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.
Both of these teams earned their ticket to this series in what should be a great battle that has a really good chance of going the distance. As far as Monday night’s opener, I am looking for both of these defenses to flex their muscles early to keep things tight from start to finish.
I have gone with the UNDER in Game 1 of Pittsburgh’s first three postseason series and cashed in all three times. That is why I am going a “best bet” pick that the total stays UNDER the 5.5-goal line in this series opener as well.
I expected a low-scoring battle in Game 6 with so much on the line for Ottawa and I am going with the same call this Thursday night in a deciding Game 7 winner-take-all showdown for a ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals.
My heart is pulling for an Ottawa upset, but my head tells me that Pittsburgh is not going to lose a Game 7 of the conference finals on its home ice. My “best bet” pick for this game is the UNDER on the five-goal total line in what should be a great defensive tilt from start to finish.
With quite a bit of momentum on their side, you would think that the Penguins should be able to put this series to rest with a win on Tuesday night, but I do not think that Ottawa will go down without a fight. I am looking for Game 6 of this series to return to a low-scoring battle that is eventually decided by the last goal scored.
The home team has clearly dominated this head-to-head matchup in recent years and I like the Senators’ chances to squeeze out another win for the home team as +131 underdogs in Game 6.
The Predators watched their 10-game home winning streak in the playoffs come to an end in Game 4 and they now have to find a way to win a crucial Game 5 on the road. While the momentum in this series may have shifted a bit to Anaheim with Thursday’s big win, Nashville is still the better overall team in this matchup given its overall body of work this postseason.
The home team has gotten the best of things between these two teams in recent meetings, but I am going with the favorable moneyline on Nashville to regain the series edge with a win on the road in Game 5.
Nashville is once again in position to take a commanding lead in a playoff series and the fact that it is playing this game on its home ice provides a huge edge in its favor to get the job done. It will not be easy with Anaheim keeping things close right up until to the final buzzer and possibly into overtime.
While I am counting on Rinne to come up big again in goal for the Predators, I am betting that the total once again stays UNDER the five-goal line as my “best bet” pick for Game 4.
Give credit to Anaheim with coming up with the offensive firepower when it needed it the most, but I see the Ducks struggling to have that level of success against Rinne on the road. He has been the difference in a number of games for Nashville this postseason and I believe he will return to form on Tuesday night.
I do not think you can go wrong with a play on the UNDER in this matchup, but my “best bet” pick is to keep riding the Predators on their home ice with another victory at Bridgestone Arena in Game 3.
Despite the fact that Pittsburgh is a heavy home favorite for Game 1, it could be worth a small play on Ottawa to pull off a stunning upset on the road to gain that early series edge. The Senators have already proven they can win on the road this postseason so they will not be overwhelmed at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday night.
My “best bet” pick for this game would still be the UNDER on the 5.5-goal total line. The total has stayed UNDER in Game 1 of each team’s previous two playoff series and I believe that is going to be the case again in the opener of this one.
The momentum in this series has swung back and forth a few times with the home team always finding a way to get a win. It appears to lie with Ottawa given the way it battled to win Game 5, but closing out this series on the road could be a tall task.
While there is a fairly high risk/reward in the current New York moneyline for Tuesday night’s contest, I still do not see the Rangers losing this game on their home ice. I also have the total staying UNDER in Game 5, but the “best bet” pick in a series that appears destined to go the distance is New York.
Pittsburgh has already proved it can beat Washington without its best player, but that was on its home ice. The value in the Capitals’ moneyline is not all that great, but I still think they find a way to force a Game 6 with a win on Saturday night.
I am more interested in the total line going down to five after closing at 5.5 in the first four games of this series and the last six meetings overall. No Crosby, no problem so take the OVER in this one with a PUSH being the worst case scenario.
Thursday night’s contest should be a good one between two teams that matchup well. The winner will most likely go on to win this series with a lean towards New York given its overall experience and success in the postseason.
When it comes to betting on Game 4, I am going with the UNDER five goals on the total line. I think the 11 goals scored in Game 2 were a fluke and things should remain low scoring through all three periods on Thursday night with both goalies staying sharp.
Ottawa held up its end of the bargain at home to start this series and it is now time for the Rangers to notch their first win of this series on their home ice. New York is just too good of a team to fall into that dreaded 0-3 series hole.
Look for a much better performance from Lundqvist on Tuesday night in the friendly confines of Madison Square Garden as New York gets the win.
Give credit to Pittsburgh for breaking a string of eight-straight wins by the home team in this classic Metro Division rivalry. Going back over the last 10 games in this series, seven of the meetings were decided by one goal so I would count on Game 2 staying close as well.
Given both of these trends, I would lean towards the Capitals tying things up at home this Saturday night in what should be another great game between two of the top teams in the league.
Ottawa won this season’s series two games to one with the total staying UNDER in two of the three games. Both teams come into this series playing at a very high level, especially when it comes to the defensive end of the ice.
I see both goalies having a major impact in Thursday’s Game 1 to keep the total score UNDER the current five-goal total line.
I’m going to go with the Leafs here. Toronto has played well at home this season finishing eight games above .500 and split the four games that they have hosted the Caps. They had every right to win in Game 5 as they carried the play the majority of the game. They will need to get their power play going after going 0/4 in Game 5, but a reversal should be in the cards after having success in most of the games in this series. The value definitely lies on the home side.
The Blues dominated the early part of this series by shutting down Minnesota’s potent offensive attack, but Wednesday’s loss could mark a turning point especially with the way that Dubnyk played in goal for the Wild.
Bank on Minnesota using the better odds on the puck line to make things interesting with a big win at home in Game 5 by dominating play on both ends of the ice.
It is hard to believe that the top team in the West has dug itself into such a deep hole, but Chicago did stumble into the postseason with just three wins in its final 10 regular season games. Nashville has taken full advantage of the situation with a shutdown defense that has frustrated the Blackhawks at every turn.
While I would not bet against Chicago with its backs against the wall as a road underdog, I believe the “best bet” pick in Game 4 is to stick with the UNDER 5 on the total line in a defensive battle similar to Game 1.
I think that New York will rise to the occasion behind a strong effort by Lundqvist to tie this series at two games apiece with the victory on Tuesday night, but it is going to be a back-and-forth hard-fought battle for all three periods.
I also think that both defenses will stand tall in Game 4 to keep the total UNDER the current five-goal line.
These two rivals have been playing each other tough all season long and I would expect another close matchup on Saturday. Ottawa swept the regular season series 4-0 and I like the Senators as slight underdogs to even things up in Game 2, but the best way to bet this game is the UNDER on the five-goal total line.
The total has now stayed UNDER in five of the last seven meetings dating back to last season and I am looking for this trend to hold true on Saturday afternoon.
The Islanders will probably get the victory here, but to lay that number on a team that has a lengthy injury list is not a prudent choice for your bankroll. I’m going to play the total. The Devils can get lit up as shown by their 7-4 spanking by the Penguins in their most recent, but that was the first time that they have allowed over three goals in regulation in seven games. New Jersey’s offense has been dreadful in recent games with the same Pittsburgh game as the only contest that they surpassed three goals in their last ten games. In fact the Devils have scored one or fewer goals in five of the six games prior to their lastest. They’ll take on an Islanders team without John Tavares and a team that has been getting it done on defense. They’ve allowed a paltry four goals over their last four games and only one team has turned the red light on more than three times in their last 12 games. Cory Schneider is expected to be in between the pipes for the Devils and he has been a disaster, but he did turn in a good performance earlier this season against tonight’s foe and can turn it around tonight.
The Pacific has been one of the most competitive divisions all season long with the top four teams trading wins for losses in their individual season series. This particular matchup has been one of the best and Saturday night’s rubber game should be a good, hard-fought battle for all three periods.
In the end, I am leaning towards Edmonton taking the season series with the win on Saturday as once again home ice prevails.