NHL Betting: Goals galore in the Winter Classic

Detroit - Toronto

Despite the NHL expanding to a total of six outdoor games this season, today's Winter Classic remains a major showpiece event on it's season calendar. 

Over 100,000 fans are expected at Michigan Stadium to watch the Detroit Red Wings battle the Toronto Maple Leafs - and also the elements - which would smash the league's record attendance. 

For all the fanfare there's still only two points available to the victor, with the clubs tied on 45 points in the Atlantic Division. When they met in Toronto, a 5-4 shootout thriller left little doubt that pitting two Original Six teams against each other is never a bad idea for the neutrals. 

There's no evidence that home support is a defining factor, with the road side winning on four of the five occasions in the open air. It's such a different experience for the players that it'll undoubtedly feel just as alien to the Red Wings players anyway.

The goalie selection of both coaches has been a well scrutinised, though Jonathan Bernier has definitely earned his seat with strong efforts over the last week. In the Detroit camp I have little doubt that Mike Babcock would have gone with Jonas Gustavsson but he's unavailable and so Jimmy Howard has to improve from his showing in Nashville on Monday. 

The Red Wings have allowed three or more goals in all but one of their last eight and a 2.78 GAA is actually a testament to Toronto's goalies given the chances they face. Conditions should also contribute to a high scoring contest. 

Factoring in previous results in both this fixture and the Winter Classic itself, odds of a tie at 3.85 seems pretty good. At a push I'd say the Maple Leafs are the better priced to come out on top given their extra momentum and intensity out at 2.90.

Vancouver - Tampa Bay

Nine hours later the puck will drop in Vancouver and it's up to the Canucks and Tampa Bay Lightning to provide an entertaining after-party out on the West coast. 

A loss to end 2013 snapped a five game home streak for the Sedin twins and their teammates, but one regulation loss throughout the entirety of December suggests they won't dwell on it. 

Home success have sustained the Bolts challenge to the East's leaders, although more recently they've proved an adept road outfit taking their last three away assignments. 

A closer look at those they've faced over that run would suggest this is a step up in opposition for Tampa Bay. Take Vancouver to bounce back at 2.00.

Best Bet

Over 5.5 total goals in the Winter Classic at 2.20

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