Computer Picks: January 17th

Updated: January 17, 2010 at 12:44 pm by Jeff Tay

Editor’s note: Jeff had this ready to go well before the Detroit game started.  We were just a little slow getting it up!

From now on, this segment should come with a warning on the label: “if experiencing any signs of backup goaltending, please seek help immediately” (from perhaps a more knowledgeable source). The fact is that, not only have I not kept an ongoing record of which goaltenders have started which games over this season, but I have also been writing these articles on the nights before the games, when many starting goaltenders are yet to be confirmed. This issue may have affected a number of the results that took place this Saturday, and unfortunately, Computer Picks for games involving backup goaltenders are prone to be less accurate.

Here are the final tallies from Saturday, January 16th: 8-4 on predictions on winners (wrong on CAR, NYR, MTL, and NJD) & 3-8-1 on predictions on over/under (correct on CAR/ATL o6.0, BUF/NYI u5.5, and CHI/CBJ o5.5)

Overall Record:

Predictions on Winning Sides: 24-15
Predictions on Over/Under: 18-19-2

In the near future, more adjustments to the system may be on the way, but seeing as how the next NHL game will be starting in a mere 6 hours (from the time I am writing this), it is probably best for me right now to just publish the picks and get to bed. Here we go:

Game #1: Chicago Blackhawks 2 – Detroit Red Wings 3

Key Stats: About 2-3 weeks ago, Chicago was an unstoppable force. They went on a stretch of 9 games where they won 7 of them by at least 3 goals, and their only loss in that stretch was a 4-5 loss in Dallas. However, that 4-5 loss in Dallas was a sign of things to come, as last week, they dropped a road game in Minnesota by a score of 5-6 (SO), and then, in their most recent road game, they barely squeaked out a 6-5 win against Columbus. The Blackhawks’ level of play appears to be tailing off. Detroit, however, plays a very low-scoring brand of hockey at home, and this game is far less likely to turn into a run-and-gun affair. Perhaps what favours Detroit the most here though, is the fact that they are playing at home after coming off a 1-goal loss. Detroit doesn’t go on very many extended losing streaks, and they have played very well after losing close games, especially when at home.

Best Bet: As much as I want to put my money on the Blackhawks (something that I like to do often), I am going to be discipline enough to lay off them here. There is a legitimate case for Detroit, and that would make them a worthwhile home dog. In 3 meetings this season, these2 teams have yet to go over the total, so the Under 5.5 may actually be the best bet.

Game #2: Philadelphia Flyers 3 – Washington Capitals 6

Key Stats: The Philadelphia Flyers have very rarely gone win-loss-win this season (just once, in fact). They tend to follow the first loss in a streak with another, and they will have a very tough time breaking this trend in Washington, where the home team has won 8 of the last 10 games. Philadelphia has also allowed 15 goals in their last 3 road games, and Washington has scored 15 goals in their last 3 home games. Scoring should not be an issue for Washington, at least.

Best Bet: The Over 6.0 here should be within reach for these two teams, as all 3 of their meetings this season have featured at least 6 goals. Washington at -170 is too big of a price though, and is not recommended as a good long-run proposition.

Game #3: Montreal Canadiens 2 – New York Rangers 2

Montreal was incredibly successful on a 7-game road trip that ended about 2 weeks ago, and many of the teams that they faced on that trip had very similar home stats to the New York Rangers (around 2.7 goals for and goals allowed per game). The Rangers right now are hardly scoring any goals at all though, making it very difficult for them to win any games, but their defense has been good. Give the edge in offense to Montreal, and the edge in defense to New York.

Best Bet: If this game appears at all to you like it could go either way, then Montreal is offering great value at +130. The Rangers aren’t likely to run away with this one, since they usually don’t score too many goals.

Game #4: Calgary Flames 3 – Anaheim Ducks 3

Key Stats: It has been very well-documented that Calgary has been a better team on the road than they have been at home, but their record of 3-3 in their last 6 road games somewhat hurts their case. In the 3 losses in these last 6 road games, Calgary gave up 3 goals, 4 goals, and 4 goals, and in their 3 wins, they gave up 1 goal, 1 goal, and 2 goals, so it really boils down to whether or not they can shut down the opposition. Anaheim has won their last 6 home games, and has quickly developed into a home-road dichotomy. In each of these 6 consecutive home victories, Anaheim has scored 4 goals, while they haven’t been able to accomplish that same feat in any of their last 8 on the road. Anaheim and Calgary have also played a lot of close games in recent years, and the home team has won almost all of them.

Best Bet: The level of respect that the public still has for Calgary has moved the line to almost a pick’em. Anaheim, being a hot home team, is certainly worth the price of admission, as they face a Calgary team that really appears to have lost their confidence due to their offensive woes. I really hate the prediction on the Over though. A game with 6 goals is an Anaheim pace, but not a Calgary pace.

Final Output: So far in the short run of Computer Picks, the system has had its most success on days with fewer games. If that trend continues, then Sunday should go very smoothly. Sundays also used to be the day of the week that featured the highest ratio of games going to overtime. That trend has died off of a bit, but CHI v DET, MTL v NYR, and CGY v ANA all look like they could go past regulation to me. The forecast calls for close games.