Ice Hockey

Betting tips: Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders 12/20

The Caps and the Isles are fighting for the same positions, adding drama to this Wednesday rivalry match. The visitors are missing some key defensemen and also play their second game within 24 hours.

Caps in surprisingly strong position

The Washington Capitals are heading to the holiday break from a far better position than I expected. While this roster has already seen its best days, the Caps have still managed a point percentage of .607. The pace is almost identical to that of the Islanders.

There are some red flags waving underneath the positive results in the nation’s capital. The current point percentage is almost unfathomable, considering the Caps have only scored goals with an average of 2.39. Behind them are only Chicago and San Jose, who lost their playoff hopes ages ago.

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Even in terms of expected goals, Washington has been on the receiving end rather than the dominant side. Their xG in all situations is just below the critical fifties mark (49.6%) and the 5v5 stat is even weaker at 47.38%. Goalies have really delivered, especially when Charlie Lindgren has gotten the start. Lindgren has a convincing .925 SV% and has already saved over eight goals above expected.

Islanders keep on grinding results

The New York Islanders are also doing well in the playoff battle in the East. There hasn’t been anything spectacular or entertaining about the team for years, but it’s all about results. That is what this team delivers year after year, even if they aren’t among the Cup favorites. The group seems to be performing at the upper limits of its potential again this season.

Once again last night, they found a way to win against Edmonton. That was despite the Oilers creating an edge of 1.5 goals in expected goals. These types of larcenies are commonplace for the Islanders, with Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov usually playing the main hero’s role. Sorokin played yesterday, so Varlamov will probably start tonight. This has no significant impact on the probability distribution, as Varlamov’s game would be enough for the starter’s role on most NHL teams.

Instead, defensive injuries are taking a toll on the Islanders’ chances. The trio of Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock and Scott Mayfield will probably remain absent tonight. So far, missing key defensemen has done nothing to slow the Islanders down. Eventually, this team will begin to struggle without the solid play of Pelech and Pulock.

Value in Washington

Washington’s rest advantage and Islanders’ injuries bring several extra percentage points to the home side. Missing defenders from the guests will ease the Caps on the team’s biggest weakness, which is scoring. However, goals won’t come easy against such a solid goaltender.

Anything above +120 will do just fine for Washington in regulation. Unibet has +133 which is a tad high and good for three units.

Tip: Washington Capitals in regulation @ +133
Units: 3/10

The match will start on 12/20/2023 at 7:00 PM EST.
The odds are from the time of publication of the article and are subject to change.

Esa Kostet
X: @konekostet

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Register and Bet $25 on any match (min odds +100). Win or lose, you’ll get $100 in bonus bets!

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