NHL Picks 2021: Reigning Champion Lightning Seek Trademark Win vs. Maple Leafs

NHL Picks 2021: Reigning Champion Lightning Seek Trademark Win vs. Maple Leafs

Check out our best NHL bets for Thursday’s action on the ice, including the showdown between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs.

 

With a loaded NHL slate scheduled for Thursday, December 9, we've decided it's important to take stock of all the latest betting odds on NHL hockey. And when you see the matchups that await us, you'll understand why.

While we've got 2021 NHL picks for a handful of key games on Thursday, the reigning-champion Tampa Bay Lightning have caught our eye as they seek a trademark win vs. the surging Toronto Maple Leafs. But first, let's take a look at all the currently available NHL betting odds, which are brought to us by BetOnline:

FavoriteBetOnlineBetOnlineUnderdog
Toronto Maple Leafs-136+123Tampa Bay Lightning
Chicago Blackhawks-121+110Montreal Canadiens
Anaheim Ducks-109-101Columbus Blue Jackets
Nashville Predators-105-105New York Islanders
St. Louis Blues-167+151Detroit Red Wings
Calgary Flames-125+113Carolina Hurricanes
Winnipeg Jets-110+100Seattle Kraken
Minnesota Wild-139+126San Jose Sharks

Please remember to confirm these NHL betting lines before deciding on any of your NHL picks. All NHL odds are subject to change right up until the game begins. In the meantime, we suggest browsing our reviews of the top online sportsbooks so you can suss out the right NHL betting sites for all your hockey wagers.

Can Tampa Bay Lightning Complete the Three-Peat?

After Tampa Bay won two straight titles, in 2020 and 2021, many decided not to buy into their betting odds for the 2022 Stanley Cup. It's not exactly hard to blame them, either.

Scant few teams throughout NHL history have successfully completed a three-peat. It takes a lot out of you, and organizations need to enjoy a protracted run of good health. This year's Lightning, while not exactly barren of talent, are dealing with a slightly older and banged-up roster. And through the first part of the 2021-22 NHL season, it really showed.

More recently, though, Tampa Bay has returned to Stanley Cup form. In fact, they enter Thursday's date with the Maple Leafs on a four-game winning streak that has vaulted them up the standings.

Will they use this opportunity to send a Stanley Cup-sized message? That's the question we're here to answer, and we'll have our best NHL bets for the other top games to boot.

Lightning Snag Huge Victory Over Maple Leafs

Defense is fueling the Lightning's climb up the NHL standings. Tampa Bay is seventh in goals allowed per game and sixth in penalty killing percentage. In recent weeks, they've also nudged their shooting percentage up to 11.1—one of the league's top-five marks.

This is all to say, the Lightning are once again among the NHL's most lethal two-way teams. Toronto isn't scoring nearly enough for us to trust them in this one.

OSB Prediction: Tampa Bay Lightning (+123)

Tampa Bay Lightning To beat the Toronto Maple Leafs
+123
BetOnline

Predators Deliver Reality Check to Islanders

It's been a rocky road lately for the Predators, who are just 5-5 over their last 10 games. But that's no reason for them to be laying pick 'em odds against the Islanders.

New York's offense doesn't have the juice to pull this one out. They're 28th in shooting percentage and 31st in goals scored on the year. Compare this to the Predators, who rank closer to the top half of the league in both categories and boast a similarly effective defense, and the smart bet becomes clear.

OSB Prediction: Nashville Predators (-105)

Nashville Predators To beat the New York Islanders
-105
BetOnline

Winnipeg Easily Dispatches Seattle

Make no mistake, the Jets are far from a sure thing. They've had their offensive struggles, and the Kraken have been good for the occasional detonation.

Still, Winnipeg by far has the deeper defensive line and is getting much better goalie play. Seattle, in fact, is allowing opponents to shoot 12.7 percent from the ice—the highest mark in the league.

OSB Prediction: Winnipeg Jets (-110)

Winnipeg Jets To beat the Seattle Kraken
-110
BetOnline

Wild Keep Winning Streak Alive vs. San Jose

Betting on the Wild to make it eight straight wins is not without risk. Though the Sharks have cooled off after their mesmerizing start, they're still experts in killing penalties and forcing turnovers.

Nevertheless, we'd be remiss not to roll with Minnesota. Only two NHL teams, Colorado and Florida are averaging more goals per game. And this recent winning streak has seen the Wild kick their defense into another gear, as well.

OSB Prediction: Minnesota Wild (-139)

Minnesota Wild To beat the San Jose Sharks
-139
BetOnline

Anaheim Skates Past Columbus

Few teams are currently as opportunistic as the Ducks. What they lack in star power, they make up for in timeliness.

Case in point: Anaheim is scoring on nearly 27 percent of all their power plays, one of the NHL's top-five marks. On top of that, they're also a top-five team when it comes to killing off their own penalties. 

Facing a sub-mediocre team like the Blue Jackets is a gift. Anaheim should win this one.

OSB Prediction: Anaheim Ducks (-109)

Anaheim Ducks To beat the Columbus Blue Jackets
-109
BetOnline

Check out this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all your NHL betting: