Best NHL Bets Today | NHL Picks, December 21

Written by: Michael Hanich
Published December 21, 2023
6 min read
Best NHL Bets Today December 21

This Thursday night is set for another huge night in the NHL there are multiple being played. These games present all opportunities for casual NHL fans and bettors to get into the sports gambling side of the matchups. These games should give the bettors significant earnings with the correct pick from DraftKings.

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Vegas Golden Knights vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Time: 7:00 PM E.T. - Thursday

  • Moneyline: Golden Knights (-115) | Lightning (-105)

  • Puck Line: Golden Knights +1.5 (-278) | Lightning -1.5 (+235) 

  • Total: Over 6.5 (-105) | Under 6.5 (-115)

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook. Skate into NHL action with DraftKings – Bet $5, Get $150 in bonus bets!

My Pick: Vegas Golden Knights (VGK)

One of the first games of the night is a potential Stanley Cup Finals game between the Vegas Golden Knights (21-7-5) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (15-13-5). This will be a game where two of the most explosive offenses clash.

After a solid start to the 2023-2024 NHL Season and a tough set of games in November, the Vegas Golden Knights are on a solid streak in December. The Golden Knights are 6-3 in December as they have battled a mix of Eastern and Western Conference games. They are looking to get back on a winning streak as they have won only one of their last three games.

The Lightning have been up and down throughout the season as they have barely sustained a winning streak and have broken a few losing streaks. After getting to an overall record of 10-10-5, the Lightning have won five of the last eight games, but have not sustained more than a two-game winning streak. They are coming off a 6-1 home win over the St. Louis Blues this past Tuesday.

The Golden Knights Are eighth in the league in goals per game (3.39) while the Lightning are right nice in the league in goals per game (3.39). Both offenses contain a set of dynamic playmakers on the ice and some of the best players in the league.

The biggest difference in the game will be the play on the defensive side of the ice. Vegas is ranked sixth in the league in goals allowed per game (2.61). Tampa Bay, on the other hand, is one of the worst defenses in the league, ranking 28th in goals allowed per game (3.49).

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Time: 7:00 PM E.T. - Thursday

  • Moneyline: Hurricanes (-125) | Penguins (+105)

  • Puck Line: Hurricanes -1.5 (+190) | Penguins +1.5 (-230) 

  • Total: Over 6 (-130) | Under 6 (+110)

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

My Pick: Carolina Hurricanes (CAR)

One of the most critical Eastern Conference matchups this Thursday night is set as the Carolina Hurricanes (17-12-3) go on the road to take on a desperate Pittsburgh Penguins team (14-13-3).

This will be the second match of the season between the Hurricanes and the Penguins as Carolina took a 4-2 win at home over the Penguins on November 18. Hurricanes center Seth Jarvis accounted for two goals and an assist while defender Brent Burns accounted for a goal and an assist.

The Penguins have won three of their last four games after coming off a terrible streak we're the only one in three of the previous 12 games. They have been a team that has been fluctuating up and down throughout the season as there has been no consistency from the coaching staff. There's not a lot of time left with this team as their star players are getting too old to play consistently throughout the season

The Hurricanes are coming off a huge success three home win over the Vegas Golden Knights this past Tuesday. They have won three of the last five games after coming off a tough set of matchups where they were previously 1-6 in the previous seven games.

Carolina is 14th in the league in goals per game (3.28) while the Penguins’ offense has been deteriorating throughout the last few weeks. Pittsburgh is averaging only 2.87 goals per game (24th in the league). While the Penguins are more efficient on defense than the Hurricanes, the Penguins have allowed 15 goals in the last four games.

Edmonton Oilers vs. New Jersey Devils

  • Time: 7:30 PM E.T. - Thursday

  • Moneyline: Oilers (-105) | Devils (-115)

  • Puck Line: Oilers +1.5 (-245) | Devils -1.5 (+200) 

  • Total: Over 7 (-105) | Under 7 (-115)

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook. Score $150 in bonus bets at DraftKings, Bet $5, Win Big, Act fast!

My Pick: New Jersey Devils (NJ)

Another highly anticipated Eastern Conference versus Western Conference matchup is also expected to be the highest-scoring game of the night as the Edmonton Oilers (13-15-1)  go on the road to take on the New Jersey Devils (16-12-2).

This game will be highlighted by two different aspects of the play from both teams on the ice. Both the Devils and the Oilers possess highly efficient and explosive offenses but also possess two of the worst and least effective defenses in the league.

Edmonton is ranked 11th in the league in goals per game (3.34) thanks to the elite playmaking abilities of center Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, two of the best veterans in the league. New Jersey is ranked 7th in the league in goals per game (3.43) thanks to the impact of too young elite stars in senator Jack Hughes and forward Jesper Bratt.

Both Edmonton and New Jersey's defense is among the least sufficient in the league as they focus more on the productivity on the offensive side of the ice. The Oilers allow an average of 3.45 goals per game (27th most in the league) while the Devils allow an average of 3.53 goals per game (29th most in the league).

There is no doubt that this game is going to come down to the wire with multiple goals being scored. The biggest difference of this game is how consistent can the explosive offenses be from start to finish. The homecourt advantage will play a significant factor as the Devils have the youth and the crowd to give them an 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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