Despite finishing with the best regular season record in all of hockey last season, the Boston Bruins came up well short of their Stanley Cup championship hopes. At the other end of the spectrum, the New Jersey Devils finished with the third fewest wins in the entire NHL.
Now, with both clubs looking to get their 2021 campaigns off to positive starts when they meet on Thursday night, let’s find out which team is offering the best betting value against their NHL odds in this matchup of Eastern Conference foes.
NHL Betting Predictions – Boston at New Jersey
Boston Bruins Vs New Jersey Devils General Info
- When: Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 at 7:00 PM ET
- Where: Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
- TV: NHLN, SN
- NHL Odds: Boston -1.5
- Money Lines: Boston -140 / New Jersey +120
- Total: 5.5
Why Bet On Boston
Boston went 44-14-12 to finish with the most victories in the entire NHL last season. Unfortunately for the Atlantic Division champs, things quickly fell apart once they reached the postseason. The Bruins went a winless 0-3 in the round robin to get the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
After getting past Carolina in five games, the Bruins fell to eventual champion Tampa Bay in five games while losing four straight after taking the series opener. Now, the Bruins are back and looking to for an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals at the very least.
The bad news is that Boston had an underwhelming offseason. The Bruins swung – and missed – on free agent forward Mike Hoffman while veteran defensemen Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara both bolted in free agency. The good news is that the goalie tandem of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak are back in the net.
Boston finished ninth in scoring (3.2 gpg), 10th in shot attempts (32.1), second in power play percentage (25.2) and seventh in faceoff percentage (51.0). Defensively, the Bruins finished first in goals allowed (2.4 gpg), eighth in shots allowed (30.0), third in penalty killing (84.2) and fourth in shutouts (1). Rask and Halak combined to lead the league in save percentage while Rask finished second in Vezina Trophy voting.
Boston winger David Pastrnak tied for the NHL high with 48 goals while adding 47 assists. Veteran winger Brad Marchand added 87 points on 28 goals while center Patrice Bergeron racked up an impressive 31 goals and 56 points. The Bruins went 22-10-3 on the road last season, but will be without Pastrnak for the foreseeable future as he recovers from hip surgery.
“The original prognosis was mid-February, so we feel he’s a little bit ahead of that,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters via Zoom on Tuesday. “We’ve got still a ways to go. Let’s get through January and see where he’s at. I don’t like to speculate on the medical part, I’m just repeating what I hear from our guys.”
Why Bet On New Jersey
New Jersey went 28-29-12 last season to finish last in the Metropolitan Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference. The Devils finished 24th in scoring (2.7 gpg), 22nd in shots attempts (30.7), 21st in power play percentage (17.9) and 29th in faceoff percentage (46.8).
Defensively, New Jersey was even worse in finishing 29th in goals allowed (3.2 gpg), 26th in shot attempts (32.7), seventh in penalty killing (82.4) and 31st in shutouts (8). Right winger Kyle Palmieri recorded a team-high 25 goals and 45 points while left winger Nikita Gusev added 44 points and 13 goals. Only two other players reached double figures in goals scored as wingers Jesper Bratt and Miles Wood chipped in 16 and 11 goals respectively. The Devils went 13-11-10 at home last season.
New Jersey will have a new head coach in Lindy Ruff and parted ways with 2018 league MVP Taylor Hall. The Devils’ biggest offseason addition was that of former longtime Chicago Blackhawks net-minder Corey Crawford, but he opted to retire last week after taking an indefinite leave of absence.
“I have been fortunate to have had a long career playing professional hockey for a living. I wanted to continue my career, but believe I’ve given all I can to the game of hockey, and I have decided that it is time to retire,” Crawford said in a statement issued Saturday. “I would like to thank the New Jersey Devils organization for understanding and supporting my decision.
Expert Analysis and Prediction
New Jersey might be playing at home in this regular season opener, but the Devils are completely overmatched at both ends of the ice. Boston might be without its best layer in Pastrnak, but the Bruins have dominated the Devils in this rivalry and I expect more of the same on Thursday night.
Boston is 26-7 in the last 33 meetings and 4-1 in their last five road dates against New Jersey. Boston has gone 13-5 in its last 18 road games and 10-4 in its last 14 games as a favorite. I like the Bruins to get the hard-fought road win in this one!
Pick: Boston 3 New Jersey 2