This Saturday will definitely be a very interesting day for anybody who will be participating in a weekend pick’em pool. Out of the 12 games available for Saturday, 7 of them will actually feature teams that are priced between -135 and +125—odds which suggest that these games could practically go either way. Interestingly enough though, certain statistical trends may have a number of these matchups not being quite as close as the betting odds may imply, and in this edition of Computer Picks, the system has its sights firmly set on a few of these lines.
Let’s take a look:
Over/Under of the Day: Los Angeles Kings vs. Detroit Red Wings Under 5.5
Key Factors: The Kings have a very sporadic road offense. In almost every road game this season, they have either scored 5 or more goals in a game or 2 or less goals in a game, and very seldom have they scored 3 or 4 (only 5 times in 25 road games have they scored exactly 3 or 4 goals). For the most part, many of these offensive outbursts have also come against division rivals, and every non-divisional opponent that they have been able to score at least 3 goals against on the road this season has been a home team that concedes roughly 3 goals per game (Carolina, Florida, Edmonton, and Minnesota). Furthermore, in an earlier meeting in Detroit this season, the Red Wings held the Kings to just 2 goals in a 5-2 victory, and they have also beaten the Kings 2-1 this season in L.A. One thing that the Kings have done well on the road this season though, and with a lot of consistency lately as well, has been shutting down the opposition’s offense. The Kings seem to play a tighter checking game on the road, and in 5 of their last 7 road games, they have held their opponents to exactly 2 goals. Detroit, meanwhile, has picked up their scoring as of late, but they will also be returning home here after a long stretch of back-and-forth travel (they haven’t played consecutive home games since December 26th). In 3 of the last 5 opening games of multi-game home stands, Detroit has actually been shutout, and the 3 times that they were shutout, were immediately after multiple games on the road. This will be a similar situation, and recent history may suggest that Detroit will not have their usual jump for this game. All of these factors favour the Under.
Dog of the Day: New York Islanders +100
Key Factors: Eventually, the well will run out of water because we keep going back to it, but the Islanders are quite simply, on a roll right now, and are very quickly proving that they are NOT who we thought they were. Last week, the Islanders were +130 at home when they beat the Devils 4-0, and if they win this one, they might actually be favoured in the Devil’s next visit to Long Island (on second thought, maybe not). During the beginning of this season, New Jersey was actually shedding its reputation as a team that didn’t score much, but lately, they’ve actually reverted in a major way. The Devils have scored just 11 goals in their last 8 games overall and just 6 goals in their last 5 on the road. Meanwhile, the Islanders have allowed just 3 goals in their last 4 home games, while scoring a total of 15 goals in that stretch. The home team has also won the last 6 meetings in this series, so history (both past and recent) certainly favours the Islanders here.
Fave of the Day: San Jose Sharks -170
Key Factors: The Buffalo Sabres are currently on their longest road trip of the season, and it appears to have affected their game a little bit. Although Patrick Lalime was the starter in their 5-4 loss to Anaheim on Tuesday, Ryan Miller was most certainly the starter in Buffalo’s 4-3 SO loss on Thursday to the Kings, and if Buffalo hopes to continue to stay in games by scoring in bunches they will certainly have a much tougher time doing so against San Jose. The Sharks are allowing an average of 1.5 goals per game over their last 4 home games, and they have really gotten into a groove, having played 11 of their last 15 games on home ice. Their record during this stretch has been a staggering 12-3, and although I personally don’t think that the Sharks will score 6 on the Sabres, I also don’t have any issue with the Sharks being significantly favoured to win.
Editor’s Choice: Ottawa Senators +115
Key Factors: This may be yet another case of trying to go to a well that might run dry soon, but it is very blatant that these are two teams going in opposite directions. The Senators have now won a season-high 5 straight games, and quite surprisingly, it has had a lot to do with them holding their opponents off the score sheets. Meanwhile, Boston has scored just 8 goals in their last 5 home games, and they have lost 4 straight home games and 6 of their last 7 overall. The Senators simply look excited to be playing hockey right now, whereas the Bruins appear to be fighting uphill. I’ll go with the momentum on this one.
Other Games: It appears that a pretty good case could be made for the Florida Panthers to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs. As of this moment, none of the other games listed below really have my interest though. Feel free to make some suggestions.