Daily Fantasy Sports

NHL DFS Picks 10-30-18


The scheduling for NHL this time of year is awful strange. On Monday, there were 2 games, on Wednesday there is 1 game, and on Friday there are 3 games.

Today, we have an 11 game slate, and Thursday we have a massive 12 gamer and a 2 PM bonus game.

This doesn’t stay this way, folks, it’s just the nature of dodging the other major sports as far as ratings go. Why there is only 1 game on Wednesday is beyond me though.

As I said, we have a deep 11 gamer today, so let’s get to it.

NHL DFS Picks 10-30-18


NOTE: Remember that these are all opening lines and that the goalies are merely the expected goalies. Please check before puck drop to ensure you have the right goalies in your lineups. Also, check for line movement!

Detroit @ Columbus

Jimmy Howard vs Joonas Korpisalo

CBJ -220, 6u

Boston @ Carolina

Jaroslav Halak vs Petr Mrazek

CAR -120, 6u

NY Islanders @ Pittsburgh

Thomas Greiss vs Matt Murray

PIT -240, 6.5u

Calgary @ Buffalo

David Rittich vs Carter Hutton

BUF -115, 6u

Dallas @ Montreal

Ben Bishop vs Carey Price

MTL -140, 5.5u

New Jersey @ Tampa Bay

Keith Kinkaid vs Andrei Vasilevskiy

TB -155, 5,5u

Vegas @ Nashville

Marc-Andre Fleury vs Juuse Saros

NSH -170, 5.5u

Minnesota @ Edmonton

Devin Dubnyk vs Cam Talbot

EDM -135, 5.5u

Philadelphia @ Anaheim

Brian Elliott vs John Gibson

ANA -135, 5.5u

Ottawa @ Arizona

Craig Anderson vs Antti Raanta

ARI -190, 5.5u

NY Rangers @ San Jose

Henrik Lundqvist vs Martin Jones

SJ -265, 6u


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This is the matchup chart. Note that some lines have been shuffled around to the point where the line has little to no sample playing together. Do not ignore these completely, as the changing of lines can bring opportunity.

Lines also change during the day after I get this written and submitted, so double check your stats if you think a line shifted since last game.


In the future, I may leave out teams with samples smaller than some amount of ice time, but for now, I will leave it as a complete table. Just make sure you pay attention to the sample before being wowed by BUF2’s 75 CF% with their whopping 3 minutes together on the ice.


Here are the current power play and penalty kill percentages of the 22 teams on the slate.

Tampa Bay26.395.1
New Jersey25.787.9
NY Islanders23.380
San Jose23.185.4
NY Rangers2073


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This is the new piece of the article going forward, so this will serve as the main explanation of where I get this information from (or derive it from), and it will likely just be listed after this article.

I like to try and teach something new when I can, but this time this is something I am trying to teach myself, but I will share with you as I struggle/thrive through it. Line matching is something that is not definite in any particular matchup. Coaches switch strategies, lines change with injuries, which can then shift the strategy again – so it tends to be contentious in general.

Let’s start with the basics – the home team gets to change their lines on stopped lines last, meaning they get to see what the away team is putting on the ice. You will hear commentators refer to this as last change. This inherently is advantageous for the home team, but finding the tendencies of each team and how they like to match up is a little trickier.

I head over to Natural Stat Trick and start pulling up teams that will be at home on the slate – for this example I will use Nashville. On Nashville’s game page, we can sort by home games, and then by date. Using the latest home game will generally give you better results. We are only a few games in, so most teams have only played 3-5 home games.

Nashville’s most recent home game was against Edmonton. After navigating to the full report for that game, there is a section marked – Predators – Opposition. It has a drop-down in the top left corner with Predators players. Going to Ryan Johansen (first line center), we can see how often he was on the ice against each Oiler that game. Sorting by TOI, we see that Johansen saw more time against Connor McDavid, Kailer Yamamoto, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins than any other forwards. We can now see that NSH1 was hard matched against EDM1. We can feasibly expect to see NSH1 matched against VGK1 tonight.

This process is a bit time consuming, but it gets easier as you go, as you will tend to remember when teams are hard matching against opposing first lines. There are also some trickier situations where teams don’t have a set strategy as far as line matching goes, so I will try to explain what I am seeing the best I can, and we will go from there.

Matching often involves teams’ 3rd lines, so we will need to pull those 3rd line’s key stats to make comparisons. A team like Toronto likes to play the Nazem Kadri line against opposing top lines.


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BUF1 will split time against CGY1 and CGY2.

BUF2 will split time against CGY1 and CGY3.

CAR1 will split time against BOS2 and BOS3.

CAR2 will split time against BOS1 and BOS 2, but primarily match against BOS1.

PIT1 will match against NYI1.

PIT2 will match against NYI2 – Pittsburgh switches a lot, these could end up being flip-flopped.

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CBJ1 and CBJ2 will split time against DET1 and DET2.

When playing against a very strong first line, CBJ1 matches with that line (as they did against COL1).

MON1 will match against DAL1.

MON2 will match DAL2.

Tampa Bay keeps shuffling their lines around due to some stagnant play and injuries, so its hard to say for sure.

In the past, TB 3 matches against the top line, TB1 matches the second line, and they played the triplets against the 3rd line when possible.

I do not know that this will be the case with the Palat injury and the constant shuffling of lines around.

If the lines stay as they are now, I’d wager that TB1 and TB2 split time against NJ1 and NJ2.

NSH1 will match against VGK1 mostly (especially because they are such a strong line, they tend to hard match against tough 1st lines).

NSH2 will match against VGK2 mostly.

EDM1 will match MIN1.

EDM2 will match MIN2.

Not a lot of sample from ARI, especially since Galchenyuk just came back.

Gun to my head, ARI1 and ARI2 will split time against OTT1 and OTT2, but I feel like they will want Galchenyuk against the first line more, especially since OTT2 is fairly weak.

ANA1 will match against PHI2.

ANA2 will match PHI1 – the numbers say otherwise, but Kesler is a shutdown guy, and I feel like they will want him against the top line.

Another small sample, but looks like SJ1 matches against NYR2 most of the time.

SJ2 matches against NYR1.

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In the future, I will put this in a spreadsheet and add notes to explain the sticky situations, but I wanted this to be clear the first time. I may also integrate it right into the key stats chart so it’s all right there for you. I am still testing this line matching theory myself, so please understand I am merely hoping prior games determine future matchups. Coaches change things mid game all the time (as they should). Take this all with a grain of salt.

You can use these matchups and the following key statistics to find the differences and teams we want to target.



Popular Stacks

BUF1 – Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner, and Jason Pominville ($18200 DK total)

This line shows what happens when you find a little chemistry, even if it’s in the form of Jason Pominville. Skinner looks comfortable for the first time in years and is shooting more than ever. While Buffalo doesn’t hard match, they should avoid CGY2 if they are smart, and CGy1 gives up more high-danger chances than anyone on the slate. Calgary is also on a back-to-back and the 3rd game in 4 days. It’s probably a little early in the season to be too tired on these tough stretches, but they could come out exhausted here. It may end up as chalk, but for good reason.

PIT2 – Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, and Carl Hagelin ($18700 DK)

Pittsburgh is typically going to be popular, and this line is clicking right now. Pair that with playing against a floundering Islanders team, and this line has more pieces on the power play than PIT1, and you have something cooking. I don’t hate this play, but I may like PIT1 more.

CBJ1 – Pierre-Luc Dubois, Cam Atkinson, and Artemi Panarin ($20200 DK)

They are expensive, but man are they explosive. They accounted for 5 goals and 4 assists on Saturday, and people are going to remember that. It doesn’t hurt that Detroit is a bit of a dumpster fire. Detroit’s current lines have been better, so that wanes me off of CBJ1 a little bit, but I am sure I will have a little exposure since they made me some money on Saturday.

EDM1 – Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Kailer Yamamoto ($19200 DK)

Can’t leave of McDavid on any size slate, let alone one where he gets a Minnesota team reeling from a tough loss at home to Calgary last night. The Wild are also amidst a back-to-back, 3-of-4 situation. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Alex Stalock in net tonight and give Dubnyk the night off, so all of that adds up to some Connor shares. MIN1 has been kind of rough lately as far as possession goes, as well as taking some stupid penalties. On an 11 game slate, he will either be the lowest owned he ever really gets, or he is mega-chalk. Either way, I don’t know how you can fade him.


PIT1 – Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, and Bryan Rust ($17500 DK)

This line may be more popular than I think, but here is what I know – Crosby is not only on fire, with 5 goals in the last 3 games, but he has been an Islander KILLER all his career. He averages 1.75 points per game in his career against them. While his linemates don’t see any PP1 time, this makes this line a little sneakier. Also pay attention to this line, as I expect Bryan Rust gets swapped out for somebody like Sprong or Simon shortly.

ARI2 – Derek Stepan, Brenden Perlini, and Christian Fischer ($12600 DK)

The only team that looks worse than Arizona might be Ottawa, who is amid some line shuffling due to some poor performance. Ottawa’s possession numbers are embarrassing. Arizona got Galchenyuk going and now both ARI1 and 2 are rolling, and are probably both strong plays. I think I am biased against ARI1 because I hate clicking on Richard Panik. If you are paying up, this line gives you some savings.

SJ2 – Logan Couture, Timo Meier, and Tomas Hertl ($19000 DK)

I’ll be honest with you – on an 11 game slate, I don’t have a great beat on how popular anyone is going to be. I think its possible SJ1 is more popular, but the numbers tell me SJ2 is the play. SJ2 has matched with the opposing first line lately, and though the Rangers have been moving their lines around, their current iteration still has dreadful Corsi numbers (albeit a small sample). Even if the lines get shuffled again, or they end up matched on NYR2, there isn’t a lot to be afraid of here. Sharks are also the biggest favorite on the board and have a 6 goal total. I will have shares of this line for sure.

ANA1 – Ryan Getzlaf, Adam Henrique, and Rickard Rakell ($15200 DK)

This line has not seen a lot of ice time together, but this could be the day they break out. Although somewhat awkward to have Henrique playing wing on this line, it really shows what they think of Jakob Silfverberg not having him on the top 6. The other wrinkle is that if I have my line matching correct, this line will see PHI2, which sports a 36.36 CF% and have allowed 7 high danger chances in just 27 minutes of ice time. This could be a nice compliment to another mid-priced stack, or a higher priced one if you punt your defensemen. As the day goes on, I like this more and more. The whole line is also on PP1. They may end up on my main lineup.


Juuso Riikola ($2500 DK) – This is mostly contingent on Kris Letang‘s status, which is still up in the air. With both Schultz and Letang out, Riikola has been given the reins on the power-play, and it would only take an assist and 1 SOG to hit value. If Letang is out, Riikola should be in your lineups.

Ryan McDonagh ($4000 DK) – Not really a value per se, but in comparison to what he does for this team, it could end up being a great value. While he isn’t generating a ton of points, he does block a lot of shots, and playing against NJ – a team that likes to shoot – is a good spot in the making for a high floor. Bring along an increased role with Hedman on the shelf, and we may have a winner here.

Kevin Labanc ($4500 DK) – Granted he hasn’t lit the world on fire lately, he is still playing on the top line for San Jose and DK refuses to move his price. With how often Kane shoots, and their decent matchup, this would be a solid cash game play for me.

Casey Middelstadt ($3300 DK) – He has moved back onto the second line between Sheary and Reinhart, and offers a big chunk of savings for cash if necessary.


There are lots of potential plays I didn’t really get to talk about, along with reasons I don’t have some listed. Just know that the numbers and the matchups led me to these picks. If you aren’t sure why I didn’t list BOS1 as a play (which I should never really have to, it’s the best line in hockey), go look at their matchup.

I think I am only building two single entry lineups, and then maxing out the Mini-max on DK. If I get the chance this week, I will write a review of my lineups from tonight for a little peek into my action. It also provides a touch of transparency, something I am an advocate of.

Good luck tonight, everyone, and I hope we can all at least learn something if we don’t win all the money. I will definitely be back next Tuesday for what is another big slate.

Until then, stay frosty.

About Kevin Walsh

Kevin Walsh hails from Pittsburgh, PA and has been playing fantasy sports for 15 years and DFS for 5 years. He is a huge football fan and and even bigger hockey fan. Perfect blend of sports fan and math nerd. Try to look past the Steelers/Penguins bias. Follow him on twitter @FuryOTStorm

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  1. Pingback: 11 Game Slate Tonight - NHL DFS Picks 10-30-18 - Bookie Insights

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