NHL Betting Guide: Lines, Trends & Picks For Thursday, Dec. 8

The top betting trends you need to know for today's NHL games

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NHL Betting Guide: Today's Lines, Trends & Picks

We're now getting into the thick of December hockey and we have a smaller five-game slate to pick through and discover some best bets on this tremendous Thursday. So be ready to make some wagers and let's cash. BetQL subscribers can see more betting trends and all of our best bets with star ratings for every pick.

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We'll start things off in sunny Florida, where the Detroit Red Wings will travel to take on the Panthers. Detroit is having their best start to a season in some time, sitting at 13-7-5 on the year. However, when you look at the numbers, there really isn't much here to be super excited about. They score 3.20 goals per game, which is pretty good, but the rest is pretty mid. They take 30.4 shots per game, which is about average. They allow 31.5 shots per game, which is slightly below average. Finally, they allow 3.04 goals per game. That is, you guessed it, average. Nothing jumps off the page about them.

Florida has a worse record, but they actually have been more impressive numbers wise. The reigning Presidents trophy winners have been electric on offense, scoring 3.42 goals per game and taking an astounding 38.7 shots per contest. Those are some of the better offensive numbers in hockey at the moment. Where they have struggled the most is on defense and with goaltending. Florida allows 3.35 goals per game and 31.9 shots against each time out.

MY PICK: Florida is a lot better than what they have shown in my opinion, and at home, they should be able to dispatch a Red Wings team that would be part of the "not-ready-for-primetime" players. At least, not yet. Give me the Panthers here -1.5.

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Next up, we'll head north, where the Toronto Maple Leafs will take on the Los Angeles Kings. LA will have a long flight up here, but they are a team that has been consistently overlooked this season despite their numbers. The Kings are scoring 3.43 goals per game and taking 32.3 shots each night out, both numbers being well above average. The offense certainly hasn't been the problem for them. The biggest problem by a mile for LA has been their goaltending, which continues to struggle. They are giving up 3.54 goals per game, well below league average, and it has really hurt the team. To make matters worse, the defense has actually been good, allowing just 29.5 shots on goal. No one is to blame but the goalies here, and they have lost three of their last five.

Toronto is on the opposite spectrum completely. They have been hot as of late after starting off cold, winning four of their last five games. Also in contrast to LA, it's the goaltending that has been the strongest asset to this team. They allow just 2.41 goals per game, one of the lowest numbers in the NHL, and also give up just 29.5 shots on goal. They can really lock things down, which is surprising for this Maple Leafs team. You would think a team that has Austin Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander would have an excellent offense at the behest of the defense. Not the case here. Despite those names, Toronto scores 3.07 goals per game and gets 30.8 shots on net, both numbers being really average.

MY PICK: Tough to do this with how hot the Leafs have been lately, but I think it's worth a shot taking the Kings here. You are getting some great plus-money for a team that I think gets undervalued.

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Our last contest of the night brings us to the heartland, where the Winnipeg Jets will take on the St. Louis Blues. Winnipeg has started off great and bounced back after a lackluster season in 2021, sitting at 16-7-1. Still, I'm not entirely convinced this team is actually good. The goaltending has really saved them quite a bit this year, allowing just 2.54 goals per game. The defense lets up 31.8 shots per game, which is below average. The offense has been decent enough, scoring 3.29 goals per game and taking 31.1 shots of their own each time out. Still, there is something that I don't quite like about this team and feels off considering their record.

The Blues are much more obvious with how they choose to show they are a bad hockey team. They are one of the worst defensive teams in the league, allowing 33.2 shots per game. As a result, the goaltending has been just terrible, allowing an atrocious 3.85 goals per game. Offensively, they just can't keep up on most nights. They get only 29.8 shots on goal each game, and they are only scoring a league average 3.04 goals per contest.

MY PICK: Honestly, I don't care much for the Jets. I'm not super impressed with them, and apparently, neither are the books. Winnipeg is just a -115 favorite over this bad Blues team. That tells me that I have the green light to take St. Louis here.