NHL DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Thursday (1/20)
After a quiet three-game slate on Wednesday, the National Hockey League is tripling the number of games available for fans to bet and watch, with nine matchups lining Thursday’s slate. My recommendations from Tuesday’s slate fared pretty well, while there were a few misses with Roman Josi (D – NSH), Erik Haula (C – BOS), Brock Nelson (C – NYI), and Cal Petersen (G – LAK). Joe Pavelski (RW – DAL) and Kyle Connor (LW – WPG) each scored a goal and an assist, while Thomas Chabot (D – OTT) contributed an assist during Ottawa’s only goal. Semyon Varlamov (G – NYI) allowed three goals but came through in a shootout to win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
Out of the nine games on Thursday, only two matchups have the favorite’s moneyline odds exceed -200, as Pittsburgh hosts Ottawa and Vegas hosts Montreal. Assessing the over/under goal total and its associated odds allows DFS managers to understand which games may wind up with a higher scoring output. Florida versus Edmonton has its over/under set at seven goals, making it the only one on the slate with the goal total set this high. Other matchups like Colorado against Los Angeles, Columbus against Philadelphia, and Ottawa at Pittsburgh predict scoring at least six goals is the most likely outcome.
With this information in mind, let’s assess some of Thursday’s best players to target when constructing your DFS lineups.
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000
Chandler Stephenson (C – VGK): $4,700
Vegas is amid a three-game losing skid, but they will get the bounce-back matchup needed against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. Second-line center Chandler Stephenson has consistently contributed to the Golden Knights this season, racking up 26 assists and burying 11 goals. Stephenson has two assists and a goal across his previous four games and earns additional minutes on Vegas’ second powerplay unit. In addition, 25-year old Montreal netminder Samuel Montembeault has struggled to defend the crease all season, entering Thursday’s road contest with a 3.72 GAA in eight starts. He has allowed at least three goals in the previous six games he’s played longer than 20 minutes, making Stephenson an incredible value play in DFS lineups.
Cam Atkinson (RW – PHI): $5,200
The revenge game narrative is alive and well, with Cam Atkinson hosting his former team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, on Thursday night. Atkinson leads the Flyers in goals (15) and earns additional minutes on their top powerplay unit, increasing the number of plus-man advantage opportunities he receives. Atkinson attempted six shots on goal in his last outing against the New York Islanders, netting his 14th assist of the season. He will face Blue Jackets’ reserve netminder Joonas Korpisalo (G – CBJ), who has allowed at least three goals in three consecutive starts. Atkinson is familiar with Korpisalo due to their time in Columbus, so expect him to return value via goal or assist at home on Thursday night.
Alex Pietrangelo (D – VGK): $6,900
Vegas Golden Knights’ first-line defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has been stepping up his usage within their attack in recent games. The 32-year old racked up two assists without attempting a single shot on goal during his last game against Pittsburgh while scoring his sixth goal of the season against Toronto back on January 11th. Pietrangelo fluctuates with the number of shots he attempts in the offensive zone, so expect a massive amount against Montreal Canadiens’ goaltender Samuel Montembault. Pietrangelo is sixth in total points for Vegas thanks to 20 assists netted this season, so pay up and plug him into lineups with confidence in a plus-matchup.
Adin Hill (G – SJ): $7,600
Perhaps one of the league’s least discussed goaltenders is 25-year old San Jose Sharks netminder Adin Hill. Hill has surrendered only two goals in each of his previous five starts and is well-rested ahead of Thursday’s road contest against the Seattle Kraken. While Seattle did manage to end their losing skid, they have only scored three goals twice in their previous five games. Their anemic offense plays right into Hill’s upside in DFS lineups. He is a great goaltender with extreme value, so don’t hesitate to plug him into Thursday lineups.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
FanDuel maximum salary is set at $55,000
Roope Hintz (C – DAL): $7,300
Roope Hintz is developing into a great offensive weapon for the Dallas Stars. Now in his fourth year in the league, all with Dallas, the 25-year old centers their first-line attack and top powerplay unit, racking up goals and assists evenly. Hintz has the third-highest point total (28) for the Stars and scored the second-most goals (15), including three accrued between January 8th and January 14th. He has endured a two-game goal drought but did rack up an assist after attempting nine shots on goal against Montreal on Tuesday. Hintz has all the talent and opportunity to return value, even at a $7,300 salary. Buffalo is deploying goaltender Aaron Dell (G – BUF) on Thursday, who has been inconsistent and has more bad performances than good ones. Hintz finds himself in a plus-matchup, so pay up to insert him into lineups for either an assist or a goal.
Bryan Rust (RW – PIT): $6,500
Pittsburgh has quite a few appealing players to entertain in DFS lineups. I opted to avoid paying over $9,000 for Jake Guentzel (LW – PIT) and instead pivoted to fellow first-line winger Bryan Rust. The 29-year old returned from Covid-19 protocols on Monday but only attempted one shot on goal and ended up without a point in his first game back against Vegas. Ottawa is a much easier matchup, so Rust should be able to replicate his production from earlier in the month, where he scored seven goals and four assists across three games. Yes, an absolutely ridiculous stat line. Rust has shown he’s capable of generating a massive ceiling but also comes with the risk of failing to return any value by laying an egg. Ottawa Senators’ goaltender Anton Forsberg (G – OTT) has had some good games but allowed Buffalo to score two goals that wound up costing Ottawa the win on Tuesday. He has a 3.07 GAA and is vulnerable, meaning Rust should have every opportunity to shake off the bad performance from Tuesday with a monster game at home against the Senators. He’s under $7,000, which only serves to increase his value in lineups.
Kris Letang (D – PIT): $7,200
Veteran Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang is arguably the most consistent player in his position when it comes to producing points. The 34-year old currently has an eight-game point streak intact, which includes scoring two goals, significant since he only has scored three goals the entire season. In addition, Letang has a whopping 30 assists, ten more than Sidney Crosby (C – PIT), who is in second place for assists on the Penguins. Keep in mind, Letang has been producing at this frantic rate against much better goaltenders than Ottawa’s Anton Forsberg. Don’t overthink this one. Letang is worth every cent of his salary due to his insane production level within the Penguins’ offense. Plug him into your lineups with the utmost confidence.
Sergei Bobrovsky (G – FLA): $8,200
Florida is one of the league’s hottest teams right now, and a large part of it can be attributed to the play of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky has been playing excellent in the crease in his last seven starts, allowing only three or more goals in two of these instances. As a result, his record during this stretch is an impressive 6-1. Goaltender wins are a massive aspect of DFS lineups cashing or busting due to the 12 points awarded to any goaltender on a winning team. The Panthers will travel to Edmonton to face the Oilers on Thursday night. Edmonton is a team that possesses talent but cannot manufacture wins, as seen with their current six-game losing skid. However, Bobrovsky is surrounded by too much talent to lose confidence in his play, so go ahead and add him as the anchor into your Thursday lineups.