Thank you LA for battling back in extraordinary fashion to overtake the Coyotes on the road. Great game for those of you that got to watch it! All anybody is talking about over here is the Phil Kessel debut and you can be sure we’re looking at that game in the picks tonight! Looking for a great sportsbook site to place your bets? I use and trust Bodog to place my hockey bets but if you are looking for a site where you can bet for free, try CentSports. You always have a minimum of 10 cents to start off and let you bet on the NHL and other sports. When you increase your balance, you are eligible to cash out! Remember that I post these picks for fun and I encourage you to do the same (i.e. don’t bet what you can’t afford to lose). All lines are provided by Bodog and are current at the time of posting.
Tampa Bay Lightning +125 at Toronto Maple Leafs -145
Sorry, Phil Kessel, but if there’s a story about tonight’s game, it’s the fact that the Leafs bring a 4-game point streak into this matchup. Jonas Gustavsson played well for them in his last 3 starts and will get the nod tonight. In 4 starts on the season, Gustavsson has only made one at home in which he allowed 2 goals vs. the Senators. In 3 subsequent starts, the game total has gone over the mark in only one of them. The Bolts should counter with Antero Niittymaki after Mike Smith’s 5-goal collapse in Philly yesterday. Niittymaki also has 5 starts on the year and has allowed more than 2 goals only once, while only going over the game total in his first start of the year. Tampa Bay hasn’t played back-to-back starts all year so it’ll be interesting to see how they respond after being viciously outplayed in Philly. Vincent Lecavalier on the third line really diminishes Tampa’s scoring punch but Steven Stamkos has been stellar in his place on the top unit. The one glaring statistic of this game is the fact that the worst road scoring team is facing off against the worst home scoring team. Phil Kessel is supposed to change that but he won’t get 6-goals by himself. It’s up to the Bolts’ defense to improve upon their 5.0 goals allowed on the road and Niittymaki gives them that chance. In 4 meetings last season, the over-under was split.
Pick: Under 6.0 goals +110
New York Rangers -115 at Vancouver Canucks -105
The Rangers are finally healthy! Yes, that team that put together a 7-game winning streak is back together and is taking their first trip to the West Coast this season. The Canucks, on the other hand, are mired by injuries to top scorers (Sedin) and goalies (Luongo) and really haven’t found any stride in their absence. Andrew Raycroft is filling in for Luongo and looks about as inconsistent as Luongo did in early October but he did secure a shutout their last time out vs. Colorado (an 18-save shutout, mind you). It’s expected that the Rangers should bring more firepower to GM Place but they’ve only managed to score 4 goals in their last 3 games. The Canucks haven’t fared much better, but have been benefit to sub-par opposing goalies after winning two of their last 3 games while getting 20-shots or less in each win. Their defense is 3rd-best at home, only averaging 2.0 goals allowed, compared to the Rangers’ 2.9 goals for on the road. The Canucks have also managed more than 3 goals scored at home only 3 times in 8 home games, and only once since Oct. 11. Both teams are trending to lackluster offensive efforts lately and this puts more pressure on the goalies and the Rangers, with Lundqvist, get that edge.
Pick: Rangers -115 and Under 5.5 goals -105
Pittsburgh Penguins -110 at Anaheim Ducks -110
Ducks? Last place. Pens? First place. What makes this game a pick ’em is the Pens’ key injuries to Kennedy, Gonchar and Malkin. Nonetheless, the Pens have showed they can still win without them, despite losing to Minnesota at home on Saturday. The Pens stack up as the far better team defensively and without a Canucks collapse, the Ducks would be one of the lower scoring teams in the league. On the road, the Pens have the league’s best scoring attack, 4.2 goals per game and it matches up perfectly against the Ducks’ league-worst home defense, 4.1 goals allowed per game. Still not convinced? The Ducks average 2.9 goals for at home and the Pens have the 8th-best road defense at 2.5 goals allowed per game. The Pens fire the second-most shots on goal per game with 34.1 and have the second-best shots against only allowing 26.1 per game. The Ducks, however, allow the second-most shots per game at 35.5, they allowed the second-most powerplays at 5.0 per game, and they have the worst penalty kill at 70%. Unless the Pens mail this one in, all signs point to a Pittsburgh victory.
Pick: Pens -110
Betting results by category so far this season:
- Money Line 24-28, -19.95
- Puck Line 5-11, -5.5
- Totals 25-15-1, +3.64