NHL Opening Night: Best bets to make for Kraken vs. Golden Knights, Penguins vs. Lightning

Happy Tuesday, everybody! Tyler Sullivan here with you again and, I’ll be honest, I have an extra pep in my step these days. Not only did my Red Sox advance to the ALCS last night in walk-off fashion against the Rays, but then I flipped over to Monday Night Football and watched as Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews carried my fantasy team from the depths of despair to victory. Not a bad little Monday, all things considered. 

On top of playoff baseball, college football, and the NFL all being in full swing, we can now add hockey into the mix! The NHL‘s regular season kicks off tonight with the defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning unveiling a banner for the second consecutive season before they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. We also get our first regular-season look at the Kraken as Seattle’s expansion team takes the ice for the first time ever! 

Naturally, we’re going to jump into both of those games as we comb over what to bet on tonight, but let’s first take a look at what’s making headlines across the sports landscape.

Alrighty, let’s dive in

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

🏒 Kraken vs. Golden Knights, 10:15 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Kraken +1.5 (-115) 
— Welcome to the NHL, Seattle! As the Kraken begin their inaugural season, I actually think there is good value here as they debut against the Golden Knights. Philipp Grubauer will be in net and has a solid history against Vegas, owning a 2.10 GAA and .932 save percentage. Last year with Colorado, Grubauer was second in all the NHL with a 1.95 GAA and eighth in save percentage, so Seattle will be strong in net throughout the season. 

Meanwhile, Vegas traded away top goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury this offseason and will now have Robin Lehner as their No.1 heading into the season. The Golden Knights were a bit shaky this preseason, so this seems like a strong opportunity to lean on Seattle, who’ll likely be treating this game as a little bit more than just the first game of the year.  

Key Trend: Vegas is 1-4 SU in its last five games as a favorite.

💰 The Picks

🏒 Penguins vs. Lightning, 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Lightning (-240)
 — A banner will be unveiled tonight in Tampa, so the Lightning should have a little extra juice as they roll into the new season, especially with a packed house expected at Amalie Arena for the first time since the pandemic began. The Penguins will also be without some serious star power as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are not suiting up tonight due to injury, drastically limiting their ceiling for this matchup and for however long they are sidelined, particularly in the case of Crosby. 

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is 0-5 in their last five meetings in Tampa Bay and 0-4 in their last four head-to-heads overall. The home team is also 9-2 over their last 11. 

⚾ Giants vs. Dodgers, 9:07 p.m. | TV: TBS
The Pick: Dodgers (+210) —
 The Dodgers are on the brink of elimination at the hands of the Giants and will need all hands on deck as they try to keep their season alive on Tuesday night. One reason why they may be able to force a winner-take-all Game 5 is their strong history against Anthony DeSclafani, who is slated to start for San Francisco tonight. DeSclafani — who is making his first postseason appearance of his career — did have a strong end to his regular season (2.25 ERA over last six starts) but has struggled against the Dodgers. This season, DeSclafani is 0-3 with a 7.33 ERA in six starts against Los Angeles. 

Those issues are not just a 2021 thing for the righty as he’s 1-8 with a 5.84 ERA lifetime against the Dodgers (12 starts). L.A. will be in full desperation mode and with these splits against the Giants starter, there is good value on the ML.

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