As a supplement to the normal betting selections offered today I decided to open this article as an earlier start to the discussion. Please consider, though, that not all of the goaltenders have been announced yet for the night so it may be wise to wait and see who will be going for the teams you place your bets on. Regardless, I will attempt to offer advice that considers either one or multiple possible goaltenders.
As always, we offer these picks for fun and suggest that you play for the same reason. Remember not to bet anything you can’t afford to lose. Here’s a couple good sites to place your bets on:
Centsports: Offers free $.10 betting. You never put money in and when you lose, you get $.10 more.
Bodog: Daily Faceoff’s suggested site for placing your bets.
Now to the picks! I chose the picture above for a reason. Today, Halak could be your gateway to a positive night:
1. Montreal/Ottawa under 5.5: This one is easy to speculate on starting goaltenders because they have been confirmed early. Knowing that we have Halak going for the Habs against the newly healthy Leclaire for the Sens, you’ll find the under 5.5 at around -140. Halak is going for his 5th straight after achieving #1 Star of the Week last week, posting a .94 save percentage or better in all four previous appearances. Only 2 of those 4 game totals went under 5.5, but the two that went over were against the Thrashers (4-3) and Hurricanes (5-1). This will be no lopsided contest nor an offensive battle. Leclaire’s two starts since coming back have been a nasty 2-8 thrashing by the Pens and a 3-2 shootout win against the Sabres, both away. I fully expect him to be on more of the 3-2 form, particularly at home where the away Habs will not be as effective on offense.
2. Washington Capitals -275 and over 6 (Carolina Hurricanes): As the title says, this is all-purpose picks. Why would I even bother to suggest that a -275 team should win? The reason is that sometimes, they just don’t. Take the Penguins last night for example. Alternatively, you can get a better line which I don’t have in front of me by taking the -1.5 puck line. Or -2.5, -3.5, whatever. In my opinion, this ends something like 6-2. Theodore will be in net for the Capitals and will likely be performing as he usually does, average. If Neuvirth was going, the Canes might struggle more to score, but they should be able to get a couple past Theodore, boosting that over 6. For the Caps, they are looking at Cam Ward as the likely goaltender who just cannot seem to perform this year. He’s been pulled constantly this season for dismal performances against less than powerful teams, and the Caps will bring their full force at home today. I don’t think I need to pull out the exact over/under stats here to support the arguement. If you disagree though, please post it. I want to hear comments and feedback. By the way, if Legace starts for the Canes, the chances are lower of the 6 goal total in my mind, but still a good pick. Either way, the Caps will find a regulation win in this one.
3. Bruins -125: Boston had a little 4-game losing streak going not too long ago, but that has turned around into a 3-game winning streak they’re currently riding. Since getting shut out by Toronto, the offense has kicked back on and is getting the job done. As far as goaltending goes, they’ve always been getting the job done. Tonight it will be Thomas in net, which is almost a shame because Rask is such a good backup. If you’re worried about the offensive side, they’re facing Mike Smith. See any of the RLS columns for information about how much of a sieve he is. This one is at TB, but the respective home and away splits for the two teams are identical. At -125, this is well worth the shot on the Bruins.
4. LA Kings -140: Come to think of it, this line as well as the Bruins line is moving more towards a pick-em if I remember correctly. It’s going to be best to wait for a goaltender announcement here anyway. If Ersberg goes, throw this out. At home, though, against the Wild, Quick can roll. I know the Wild have been hot and haven’t been the bad road team they were at the beginning of the season. Furthermore, Quick’s only 3-3 in his last 6 starts since an Ersberg appearance. However, LA is good enough at home to make this happen. They’ve only lost one home game in December, a shootout loss to the Blues. They had a poor road trip recently and coming home they are going to want the win to get back on track. Granted, this isn’t the best statistically supported case, but I’m confident that the home ice advantage is the factor here and at -140 it’s worth a shot.
Other noteworthy possibilities:
Calgary/Edmonton under 5.5
Phoenix/SJ under 5.5