NHL Picks for Friday, March 24, 2023

By Betmaker Team

We have only three games to bet on this Friday night in the NHL. There are 12 games on Thursday and 15 games on Saturday, so it’s a light slate considering what’s on either side of it. The good news is that we have two teams making moves in the standings in the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders, and a player that is redefining the modern NHL in Connor McDavid. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the NHL betting action.

NHL Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook

New Jersey Devils at Buffalo Sabres

Although they are having their best season in years, the Buffalo Sabres are still going to come up short in their bid to break an 11-year playoff drought. Buffalo was in the mix until the last couple weeks, but the Sabres have since dropped four straight games, and they are 2-6-2 over their last 10 games.

Meanwhile, the New Jersey Devils have been a phenomenal road team all season long. The Devils are 26-5-4 away from home, and that has enabled them to have the second-best goal differential in the Eastern Conference. Jack Hughes has been great all season, but he is in the middle of a five-game goalless streak. He took 10 shots on Wednesday night against Minnesota looking to break that streak, so it’s only a matter of time before the flood gates open for the top scorer on the Devils with 37 goals and 44 assists.

New York Islanders at Columbus Blue Jackets

The New York Islanders haven’t been as strong on the road. The Isles are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference right now though with three straight wins and a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games. Mathew Barzal is still out due to injury, and Brock Nelson is a bit banged up, and that does sting since those are the Isles’ two leading scorers. Bo Horvat might not have had the season the team hoped for after trading for him, but he can be a real big addition in the postseason.

On the other side of the ice, the Columbus Blue Jackets are just playing for ping pong balls. Columbus is by far the worst team in the Eastern Conference, and players like Johnny Gaudreau, Patrik Laine, and Boone Jenner are largely toiling in obscurity.

Bet-Rivers-Banner-Sep-29-2022-03-57-25-53-PM-3The goaltending for Columbus has been atrocious since the front office dealt Joonas Korpisalo to the Los Angeles Kings. Elvis Merzlikins is the nominal starter, but he is 7-17-2 with a 4.10 GAA and an .880 save percentage. This could be his first game back though, and neither Daniil Tarasov nor Michael Hutchinson has played well in his absence.

Arizona Coyotes at Colorado Avalanche

Surprisingly, the Arizona Coyotes have played well during the month of March even though they have nothing to play for given how far they are out of the playoff picture. They won four straight games and were 6-2-2 before their two-game Canadian road trip, but the Coyotes kept it close in losses to Winnipeg and Edmonton. However, the Coyotes have their hands full from Friday to Monday as they face the Colorado Avalanche twice and the Edmonton Oilers again.

It's been impressive to see this defense rally after the Coyotes traded Shayne Gostisbehere and Jakob Chychrun before the trade deadline. That makes Arizona an intriguing wager against Colorado as a massive underdog per the NHL betting odds. When these teams met in the Mile High City two weeks ago, Arizona took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission and took the Avalanche to overtime. Colorado was a whopping -480 favorite to win, and the Avalanche did outshoot the Coyotes 44-20, but that would have been a lot of chalk to lose on a single bet.

Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen could both finish with 100-point seasons for the Avalanche. MacKinnon currently has 90 points and Rantanen has 85 points for the defending Stanley Cup champions. The big concern for this team as they look to repeat is the goaltending, but the good news there is that Alexandar Georgiev has fared well in recent weeks and now has the fifth-best save percentage at .919.