburgh Penguins (-160) at San Jose Sharks (+140), Total 5.5 

Let’s start with the game that will be the last to drop the puck Saturday night. The Penguins have won eight of their last 10, but they’re coming off an ugly 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings Thursday night.

Meanwhile, the Sharks have done enough to hang around in the Western Conference playoff race. But San Jose has struggled against the league’s better teams. The Sharks are 1-5 against playoff caliber teams.

The advanced analytics suggest the Penguins are one of the league’s best teams. They’ve posted an expected goals for percentage of 54.41% at 5-on-5, the fourth best mark in the league. Meanwhile, San Jose ranks 19th in that category.

The Sharks can certainly score with anyone, as they rank ninth in the league in expected goals for. However, they’ve struggled to bury their opportunities, ranking just 19th in goals this season. San Jose is also defensively questionable, having given up the 10th-most goals in the league. That spells trouble against Pittsburgh’s deep and talented offense.

Finally, Pittsburgh should have the advantage between the pipes, as Tristan Jarry is scheduled to go against Adin Hill.

The Penguins beat the Sharks 8-5 in their previous meeting, and I’d expect Pittsburgh to light the lamp a bunch in a bounce back spot.

The pick: Pittsburgh -165

Toronto Maple Leafs (-175) at St. Louis Blues (+165), Total 5.5 

The Maple Leafs are coming off an inexplicable loss to the lowly Arizona Coyotes Wednesday night. Surely, they’ll be looking to bounce back Saturday night in St. Louis.

The Blues are sitting pretty in the Western Conference playoff race, but the analytics suggest this team isn’t quite as good as their record might suggest. The Blues rank just 22nd in the league in expected goals for percentage at 5-on-5 play. Meanwhile, Toronto ranks third in that category.

The advanced analytics also suggest the Blues aren’t a great defensive team, as they rank 31st in expected goals allowed. That’s bad news against an explosive Maple Leafs lineup.

The goaltending matchup should be Jack Campbell vs. Jordan Binnington, with Campbell holding a significant advantage in net.

The Maple Leafs are primed for a rebound performance and will prove to be too much for a Blues team that simply isn’t that great.

The pick: Toronto -105 to win in regulation

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Hockey, Picks