Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:51 AM

Best Bets, Score Predictions for Thursday Jan. 14

NHL Daily Free Picks & Predictions NHL expert Matt Blunt provides his score predictions and best bets for two NHL games on Thursday Jan. 14, 2021.

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Nashville Predators

  • Money-Line Odds: Columbus +104; Nashville -120
  • Total (Over-Under): 5.5

Score Prediction: Nashville 4 Columbus 2

Best Bet: Predators ML

It appears I'm not starting nearly as high on Columbus or possibly as low on Nashville as the market suggests for this game, as the Predators are a team I do believe can be more of a player in the Central Division than their +800 price tag suggests.

The Blue Jackets are right behind them at +900, but I would have had Nashville be listed as a slightly bigger favorite than this.

The Predators have won six of the past eight meetings between the two clubs for what that's worth, but I view this as a short price on Nashville regardless. That info definitely doesn't hurt that position.

San Jose Sharks vs. Arizona Coyotes

  • Money-Line Odds: San Jose +108; Arizona -125
  • Total (Over-Under): 5.5

Score Prediction: San Jose 3 Arizona 2

Best Bet: Sharks ML

Maybe it's starting to show up as a theme, but San Jose is another team I'm not in a hurry to completely give up on this season, as I'm not sure they will be as bad as expected in the West.

It will be an uphill climb to compete for a playoff spot for the Sharks for sure, but they've been where Arizona is trying to build up too, and understand what type of team will be coming for them.

Also, an older team like the Sharks would do itself a great help by starting out hot and piling together wins while they are fresh and haven't been bogged down by some brutal travel or back-to-back spots.

Arizona is another one of those teams that I still prefer to treat as a “prove it to me first” team, similar to my thoughts on Montreal yesterday. These are the games the Coyotes are supposed to win if they want to make that next leap, but sight unseen, the prove it first idea is worthy of a fade.

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