We’ve got a fifteen game slate on Friday, with games being broadcasted throughout the entire day. This is followed up by an eleven game slate on Saturday in which all but one team — the Los Angeles Kings — will have played on Friday night. I’m not thankful for this weekend, it will likely be a clusterfuck but hey, sometimes chaos equals cash.
You can see exactly what I’m talking about below. Green cells are simply a count of days rest while red cells highlight situations where teams are playing tired.
Goaltender usage could get whacky, as just about every coach will have a tough decision to make in regards to which goaltender gets which matchup. Take the Vegas Golden Knights for example. They host the Calgary Flames* on Friday, and the Sharks come to town the very next night. The meeting against the Sharks will be the fifth game in seven nights for the Golden Knights. Does Gerard Gallant go with Malcolm Subban against the Flames on Friday night and Marc-Andre Fleury against the Sharks — a team that will also be playing the the second half of a back-to-back — on Saturday?
*Flames forward Sam Bennett was not at practice on Thursday after taking a shot to the forearm in Wednesday night’s game against the Winnipeg Jets and this is definitely something worth monitoring heading into Friday’s game in Las Vegas.
How will the Columbus Blue Jackets divvy up the goaltending duties between Sergei Bobrovsky and Joonas Korpisalo? They play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday then travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins on Saturday. With three days rest to Toronto’s one, does Korpisalo get the start versus the Maple Leafs, leaving Bobrovsky to take on the Penguins? After all, the Penguins are a division rival and the Blue Jackets would like to do their part in making sure their struggles continue. With Matt Murray now suffering from a lower body injury that’s being dubbed as ‘longer-term’, the Penguins will not only be relying on Casey DeSmith and Tristan Jarry going forward, but immediately, in a weekend back-to-back set against the Boston Bruins and the aforementioned Columbus Blue Jackets.
The St. Louis Blues and Buffalo Sabres will both be playing their sixth game in nine days on Saturday. The Blues at home and the Sabres on the road, either way though, it’s a brutal spot to be in. Their opponents however, will be playing their second game in as many nights so it softens the blow a bit.
These are just a few of things you’ll to make note of if you want to try and forecast — or at least make educated guesses about — goaltender usage yourself. If you sit back and wait for coaches to confirm their starting goaltenders, you might miss out on some betting opportunities. A lot of novice bettors don’t look ahead, and don’t consider what implications a complicated schedule might have on the upcoming games.
Bovada has been offering prices on Friday’s card since noon on Wednesday, and books like BetOnline opened up earlier today. Pinnacle, has opened since I began writing this post and I’ve compared the opening prices between three books and highlighted the best price on each side, in each game.
If, for example, you were able to spot San Jose Sharks -220 at Bovada yesterday and — in my opinion — correctly determined that it was a very good price, you would’ve been vindicated when Pinnacle opens up at -260, however, if you were to have bet the St. Louis Blues, +105 at Bovada, and saw the Blues open +120 at Pinnacle, you shouldn’t feel that same vindication.
If you’re attacking a recreational book when they open, and you’re seeing the latter scenario play out more than the former, you’re probably playing right into the bookmakers hands. With that being said, if you do know what you’re doing, you probably won’t last long at a shop like that, but what’s that old saying? You’ve got to make hay while the sun is shining. If you think you can take on a recreational book, do it, and continue to do it, until they limit you or show you the door all together. You’ll get paid, you’ll just have to find somewhere else to bet. No big deal.
It’s also going to be important to tune in on Friday, watch the games, and make note of any injuries that occur. I sound like a broken record here but with almost every team playing two games in two days, staying on top of everything that’s happening as it happens can make a big difference in getting the best of it and ultimately winning some money.
The Tic-Tac-Tout Hockey Podcast will drop once again this Saturday, November 24th so, if you’re looking to get caught up on your preparation for the weekend, Myself, Michael Clifford and Adam Daly will breakdown Saturday’s slate from both a gambling and fantasy perspective. It’s available on iTunes and SoundCloud, and you can follow us on Twitter @tictactout.
As far as what I like on the board right now for Friday, I’m going to have to get back to you on that one.
Follow me on Twitter @BetAndyBet