Afternoon, boys and girls! Last night’s Helpers was quite beneficial in the finances column with both of my puck line picks coming through. I know, I know, I backed off the Nashville play when I saw that Mike Smith was not starting, but you know what, Mike Smith still played. And he played poorly. Rather than helping to clot the bleeding, he acted like a blood thinner and the second period wound up looking like a scene from Dexter for the Bolts.
I have to admit, players, I felt pretty vindicated last night. It was good to get my first two puck line victories. The under was a disaster in the CGY/STL but I can’t say I expected Curtis McElhinney to look like a post-Katrina levee. I must say, Calgary will go nowhere in late April/May unless they find a more competent backup goaltender. I know Kipper’s a workhorse, but keeping your goaltender fresh is the secret to playoff success. Just ask San Jose how the playoffs go when your goalie plays 70+ games.
No column tomorrow, sorry guys. I’ll be taking the fiancée down to Columbus for some Christmas shopping and then catching the Jackets game. From the looks of things, I might get a good nap in during the game before I take the two-hour drive home. Tomorrow doesn’t look like a very lucrative betting day, but I’d look for the value on DET -1.5 and MIN/MTL under 5 (probably).
An early column today because I have a mite game to ref at 5:30 (aka, look for lineup changes before finalizing your picks). On to tonight’s picks!
PHX/TOR u6 (-135)
I know I said in my inaugural column that I hate taking bets with a minus value, but this one’s way too good to pass up. Ilya Bryzgalov is 4-1-1 in December with a 1.48 and a .951. Eleven of Phoenix’s 14 road games have been unders this season. Even with facing Toronto’s Swiss cheese defense, the Coyotes are scoring just 2.2 goals per game on the road.
If you want more Bryzgalov evidence, he has just five games that have been overs this season. Compare that with 21 unders.
Not a ton of evidence on the Toronto side to support the under. Toronto’s scoring 3.8 goals over their last five games, but that’s skewed by a couple of variables. One, Michael Neuvirth played one of the games. Two, they scored 11 of their goals in two games.
The biggest factor here is that Ilya Brygalov has been lights out this season and Phoenix has trouble scoring. Toronto will get their chances, but I look Bryz to put on a show.
This should be a very safe push/win scenario.
VAN -1.5 (+160) v. ANA
Some guy named Roberto Luongo makes this play possible. Luuuuuuuu is 11-3 ATS at home this season, while the Ducks are a pathetic 3-10 ATS on the road. Most of that is in large part to Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s 0-6 ATS on the road, but the Canucks are too dominant at home to let Anaheim’s choice of goaltender bother you that much.
Vancouver’s winning its home games by an average of 1.6 goals. Take into account that VAN is successful on almost 29% of its home powerplays and that ANA is 75.4% effective at killing them on the road, and you have the makings of a 4 or 5-1 game.
Don’t be scared of the 7-2 score the last time these two played. Andrew Raycroft, who rivals McElhinney as the league’s worst backup goaltender, gave up four on 22 shots and then backup Cory Schneider fared about as well.
The Canucks should continue their home ice dominance in this one.
Just two picks tonight. It’s a rough night for NHL betting. There are a lot of games that either aren’t getting the value that they should or don’t have enough value. Also, several inconsistent teams are in action tonight. Which Panthers show up? The ones who bombarded NYI 7-1 or the ones who got shut out by the struggling Jackets last week? Same can be said for the Isles. The team that just beat BOS or the team who got clobbered by FLA? Does dominant Buffalo come out and blow away the Spezza-less Sens or does docile Buffalo show up and win a squeaker? Do they show up at all?
It’s better to play it safe than sorry tonight, players. Good luck tonight and good luck tomorrow if you make any plays!