Red Light Specials: 12/15 Edition

Updated: December 16, 2009 at 12:33 am by Adam Burke

Howdy, bettors! Another mediocre night last night, missing out on two spreads but easily nailing an over. On one hand, I’m quite irritated with what these early plays are doing to help build my credibility. On another hand, as I analyze my plays thus far, I have not been that far off. Of my three puck line bets, the team I picked has won twice and failed to capitalize on opportunities that would have made us winners.

Last night, Buffalo scored to take a 2-1 lead entering the 3rd and then took a (very questionable) too many men call which Montreal immediately scored on. They also failed to get an empty netter with the ability to ice the puck freely because they could not exit their own zone on the PK.

In any event, all three of my puck line bets have seen our team enter the third with leads, which is generally an ideal situation. Hockey is a game of finishing chances. Our plays just have not finished favorably.

Back at it tonight, starting with a battle of Pennsylvania.


PIT -1.5 (+155) v. PHI

Yeah, I know. Betting against Philly again tonight. Tonight is a much better scenario for the puck line, as evidenced by the +155 value. With a couple days off to get Chris Kunitz back to 100%, the Penguins have a good chance at the rout tonight.

When playing with two days rest, the Penguins are 6-2 ATS this season. They are 10-4 ATS against losing teams this season. With Philadelphia playing a back-to-back, and they are 2-2 in the second game of a back-to-back this season, the rested Penguins should be able to take advantage.

Factor in Brian Boucher’s .885 sv% on the road and Marc-Andre Fleury’s .913 at home, the stats are all aligning for a Penguins multi-goal victory. Fleury is 7-1-1 in his last 9.

Evgeni Malkin woke up with an OT GWG against Florida and look for him to have a huge game in a Penguins statement game.

NSH -1.5 (+190) v. TB

Bet this game with caution as Tampa Bay seems to be the expert on playing just well enough to get to overtime. They have nine OT losses on the season, which helps explain the -230 for TB +1.5. But, of late, Tampa Bay has been downright awful. They have three goals in their last four games, including Sunday night’s Antti Niemi shutout.

The Predators, meanwhile, have scored 26 goals in their seven games this month. Pekka Rinne got to watch last night while Dan Ellis beat Columbus and that improves Rinne’s value tonight. Already 9-5 at home with two shutouts, Rinne takes on Mike Smith who boasts a less-than-mediocre .871 sv% and is just 1-7 ATS on the road. Considering TB is usually a road dog and, therefore, a +1.5, Mike Smith does not play very many one goal games on the road.

Nashville is 19-3-3 when they score more than one goal and 14-2-1 when scoring first. Look for both things to occur tonight and the Preds to roll to victory.

CGY @ STL u5 (+105)

It’s hard for me to take an under with a line of 5. It really is. But this one has real potential tonight. Despite Calgary running out Curtis McElhinney tonight, he has one over and one under on the road to his credit on the season, the under looks good.

What really sells me on this line is that Chris Mason has eight unders in 10 home games. The Blues are just 5-12 at home and average a paltry 1.9 goals per game at home. That speaks volumes about Mason’s home ice play.

If Chris Mason can hold up his end of the bargain, this game could easily be a 2-1 score. At worse, I think 3-2 is the highest it goes. While I usually don’t advocate betting something with the high likelihood of a push, the odds say that a push/win is more likely than a loss.

Let’s hope defense is on display in this tilt.

Keep in mind, players, that with these puck line spreads, you really only have to hit one of every 2.5, on average, to at least break even. Hitting two of three is a huge bonus. Again, as I said in my first column, the important thing to remember is that there are swings, and that having the necessary bankroll is crucial. Also, while I post three lines, no need to bet all three and certainly no need to parlay them. Pick and choose which amount of risk sounds fair to you and make that play.

Remember too, that fellow writers like Matt Bennett, Jeff Tay, and Jason Moynes do offer safer plays with lesser payout potential. The chief objective of my column is to look for good value plays. If your prerogative is to lay $5 on a -160 line and take a $3 payout, that’s perfectly acceptable. If you would rather lay $5 on a +155 to win $7.75, that’s what my column hopes to achieve.

Good luck players!