Provided we see Jonas Gustavsson get the nod for the Leafs, they have the clear edge against a Canes team that has dropped 10-straight. As season play has dictated, a Toskala start may tell another story. For that game and more take a look at the picks after the jump! 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.
New York Islanders +135 at New Jersey Devils -155
Buffalo snapped New York’s 4-game win streak on Thursday and New Jersey looks to keep their 3-game win streak going tonight against them at home. The Devils have won 3-straight but only by a 1-goal margin in each. Last season, the Devils won every game at home against the Islanders but aren’t having that same kind of luck at home this season. They are only 2-4 at home on the year and also a stunning 2-4 as the favourite. The Islanders aren’t faring much better on the road here, only 1-3-3 on the year and all signs point to a tight game. The Islanders only average 2.1 goals per game on the road, while the Devils only manage 2.0 goals at home. The Devils’ home defense is surprisingly high at 3.0 goals but still far better than an Islanders team allowing 3.9 goals per game. Look for the Devils to turn the tide at home against an Islanders squad that would probably prefer to be at home.
Pick: Devils -155
Toronto Maple Leafs +110 at Carolina Hurricanes -130
I never thought I’d say this… I like the Leafs in this one. Has anybody even paid attention to the Canes lately? They are losing, and losing bad. They’ve lost by 2 or more goals in their last 4 games and have quietly dropped 10 straight. Cam Ward hasn’t won in almost a full month but is only part of the reason for the Canes’ struggles. Carolina has the worst offense in the league at 2.0 goals per game and they allow the most powerplays per game with 5.3 opportunities per game. Playing like that is bound to earn you the league’s second-worst goals allowed per game at 3.8. The Leafs on the other hand are actually closer to winning than the bookies are giving them credit for. The Leafs have also gotten a point in 5 straight games, riding a 4-game OTL streak (that’s funny to say). Give Jonas Gustavsson credit, he’s given the Leafs their best chance to win and he’s never lost a game by more than 1 goal against teams much tougher than the Canes. Provided Gustavsson starts, the Leafs get some great odds here but keep in mind Cam Ward can still steal a game at any time but it’ll be more difficult with Eric Staal out of the lineup. If Toskala starts, over 6.0 at +100 also looks good but with Gustavsson, the under is also a good play. Carolina hasn’t scored more than 2 goals in 5-straight games and the Leafs skated way under the 6 against a Tampa team that was struggling defensively. This Leafs’ line moved 15 points overnight and deservedly so – best chance for big money on the night. Hold off until confirmation of the starting goalies, though, unless the change in odds is important to you.
Pick: Leafs -105 and Under 6.0 goals -115
Philadelphia Flyers +125 at Buffalo Sabres -145
What happens when you match up the league’s best offense (Flyers) against the league’s best defense (Buffalo)? You get a game. Ryan Miller is no doubt going to go for the Sabres and is coming off of a stellar rebound shutout against the Islanders. The Flyers are no Islanders, averaging a league-high 3.8 goals per game, the best powerplay at 28.1% and second-best attack with 34 shots on goal per game. The Flyers, however, are benefiting from playing two struggling teams at home and scoring 6 goals on each in their last two games. Their numbers drop on the road to only grab 2.8 goals per game but a more solid defense of 2.5 goals per game. The Sabres have much better numbers at home, averaging 3.3 goals per game and the 4th-best goals against at home with 2.0 per game. The Sabres also put up the 10th-best powerplay at home but only have an 80% penalty kill. That could spell trouble against the Flyers’ 5th-best road powerplay. However, it all comes down to having a clutch goaltender and Ryan Miller, 5-0-1 with a 1.68 GAA at home this season is the clutch goalie the Sabres need to come out on top in this one. The Flyers have struggled to 2-2 on the road so far this season.
Pick: Sabres -145
Washington Capitals -110 at Florida Panthers -110
The Panthers are quietly riding a 3-game winning streak and Tomas Vokoun is riding a 2-game shutout streak. The Caps, on the other hand, are riding a 3-game losing streak and appear to be reeling from the effects of an Ovechkin-less lineup. Florida provides Washington with a chance to reverse their fortunes and get a big win to round out their short road stint. Washington still has plenty of scoring power with Semin, Backstrom and the recently called-up Tomas Fleischmann. The Panthers still don’t have things figured out at home, going only 2-6, and only averaging 2.3 goals per game and still allowing 3.0 goals per game. Washington won 2 of 3 games in Florida last season.
Pick: Capitals -110
Betting results by category so far this season:
- Money Line 29-31, -18.69
- Puck Line 6-11, -4.0
- Totals 28-18-1, +3.2