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Best NHL Bets Today | NHL Picks, December 20

Written by: Michael Hanich
Published December 20, 2023
8 min read
Best NHL Bets Today December 20

There are only three NHL games on Wednesday's slate of matchups. These matchups, however, should have plenty of opportunities for bettors to account for significant earnings as these games are projected to be closer than expected. These oddsmakers are giving great opportunities for fans of the NHL and casual bettors to potentially earn some great winnings tonight through DraftKings.

Check out the best NHL bonuses and promo codes for more betting opportunities.

New York Islanders vs. Washington Capitals

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My Pick: Washington Capitals (WAS)

Kicking off the first nationally televised game of the night in the NHL is the Metropolitan Divisional matchup between the New York Islanders (15-8-8) and the Washington Capitals (15-9-4). This will be the second matchup of the season between the two teams.

The Capitals defeated the Islanders on the road with a 4-1 score on Nov. 11, as the offense and the defense for Washington were incredibly efficient. Capitals star forward Alex Ovechkin accounted for two goals against the Islanders. Washington scored throughout all three game periods, which is a consistent attribute since the start of the season.

The Capitals come into this game with one of the least productive offenses in the league, as they average only 2.39 goals per game. They're not a team that tries to be as explosive as possible on the ice, as they are slow and methodical to keep the puck away from the opponents and run out the clock. They're an offense that waits for an efficient time to shoot and score a goal. They have scored fourteen goals in the last five games.

It is their defense that has been keeping the capital among the top teams in the Eastern Conference. The Capitals have the 10th-best scoring defense in the league, allowing an average of 2.79 goals per game.

This will be tough for the Islanders, whose offense ranks 17th in the league in goals per game (3.10). The Islanders have three players who have accounted for 30 or more points this season with center Mathew Barzal and defender Noah Dobson accounting for 33 points each. Their key to the offense is efficiently passing the puck around for solid scoring opportunities.

Detroit Red Wings vs. Winnipeg Jets

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My Pick: Winnipeg Jets (WPG)

The only game to feature an Eastern Conference versus Western Conference matchup of the night is also said to be a potential moneymaker for bettors. This is a game that could feature a Stanley Cup finals preview as the Detroit Red Wings (15-12-4) go on the road to take on the Winnipeg Jets (18-9-3). This game tonight will be the second time this season that the Jets and the Red Wings will be on the ice.

Winnipeg and Detroit met much earlier in the season, on Oct. 27, as the Jets defeated the Red Wings in a highly anticipated game with a 4-1 score in Detroit. Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck was the star of the night, as he allowed only one goal in 36 shot attempts. Four different players for the Jets were able to account for a goal.

The biggest matchup of the night is the explosive offense of the Red Wings taking on the highly efficient Jets’ defense. Detroit is fifth in the league in goals per game (3.55) while Winnipeg is fifth in goals allowed per game (2.6). The Jets possess elite defenders and goalies, including their secondary goalie, Laurent Brossoit (90.9% on saves). Detroit has several reliable offensive players, including forward Alex DeBrincat and center Dylan Larkin.

The real battle will be other matchups on the ice, as Winnipeg is 13th in the league in goals per game (3.3), while Detroit is 18th in goals allowed per game (3.19). The Jets’ offense has been much more reliable this season as a whole than the Red Wings’ offense.

Seattle Kraken vs. Los Angeles Kings

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

My Pick: Los Angeles Kings (LA)

The final matchup of the night is set for a Pacific Divisional game as the Seattle Kraken (10-14-9) go on the road to take on the Los Angeles Kings (18-6-4). This will be a rematch from four days prior, as the Kings defeated the Kraken in Seattle in a 3-2 shootout. That win by the Kings erased a three-game losing streak.

The Kings’ Carl Grundstrom made the game-winning goal over the Kraken in nine rounds. Los Angeles’ defense limited Seattle’s offense to only 19 attempted shots in regular time compared to the Kings’ 38 shots.

The Kings come into this game with a serious edge on both sides of the ice. Los Angeles is ranked third in the league in goals per game (3.57) and first in the league in goals allowed per game (2.36). The Kraken, on the other hand, still haven’t found their rhythm on the offensive side of the ice, as they are ranked 28th in the league in goals per game (2.7).

Seattle seems to be getting better on the deepest side of the ice compared to the start of the season, but they are nowhere near as efficient or ready to handle the explosive play of the king's offense. The Kraken are ranked 16th in the league in goals allowed per game (3.18). It is going to take serious concentration from the Kraken to upset the Kings tonight, which should make for a stellar betting opportunity for the Kings.

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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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