Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:51 AM

Best Bets, Score Predictions for Monday Jan. 18

NHL Daily Free Picks & Predictions NHL expert Matt Blunt provides his score predictions and best bets for two NHL games on Monday Jan. 18, 2021.

Winnipeg Jets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Money-Line Odds: Winnipeg +138; Toronto -162
  • Total (Over-Under): 6.5

Score Prediction: Winnipeg 4 Toronto 3

Best Bet: Jets ML

There are always different sides to stand on in regards to the rest/rust idea early on in the season, but Toronto's clawed their way to a 2-1 SU record, while Winnipeg's still only played once.

Guys would always prefer to play themselves into shape with stretches like Toronto's fourth game in six nights like this is, but this early in the year I'm more inclined to fade teams in that role, especially as a chalky favorite like the Leafs are.

Concern about Winnipeg not playing themselves into shape yet is mitigated by the price in assessing the risk here, and it's not like Toronto has shown much either in splitting with Ottawa and needing a late comeback to force OT and beat Montreal.

The Jets can score with Toronto if that's the type of game this turns out to be, and I'm just not convinced any team is physically going to be at their best in their first 4-in-6 spot of the year.

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Nashville Predators

  • Money-Line Odds: Carolina -114; Nashville -103
  • Total (Over-Under): 5.5

Score Prediction: Carolina 4 Nashville 2

Best Bet: Hurricanes ML

Another road team for me on Monday night, as the Hurricanes find themselves in what I view as a nice bounce back spot after a bad loss to a bad Detroit team.

Good teams like Carolina are going to get caught against those basement feeders at times, in these two and three-game sets where complacency can easily set in.

But off one of those losses is where backing those teams makes some sense, and with Nashville sweeping their foe – a Columbus team that's definitely better than Detroit -- the Hurricanes may even be sold a bit short here.

Carolina's won seven of the past eight games between these two organizations as it is, and Carolina's odds to win this division are still +350, with Nashville's at +700.

Had Carolina did what was expected and took two from Detroit in a similar fashion to Nashville's 3-1, and 5-2 wins over Columbus, I think the Hurricanes price is much better than this.

No problem backing them at a number I believe to be a bargain.

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