I am by no means the Alex Ovechkin of the NHL handicapping world, but I am the kind of person who tries to take advantage of every resource available to me, including the publicized picks of actually respected sports handicappers (the real all-stars of NHL handicapping?), and in a potentially hapless attempt to try and deflect some of the heat off of myself, I am just going to point out that I was definitely not the only one who managed to pitch a few losing NHL plays on Wednesday (the NYI/PIT Over 5.5 was actually quite widespread).
However, I was actually glad that a whole lot of the current system’s weaknesses were all exposed in one fell swoop, because otherwise, I probably would have brushed off any sincere attempts at fixing them. Some issues that currently might need fixing: over-zealous projections (the Islanders were probably never going to score 4 on Pittsburgh), backup goalies not accounted for (Thomas Greiss), injured players not accounted for (Marian Gaborik, Ryan Getzlaf), obvious letdown spots not accounted for (Anaheim Ducks after beating LA in their previous game). It appears that I will have a number of things to tweak over the Olympic break.
Similar to some of the predominant NHL winning steaks that occurred over the past few weeks though, this was also a great run while it lasted, in which a lot was accomplished, but now that some cracks in the armour have been exposed, it may be time to patch up some holes before making a legitimate run at the playoffs . Also, keep in mind that this whole Computer Picks “experiment” was officially started only a mere 4 weeks ago, on January 12th, so it is truly still in its rookie stages. After some more refinements to the system, we may be able to get away with not having to think too much for ourselves, but for now, it is still up to us cognisant beings to combine our own knowledge with the statistical projections here in order to make the best betting decisions.
With that being said, it is now time to get to the ‘not-fully-refined’ picks for this Thursday. My apologies for the lack of write-ups today, but I will be waking up to go to the airport in a matter of hours, and therefore, have very little time to look these picks over (I also spent a rare night out of the house and away from the computer). As such, I will be leaving much of the analysis for these games in the hands of the very capable regulars (and also the newcomers) of the Comments Section.
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Buffalo is on one heck of a slump right now; 5 straight losses, 6 straight road losses. If there is good reason to believe that this is their spot to snap out of it, then definitely feel free to post it. At the very least, I see no reason to take them as a favourite.
This looks like another inflated projection that will hopefully soon be fixed. I’d still lean slightly towards the Over 6.0 though, based on head-to-head history, and I will also note that this is a classic letdown spot for Washington; long win streak snapped—they could be flat for this game.
San Jose is unofficially “property of the Detroit Red Wings” (because they own the Sharks). Detroit has won all 3 meetings this season, and San Jose has also been fading as their current road trip goes on. I don’t have a betting line yet, but I’m really hoping that Detroit is a good-sized home dog, so I can buy them up.
I don’t think the Panthers are really capable of beating anybody with their 1.2 goals per game, but the Canucks are playing with no heart on the road. If Florida cares to snap out of their current 4-game losing streak, then they can easily snag an early lead on Vancouver—something that every other opponent has been able to do on the Canucks lately.
Boston is sort of back—or are they? It might be too early to tell, but they have definitely been crashing the net more. Tampa Bay was outshot by a ratio of 2 to 1 by the Canucks on Tuesday, so the question for them is how much longer do they, or can they, ride Antero Niittymaki’s hot streak for? So many questions surrounding this game.
Calgary racked up quite a few air miles on the road trip that they’ll be returning here from, so they could have an off-game. Dallas is bad on the road, but they were competitive in 4 of their last 5 road games. A close game might be brewing here.
For some reason, I just feel like the Oilers are gonna get blown out of every road game that they play from here on. They proved me wrong on Wednesday night though, and they might prove me wrong again, but I’m inclined to take one more shot with the home team -1.5.