Another solid 2-1 night last night and tons of games on the slate tonight. Five teams are -200 favourites or better at home but are they really the best teams to win?
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Vancouver Canucks +115 at Philadelphia Flyers -135
There’s an awful lot of urgency on the Flyers’ side tonight as they’ve dropped 5 of their last 6 and are hoping Brian Boucher can turn it around for them – Boucher hasn’t allowed more than 2 goals in his last 3 starts. Unfortunately for the Flyers, Roberto Luongo out-goalied Martin Brodeur last night and doesn’t look like he’s going to back down. Luongo has gone back-to-back three times this season and in his second start he’s allowed 1, 0, and 4 goals. That 4-goal game was against the Sharks. However, it still lies true that Vancouver has not been a solid road team on the year, 5-8 now, and does not generally have the best road offense, 2.7 goals for, and defense, 3.2 goals against. The Flyers boast the best home offense, 3.7 goals per game, and an average defense, 2.7 goals per game. The Flyers have also gone over the posted game total in 3 of their last 6 games and the Canucks have gone over in 5 of their last 7 and 3 of their last 5 road games.
Pick: Over 5.5 goals -110
Montreal Canadiens +175 at Buffalo Sabres -210
The way the Canadiens hammered the Leafs on Tuesday you’d think they could do the same to the Sabres… oh wait, the Leafs shut them out. It’s more likely they won’t crack the best goalie in the league right now, Ryan Miller. These teams skated to a 2-1 Montreal victory in Buffalo in October and you can believe Buffalo is better than that now. They’ve won 3 straight and outscored opponents 12-3 over that stretch (2 games were on the road). Montreal, on the other hand, has dropped 3 straight and been outscored 10-4 over that stretch (2 games were at home). These teams look like polar opposites right now and Buffalo should be able to capitalize even more. As good as Halak has been all season, he’s been terrible on the road, 0-2 with a 4.47 GAA. He won’t get much help from the Habs as they have the second-worst road scoring, 2.1 goals per game and a defense that allows 3.1 goals per game. Sabres get the home domination here.
Pick: Sabres -1.5 +150
Toronto Maple Leafs +140 at Columbus Blue Jackets -160
The Jackets obviously showed something with the OT loss to Chicago earlier in the week as they are getting some hefty odds here at home. Yet again, we see the Leafs without their top two goaltenders and Joey MacDonald gets the nod. JoeyMac is by no means a terrible goaltender as he held the Habs (hah) to no goals in 2 periods but in his 3 starts, he’s never won and amassed a 3.34 GAA. The Jackets have scored 3 or more in 4 straight home games and are fortunate to be facing the Leafs’ 3.7 goals against, 3rd-worst road defense. The Leafs, however, can counter with an offense that puts up 3.4 goals per game on the road, contributing to a 5-5-4 road record. Columbus, however, is 7-2-3 at home and 1-0-1 against Eastern Conference rivals. Overall, the Jackets are 16-11 over-under and the Leafs are 13-12-1 showing promise for the over here.
Pick: Over 6.0 goals -125
Edmonton Oilers +170 at Detroit Red Wings -200
The Wings are, in my opinion, the most difficult team to predict in the league. Just when you think they are down and out, they storm back and win big. Just when you think they are on a roll, they take a dive. They go under when they should go over and they go over when they should go under. Figure out all that and take this pick as the risk that it is! The Wings are without Rafalski, yes, but the Oilers are without half their team, including Ales Hemsky who they will greatly miss for the rest of the season. The Wings are also starting Jimmy Howard who has won 3 of his last 4 starts and only allowed more than 2 goals once during that stretch. The Oilers are countering with Jeff Deslauriers who is still filling in for Nikolai Khabibulin and dragging the Oilers down in the process. Deslauriers allowed 4 goals in the first 8 minutes of play his last time out in Vancouver and hasn’t faired much better in San Jose or Los Angeles the two prior starts before that. In their last 4 losses, Edmonton has been outscored 20-10 and is something the Red Wings, who have scored 4 goals in 2 straight games after getting shut out for 2 straight, should be able to capitalize on. The Wings are shooting the puck a lot and have the second best shots on goal in the league, 34.4 per game, so the goals will come. I just don’t trust the Wings enough to give Edmonton 1.5 goals on them.
Pick: Wings -200 and Over 5.5 goals -125
Colorado Avalanche +215 at Pittsburgh Penguins -260
The Avs played a long and difficult match last night against the Panthers where they may have lost their clutch goalie for an extended amount of time. The Pens have the 7th-best scoring and 8th-best defense at home and are happy to host the Avs as they’ve shredded opponents in their last 4 home games by a combined score of 22 – 11. The Avs have 1 win in their last 5 and let’s face it, they lost to the Panthers yesterday. They had 5 wins in all of November and won’t find their first win of December here tonight. The over should get some consideration here as well.
Pick: Pens -1.5 +105
Anaheim Ducks +120 at Dallas Stars -140
The Stars have lost 3 of their last 4 while the Ducks have dropped 2 straight after winning 4 of their previous 5. The Ducks are going back on the road where they’ve only gone 2-4-3 on the season but are coming out of their homestand a different team. They’re more or less the same Ducks we saw last season but have had goalie struggles until just recently when JS Giguere stepped up his game. This is their first road test since losing 4-straight in mid-November and I like them to come out trying to prove something. Dallas is the best team to try to do that against as they have only managed an average of 2 goals per game in 4 of their last 5 games. Dallas has already beaten Anaheim 4-2 in Anaheim on the year but last season these teams split their 6 meetings.
Pick: Ducks +120
Ottawa Senators +115 at Los Angeles Kings -135
Remember what I said about the Sens struggling on the West Coast? They proved it against San Jose and they’ll find more difficulty tonight against the Kings, who have just found their legs again. The Kings have won 3 of 4, against tough opponents, but still only have a 6-4-1 record at home. Fortunately, Ottawa is even worse at 3-5-1 on the road and a dismal 2.2 goals for and 3.6 goals against. The Kings have a poor defense as well, 3.2 goals against, but still score very frequently at home, 3.6 goals per game, even without Ryan Smyth.
Pick: Kings -135
Fan Favourite Record: 12-11, -1.79
Betting results by category so far this season:
- Money Line 58-63, -14.34
- Puck Line 12-18, -0.4
- Game Totals 48-39-1, +2.76
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