NHL Thursday best bets: Flames to heat up

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We had a quiet night Wednesday, filing just one official play. The Bruins outshot the Flyers by 15 and recorded 12 more high-danger chances, but unfortunately for us, the Bruins still came out on the wrong side of a 6-3 scoreline.

It's a new day and tonight's massive slate offers plenty of opportunities to get back on track. Let's dive into our best bets.

Sharks (-115) @ Senators (-105)

The Sharks are off to a nice start, scoring nine goals in two early wins and controlling better than 57% of the expected goals at five-on-five. San Jose is playing legitimately well.

Though the Senators are also out to a respectable 2-1 start, their underlying profile isn't nearly as strong. They own an expected goals share below 50%, which is hardly surprising considering the lack of depth on the Ottawa roster.

While neither side is likely to challenge for a playoff spot, the Sharks are destined to be the better of the two with youngsters like William Eklund and Jonathan Dahlen supporting a veteran core.

I expect that to shine through in this game, especially with Matt Murray between the pipes for the first time this season. Only Brian Elliott (-19.3), Martin Jones (-18.9), and Carter Hart (-18.3) conceded more goals above expectation than Murray a year ago.

He is unlikely to bail out the Senators if they're outplayed tonight.

Bet: Sharks -115

Flames (-135) @ Red Wings (+115)

The Flames remain winless on the year, but don't let that fool you - they've largely played well.

Though Calgary dominated the Oilers on the shot clock in the season opener, Connor McDavid did Connor McDavid things and turned every Edmonton opportunity into a goal. Fair enough.

The Flames responded by thoroughly outclassing the Ducks, winning the expected goals battle 3.88 to 1.87, but Calgary couldn't convert on its opportunities against a locked-in John Gibson and eventually paid the price by losing in overtime.

While many are jumping off the Flames bandwagon, I think their results thus far have provided an opportunity to buy low.

Calgary has out-chanced opponents 58-23 (71.60 SCF%) at five-on-five through two games. The Flames are showing the ability to control the run of play and, with Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Elias Lindholm leading the charge, it's not as if they're devoid of talent to finish plays off.

Still, they're getting little respect on the betting market. The odds imply a 57% chance of Calgary beating a rebuilding Red Wings team that won just 36 games from 2019-21 - let's take advantage of that.

Bet: Flames -135

Rapid fire: Colorado Avalanche (-105)

With Nathan MacKinnon healthy and Gabriel Landeskog back from suspension, I think this line is a little short. The Panthers are a good team, but the Avalanche entered the season as Stanley Cup favorites and they're going up against Sergei Bobrovsky, one of the league's worst netminders over the last couple of seasons. Priced at a near coin flip, there is value backing the Avalanche to snap their mini losing streak.

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.

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NHL Thursday best bets: Flames to heat up
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