NHL Picks - Free Hockey Predictions
Puck Heads can get another opinion on some of the games from our resident hockey handicapper who gives out his free NHL picks throughout the hockey season. Stop by frequently to see what wagers Ross Staring is laying down on in his quest to make the hockey season a winning one.
Betting on the hot hand is a viable strategy in any sport, but so is betting on a very good team ending an extended slump in front of the hometown crowd, so I am taking Philly in this one.
Playing in an outdoor environment in front of a capacity crowd in prime time should bring out the star power in each of these teams to take the total OVER a projected 5.5-goal total line.
I like the Stars at home, but I am betting that this game stays UNDER a probable 5.5-goal total line.
Despite the Lightnings' 21-6-2 record at home this season, playing three games in four days takes its toll in another Philadelphia win on the road.
I like Toronto at home in this matchup, but I am betting that the total goes OVER a probable 5.5-goal line.
Los Angeles has outscored the Oilers 10-2 in two previous meetings this season and it is going to outscore them again on Saturday night in what could be a solid play on the -1.5 puck line.
Given that the Islanders are giving up an average of 3.6 goals a game, this matchup is another strong candidate to go OVER a probable six-goal line.
You have to stick with the hot hand in this one by taking Boston against one of the worst teams in the Pacific Division.
The lean would be with the Penguins winning again at home, but I am betting that the total goes OVER in this Eastern Conference showdown.
Minnesota is tied for the second-most home victories this season in the Western Conference. Given Thursday’s setback, I feel confident that the Wild quickly respond to an off night at the Xcel Energy Center with a win on Saturday.
Tampa Bay has won six of its last seven games to hold the lead in the division with a league-high 77 points. It knocked off Vancouver 5-2 on Thursday night as a heavy -257 home favorite to improve to 18-5-1 at home this season. The Lightning are the most complete team in the NHL with a 3.6 goals per game average that is ranked first complementing a defense that is sixth in goals allowed (2.6). The Kings should get past Florida on Friday night; However, they make a great team to go against in back-to-back games.
With Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout victory against Nashville as -115 home favorites, the Maple Leafs have now won seven of their last nine games as part of a 32-19-5 record that has them eight points behind Tampa Bay for the top spot in the Atlantic Division. Auston Matthews continues to lead an offensive attack that is averaging 3.2 goals a game with 43 total points. With three goals and three assists in his last five starts, I think he will be the difference on Saturday in another Toronto win.
The Rangers are facing the wrong team at the wrong time to try and steal a win on the road.
While I am not sure which of these division foes wins this game, I do like the total staying UNDER even if the line dips to five.
With Colorado’s pair of road losses to their division rivals earlier this season, and I like the Jets’ chances to take full advantage of the road weary Avalanche this time around.
Even though the Penguins may have the champagne on ice to celebrate a second-straight NHL title, you have to believe that Nashville will be able to find a way to force a Game 7 with a victory in Game 6 given how the home team has dominated play the past few games.
The a bolder bet for Sunday night would be to roll the dice on Nashville and the -1.5 puck line at +200 betting odds given how the favorite has won by two or more goals in the first five games of this series.
Both of these teams have been able to defend its home ice to turn this year’s NHL Finals into a best-of-three affair, but you would still have to give the edge to Nashville as the better all-around team in this matchup given its dominance on both ends of the ice across all four contests. Pittsburgh’s strength is experience and the ability to win ugly when it has to.
The home team has prevailed the last seven times these two have laced them up against one another and there is no sense going against this trend on Thursday night.
Nashville head coach Peter Laviolette toyed with the idea of sitting Rinne for Game 3, but thankfully for Nashville fans he gave his veteran netminder a chance to redeem himself in front of the home-town crowd. Saturday’s victory swung quite a bit of momentum back in the Predators’ favor and they are now in an excellent position to erase Pittsburgh’s early series lead.
Home ice has prevailed in this series through the first three games despite that fact that Nashville has outplayed the Penguins in all three contests. Look for more of the same this Monday night as the Predators turn this series into a best-of-three affair.
The Penguins did what they had to do to take the early edge in this series while protecting its home ice advantage, but they know there is still quite a bit of work to be done before they can keep the Stanley Cup in town for another year. Nashville has to hang its hat on a pair of moral victories after outplaying its opponent everywhere on the ice except the scoreboard in the first two games.
I am going with Nashville on Saturday night given its low -131 moneyline in this matchup. This is still the team that sent Chicago packing in four games and I believe that the Predators will channel the energy on their home ice to get the win in Game 3 of this series.