Thursday night was kind to us as the Pens shutout the Blue Jackets as a small favourite. All but one of our opinions cashed as well so hopefully you agreed with some of them.
On to a busy Saturday with 12 games on the board. We’ve identified our favourite play and provide our opinions on 4 other games below.
Odds below are at the time we made the pick. Be sure to check out our live odds page for updated odds on today’s games.
As we noted Tuesday when suggesting a bet on the Wild +0.5 in regulation against the Predators, Nashville continues to get priced as an elite team. But even though the Preds sit a point out of top spot in the Central Division with a month to go in the regular season, their performance over the past three months doesn’t warrant laying a hefty price tag.
After a 2-1 shootout win over the Devils on December 15, Nashville was 22-10-2. Today, the Preds are 39-25-5. Do the math, and that’s a 17-15-3 record over their last 35 games. If that’s not bad enough for a supposed Western Conference powerhouse, five of those 17 wins have come in overtime or a shootout, including each of their last three. That means that if you took half a puck against the Preds in regulation every game during that stretch, you’d be 23-12.
Now for the other end of the equation here, the Carolina Hurricanes. Going into last night’s action, the Canes had earned points in six straight games (5-0-1) and 14 of 17 (13-3-1). And while they came back to earth with a resounding thud last night at home to the Jets, there’s a couple of silver linings in that 8-1 blowout defeat. First, it sets up a bounceback spot in which the Hurricanes players should bring full focus to atone for last night’s debacle. And second, it limits the disadvantage of playing the second night of a back-to-back, since the ice time was spread around a bit more once the score was out of hand. Only three Hurricanes were on the ice for more than 20 minutes last night, and all but Michael Ferland saw at least 13 minutes of action.
Carolina’s matched up well against the Predators in recent meetings, going 6-0-1 in the last seven clashes and winning three straight trips to Nashville. We’re happy to ask them to at least get things into overtime tonight, but wouldn’t try to talk to you out of a +141 moneyline play on Carolina outright as well.
- Leafs/Oilers Under 6.5 +110: Plus money on the Under 6.5 looks good here, considering the way the Leafs and Oilers are both playing in their own ends of late. The only time Toronto’s allowed more than 3 goals in its last 10 games was when they visited an amped-up Islanders team in John Tavares’ return to New York, and the Buds have held 4 of their last 5 opponents to 2 regulation time goals or less. Meanwhile, the Oilers have allowed more than 3 goals just once in their last nine. If you’re worried about the Leafs’ offense breaking out (always possible), you could also take that out of the equation by betting the Oilers Team Total Under 3.5 at -131 odds.
- Rangers/Devils Under 6 -105: Neither of these teams are scoring goals right now, with the Rags being held to 2 goals or less in 4 straight (part of a 6-game losing streak) while the Devils have eclipsed 2 goals just once in their last 7. The defenses are also in fine form, with Jersey allowing 4 non-empty net goals in regulation over its last 3 and the Rangers giving up just 5 goals in their last 3.
- Blue Jackets Team Total Under 3.5 +101 or Penguins +0.5 (regulation time) -115: We’ve successfully suggested fading the Blue Jackets twice already this week, so why stop now after a 3-0 loss Thursday in Pittsburgh? Columbus has now scored just 18 regulation time goals in its last 10 games, and playing at home can actually be a bad thing right now with so much pressure on them after going for it at the deadline. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s allowed 8 regulation time goals in its last 5 and is on a 6-2-1 run in its last 9 games overall.
- Blackhawks/Stars Under 7 -125: Chicago’s incredible Over streak continued last time out against the Sabres (easily topping their Team Total Over 3.5 in a 5-4 shootout win), but that’s the only reason we should see a 7 in a game involving the Dallas Stars. Big D has given up 1 goal in its last 3 games combined and allowed 3 or less in 7 of 8, while the Stars’ offense continues to sputter along (3 or less in 8 of its last 10 games, excluding empty netters). We wouldn’t bet Hawks Unders right now with your money, let alone ours, but we won’t be on the Over here either.
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