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Morning Coffee: A FanDuel Best Bet for Thursday’s NHL slate


We are exactly one week away from the final night of the 2023-24 NHL regular season.

There is a lot to be determined between now and then. Four playoff spots remain up for grabs entering the final stretch.

There isn’t a single first-round playoff matchup that is officially set.

Meanwhile, it looks like the best Art Ross Trophy race in recent memory will go down to the wire, with Nathan MacKinnon chasing Nikita Kucherov for the title.

If you read Wednesday’s column, then you know that I still believe there is value backing Kucherov to win the Hart Trophy at longer than 4-to-1 odds at FanDuel.

With the Colorado Avalanche off until Saturday, Kucherov will get the opportunity to extend his lead over MacKinnon in the NHL scoring race when the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Ottawa Senators tonight on TSN.

While Tampa Bay has already locked up a playoff spot, there are still five teams fighting for the final two playoff positions in the Eastern Conference with one week to go.

All five of those teams are in action tonight. I’ve circled a couple of their matchups with a pair of FanDuel Best Bets for tonight’s NHL slate.

Plus, I believe there is still an opportunity to jump on one favourable NBA spread that is already on the move at FanDuel.

This is the Morning Coffee for Thursday, April 11, 2024.

A FanDuel Best Bet for Thursday’s NHL slate

Three weeks ago, the Philadelphia Flyers were considered a heavy favourite to make the playoffs at FanDuel.

At the time, Philadelphia was -460 to make the playoffs. That number translates to an 82.1 per cent implied probability.

Fast-forward three weeks later, the Flyers are up to +1400 to reach the postseason at FanDuel.

Philadelphia has lost eight in a row and is now two points back of the Washington Capitals for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with three games to go.

While they were always going to be in tough in losses to the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers, it’s hard to explain their past two regulation losses to the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Montreal Canadiens.

The Flyers were outscored a combined 15-5 in those two losses. The Habs scored all nine of their goals at 5-on-5, including a five-goal outburst over an eight-minute span beginning near the midway mark of the second period.

While Philly is technically still alive in the playoff race, their schedule won’t get any easier tonight as they visit the Rangers one more time.

The Flyers are 0-2-1 against their division rival this season, including a 6-5 loss in overtime on March 26.

The Rangers are currently -240 to clinch the Presidents’ Trophy at FanDuel.

Coming off a 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday night, they should be motivated to get back in the win column against an inferior opponent that has really struggled of late.

I’m going to take the Rangers -1.5 at +114 at FanDuel.

Meanwhile, the Flyers aren’t the only team that has failed to capitalize on several opportunities to climb into a playoff position in recent weeks.

The Red Wings are coming off a 2-1 loss to the Capitals as a -166 moneyline favourite on Tuesday night.

Detroit, which is currently just one point back of Washington for the final wild-card spot, is 2-4-2 in its previous eight games dating back to March 23.

Tonight, the Red Wings will visit a Pittsburgh side that has been trending in the opposite direction in recent weeks.

The Penguins had won four in a row before securing a single point in a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night.

Pittsburgh is also one point back of the Capitals for the final wild-card spot with four games remaining.

With a tough schedule the rest of the way that features the Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators before wrapping the season on the road against the New York Islanders, the Penguins need to capitalize against Detroit on home ice tonight.

I’ll take Pittsburgh on the moneyline at -150.

Finally, there’s an interesting scenario that caught my eye in the NBA this morning.

The Boston Celtics have already locked up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and they have been resting their starters at various points in recent games.

Tonight, they’ll host the New York Knicks in a game that will mean something in terms of seeding for their opponent.

The line for tonight’s game has already shifted from Celtics -1 to Knicks -2.5 at FanDuel. Considering the circumstances, I’m comfortable backing New York on the moneyline at -130 as a FanDuel Best Bet.

Hopefully, the Celtics will give their best players plenty of rest, and the Knicks will capitalize as they attempt to improve their position in the Eastern Conference standings.