Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:51 AM
Best Bets, Score Predictions for Saturday, Feb. 13
NHL Daily Free Picks & Predictions
VegasInsider.com NHL expert Matt Blunt provides his score predictions and best bets for two NHL games on Saturday Feb. 13, 2021.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers
- Money-Line Odds: Tampa Bay -141; Florida +123
- Total (Over-Under): 6
Score Prediction: Tampa Bay 4 Florida 2
Best Bet: Lightning ML
Florida has been quite impressive so far this year with their 8-3 SU record overall, and beating up on the Bolts the way they did on Thursday definitely turned some heads.
But Florida's schedule has been about as good as it gets in this division so far, having avoided playing Dallas, Carolina, and Tampa Bay up until that win on Thursday over the Lightning. I'm not ready to give the Panthers all the benefit of their great record just yet, especially when you consider that Thursday's loss was also the third game in four nights for Tampa Bay.
Way easier to excuse a bad performance by a good team in tough scheduling spots like that, and even harder to really suspect there will be that kind of play from the defending champs in consecutive games. Doesn't mean the Lightning can't lose this game, it just means that it's easy to think we get a much better version of the Lightning in this contest, making backing them more a question of price.
And given that Thursday's game spent the bulk of the day with the Panthers in the +140 and above range, even touching above +150 at times, I don't particularly agree with this big of an adjustment being warranted.
Yes, the closing line saw Florida money push the number closer to Saturday's price, but now paying -140ish on the defending champs when the game against this same opponent saw them -155 or higher pretty much the entire day, I can't help but see the price as a bit of a discount here.
Positive sentiment for the Panthers start also possibly puts them in that dangerous public underdog role for this game, as everyone saw them win this matchup rather comfortably on Thursday. Don't think it's that easy again, nor do we even get the same result.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
- Money-Line Odds: Montreal +118; Toronto -137
- Total (Over-Under): 6.5
Score Prediction: Montreal 4 Toronto 3
Best Bet: Canadiens ML
February has not been the kindest month to Montreal. It began well with them beating up on the Canucks by 6-2 and 5-3 scores, but they've lost three of four since then, only beating the Senators once in two tries, and needing a nail-biting 2-1 victory to do it.
Compared to Toronto's recent run of running the table in their last four outings and winning eight of 10 overall, these teams appear to be two trains passing in the night in terms of current form. Being the 3rd game in four nights – a spot that burnt Tampa on Thursday – doesn't exactly help the Canadiens either.
However, being in the funk they are in, and having that dead energy game last time out in the 3-0 loss to the Oilers last time out, I'm not as worried about the three-in-four spot. Doesn't hurt that Montreal's priced as an underdog rather than a chalky -150ish favorite like Tampa was on Thursday.
Looking at it from the Leafs side, the idea of confidence turning into overconfidence I think has to at least cross the mind here. They just had a strong all-around game in beating this same Montreal team last time out (4-2), and see their schedule showing three straight home games against Ottawa on deck and they know the wins will come there just by showing up.
Getting lazy and “just showing up” won't work against this Montreal team that needs to start rattling off wins again here soon. The Habs are 0-2 SU against Toronto this season as well, and that undefeated number for the Leafs isn't likely to last long with how often they'll play this season.
Montreal's got to go through Toronto at some point this year to get where they want to go, and with seemingly so much against them (recent form for both teams, head-to-head record vs Toronto tonight) that makes them a tough back for most of the market, I'll take a shot that Montreal's 4-1 SU run as road underdogs continues.