NHL Best Bets: Jan. 1

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Happy New Year to all! As is tradition, I expect everyone had too much to eat and drink last night and you’re popping a tums while reading this article for today’s best bets. Okay, well maybe that’s just me but hey 2022 is here and that means we have the Winter Classic on tap tonight as well as nine games around the league. That’s the biggest slate we’ve had since before Christmas so make sure to head over to PointsBet.com and see what looks good! Here are the bets I am looking at for the first day of the new year.

St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild 7:00 pm ET (Winter Classic Game)

I’m going to lay down two picks for this game because it’s been since 2020 since the NHL has played their outdoor classic. It’s no secret that avid and average hockey fans adore the Winter Classic alike and it’s not hard to see why, the spectacle is always so grand. This will mark the first time that the Minnesota Wild will lace up the skates for New Year’s game outdoors, and they will do so in their home city and play at the Twins Target Field! Not to be a downer for the Wild and their fans in the first Classic in their home area, but home teams have not fared overly well over the 13-game history since the NHL launched the event in 2008. With a record of 5-8 overall, the home side has played victim many a time and that is a surprising stat all things considered. I don’t like the history obviously, but the Wild do represent the best home side in this game in a considerable amount of time. Past seasons saw the Stars, Blackhawks and Sabres all fall on the outdoor area and any hockey fan knows those teams haven’t been the greatest over recent seasons.

Flipping over to the away side of this game, we have the St. Louis Blues who will be playing in their second Winter Classic after winning at Busch Stadium in 2017 over the Blackhawks. The Blues were a good team then and they’re a good team in the present. They sit one point ahead of Minnesota in the Central Division as of today, so this game has some weight in the standings. At 18-9-5 on the season the Blues have done well but it’s been a bit bumpier for them on the road. Away from the Midwest, they are just 6-9 straight up and have looked poor in the process. They will be without Ivan Barbashev and possibly Pavel Buchnevich which is a downgrade for the Blues. The NBC Sports Edge game predictor engine has the Wild winning straight up in its highest confidence rating and the model is 74-32 on the season in those parameters this season. History points away from the Wild, but it’s been quite some time since a team this good has hosted the event, Wild on the Money Line straight up tonight.

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St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild Game Total

Now to the game total for the NHL’s annual outdoor classic! Over the past five games, there have been three games that have reached six goals but overall, the Under has hit in 8 of 13 games so far. So, what I am trying to say is that history tells us to take the Under but in recent seasons team’s have been lighting the lamp more and more. Six is a large number for an outdoor game, but the books are very wary of these two offenses as well they should be. Combined this season, the Blues & Wild have gone Over at a mark of 34-27-1 and both have great goal per game scoring averages. The Wild rank third in the NHL with 3.63 goals per game, and the Blues rank seventh at 3.38 that’s prime for an offensive explosion, right? Well given the history of this game it’s not that simple. Let me mention the weather quickly as well because it is going to be COLD for this contest tonight. Current weather conditions are expecting a -5 degrees Fahrenheit at puck drop with a wind chill of -20 and that is going to have an impact on things. The goaltenders for tonight’s matchup are also more than capable of holding their own tonight. The Blues will go with the Stanley Cup champ Jordan Binnington, and the Wild have confirmed they will go with Cam Talbot between the pipes. I ignored history with the pick of the home team winning on the Money Line but on the Total, I am going to lean just Under the six total goals which seems high given everything that is the Winter Classic!

The Picks:

Minnesota Wild Money Line, -115 on Points Bet

Wild & Blues Over 6 Goals, +100 on PointsBet

Follow me on twitter @jwaggs10

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