NHL weekly betting preview: Avalanche visit Toronto, Montreal

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The first two months of the NHL season have absolutely flown by and December is upon us. That means it's time to ditch those pumpkin-spice lattes for candy-cane hot chocolates, stay inside unless it's absolutely necessary to leave the house, watch a ton of hockey, and hopefully win enough money to cover our holiday expenses.

There's no time like the present to start, so here's your guide to betting the week ahead in the NHL.

Game betting

New York Islanders at Montreal Canadiens (Tuesday)

Mired in an eight-game losing streak, the Canadiens put in one of their best defensive efforts over the last two weeks in a losing effort against Boston on Sunday. They're low on confidence, but there was a lot to build on as they get set to host an Islanders team that has really cooled off over the last 10 days. It's also the second leg of a back-to-back for the Isles, who play Monday. Look at the under here, as well as the Habs snapping their skid.

Washington Capitals at San Jose Sharks (Tuesday)

The Capitals have been playing great hockey since the start of the season and the Sharks have excelled over the last month. San Jose's on an 11-2 run and playing with urgency, so it seems like the side to back here, but the total appears to be a more appealing play. Both these teams can score in bunches and this could turn into a blow-for-blow affair. The over looks like a strong bet.

Colorado Avalanche at Toronto Maple Leafs (Wednesday)

This is something of a revenge spot for the Avalanche after the Maple Leafs came to Colorado and won just under two weeks ago. The Avs are getting healthy - they welcomed Mikko Rantanen back Saturday - and are hoping to make up for lost time. Meanwhile, the Leafs' issues weren't all magically solved by firing Mike Babcock. Defensively, they can still be picked on, and this game happens to be the second leg of a back-to-back with travel for Toronto. Take Colorado at plus-money.

St. Louis Blues at Pittsburgh Penguins (Wednesday)

The Blues really make this whole hockey thing look easy, don't they? The Penguins have one of the best home records in the NHL, so a trip to Pittsburgh poses a real test. The Blues on the road against strong competition has typically been a good spot to back the under. After these teams combined for seven goals in St. Louis on Saturday, expect a much tighter contest. I'd play the under as low as 5.5, though hopefully, we get it at six.

Vegas Golden Knights at New York Islanders (Thursday)

While the Islanders' point streak ended last week, they've won 10 of their last 11 home games, picking up at least a point in each of them. A visit from the Golden Knights will mark the third game in four nights for both teams. Back the Isles to maintain their dominant home form.

Winnipeg Jets at Dallas Stars (Thursday)

This will be the week's second meeting between these teams, which also face off in Winnipeg on Tuesday. Regardless of what happens in that first game, the Stars should take the home leg. They've won three in a row over the Jets in Dallas and 10 of their last 12 overall at American Airlines Center.

Game props

Los Angeles Kings at Anaheim Ducks (Monday)

The Ducks are riding back-to-back shutouts on home ice, while the Kings have scored two goals or fewer in each of their last eight road games. The last time they managed three away from home was in a 3-2 win in Winnipeg on Oct. 22. They've also been held to two or fewer goals in three of their last four games in Anaheim and six of their last eight overall against the Ducks. Play Los Angeles' team total under 2.5.

Dallas Stars at Winnipeg Jets (Tuesday)

Goals over the opening 20 minutes have been rare at Bell MTS Place this season. In seven of the Jets' last nine home games, there's been a maximum of one goal in the first period, while six of the Stars' last seven away games have gone under the total in the first period. Take under 1.5 in the opening frame; that also would have hit the last four times these teams met in Manitoba.

Player props

Winnipeg Jets at Dallas Stars (Thursday)

I'm all about these Jets versus Stars games, apparently. Dallas has been playing some terrific defensive hockey since the start of November, but Patrik Laine has 17 goals in 15 career games against the Stars, including one in Winnipeg's 5-3 loss in Dallas a couple of weeks ago. Those numbers are too good to ignore. It's worth betting on Laine to find the back of the net again Thursday.

Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.

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