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Best NHL Bets Today | NHL Picks, December 14

Written by: Michael Hanich
Published December 14, 2023
7 min read
Best NHL Bets Today December 14

Tonight is a huge night in the NHL as there are many games to watch, including some that could be Stanley Cup Finals previews. With all of these big games tonight, it will also be a big opportunity to bet on these games and win some significant earnings. Some of the best bets tonight will be games that are expected to be close matchups. 

Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

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My Pick: Philadelphia Flyers (PHI)

One of the biggest matchups in the Eastern Conference kicks off a busy Thursday night in the NHL as the Washington Capitals (14-8-3) go on the road to take on the Philadelphia Flyers (15-10-3). This game tonight will be the first time this season that the Capitals and the Flyers will meet on the ice.

This game tonight is expected to be a defensive fight as both Washington and Philadelphia come into this game with top-ten defenses. The Capitals are ranked ninth in the league in goals allowed per game (2.84). The Flyers are a little bit more efficient as they allow an average of 2.71 goals per game, eighth in the league.

To make the matchup more convincing of a defensive slugfest, both teams rank in the bottom half of the league offensively. The Flyers rely on a set of playmakers in forward Travis Konecny, center Sean Couturier and defender Travis Sanheim to provide the spark for the offense. Philadelphia is ranked 22nd in goals per game (2.96). Washington’s offense is slow and likes to win by overpowering defenses. Center Dylan Strome is their leading goal-scorer (11). The Capitals are ranked 30th in goals per game (2.48).

Philadelphia is a team that takes advantage of power play opportunities more than Washington. The Capitals, however, are the more impressive team when it comes to goalie play, but tonight’s matchup should favor Philadelphia. The Flyers are expected to start Carter Hart (91.9%) while the Capitals are expected to start Darcy Kuemper (89.2%).

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Edmonton Oilers

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My Pick: Edmonton Oilers (EDM)

Don’t look now, but the Edmonton Oilers (13-12-1) are back to their championship-contending selves. This Thursday night is a big matchup in the NHL as the Oilers host the Tampa Bay Lightning (13-12-5) in a game that could be a Stanley Cup Finals preview.

The Lightning haven’t hit their stride as one of the best and most consistent teams in the Eastern Conferences this season. Tampa Bay has only accounted for a three-game winning streak once in these two months of the regular season. They are a team that takes a while to get out of a slump. The Lighting, however, have won three of the last five games, but are coming off a 4-1 loss at the Vancouver Canucks this past Tuesday.

The Oilers started the season with one of the worst starts of all 32 teams in the NHL. Edmonton started the season with an overall record of 2-9-1. After finishing the road trip with a 4-1 win over the Seattle Kraken, head coach Jay Woodcroft and assistant coach Dave Manson were fired. Kris Knoblauch has given the team new life as the head coach of the Oilers. The Oilers are 10-3 under Knoblauch and they are on an eight-game win streak.  

The Oilers and the Lightning have met earlier in the season as Tampa Bay took down Edmonton 6-4 at home on November 18 to give Knoblauch his first loss as a head coach. Tampa Bay scored four goals in the third period to take the win.

Tonight should be a high-scoring game as the Lighting and the Oilers are in the bottom half of the league in scoring defense. The Lightning are ranked 31st (second-to-last) in goals allowed per game (3.53). The much-improved Oilers team are ranked fifth in the league in goals per game (3.5).

With Oilers star center Connor McDavid playing incredible offense and the Oilers possessing homecourt advantage and a solid win streak, there should be no doubt that Edmonton takes care of business at home.

Florida Panthers vs. Vancouver Canucks

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook. Bet $5, snag $150 in bonus bets with DraftKings. Win or lose, you're a winner!

My Pick: Vancouver Canucks (VAN)

The biggest matchup of the night is a potential Stanley Cup Finals preview as the Florida Panthers (17-9-2) go on the road to take on the Vancouver Canucks (19-9-1). This is a game with the closest odds on Thursday night and potentially as one of the highest-scoring games.

The Panthers and the Canucks previously met earlier in the season in  Sunrise, Florida on October 21st. The Canucks took a big 5-3 road victory over the Panthers despite a serious third period push from Florida. Panthers center Sam Reinhart scored two goals, but the Canucks showed their availability in depth as five players scored. Center J.T. Miller accounted for two assists.

Florida is looking to redeem themselves on Thursday night after having their three-game winning streak snapped in a brutal 4-0 road loss to the Seattle Kraken. The Canucks are on a three-game winning streak and have defeated two title-contending teams from the Eastern Conference in the Carolina Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning before taking on the Panthers.

Despite the over/under being labeled at 6.5, the Panthers and the Canucks are coming into this game with two of the top defenses in the league. Vancouver ranks fourth in the league in goals allowed per game (2.55), while Florida ranks fifth in the league (2.57). The Canucks are a much more explosive offense, as they average 3.83 goals per game, first in the league. The Panthers average 3.04 goals, which is 20th in the league.

The Panthers are a team that plays up to the level of some of the top teams in the league, which makes them a threat in the postseason. However, Vancouver comes into the game tonight with the momentum of a winning streak and the homecourt advantage.

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Michael Hanich

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Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.

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