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.
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.
I missed the mark in Game 1 with a play on the UNDER and remain amazed with how many goals Pittsburgh tallied against Rinne on so few shots. Nashville controlled the pace of this game and I believe it was a victim of a bad call when that first period goal was disallowed.
Look for the Predators to once again keep the majority of play in Pittsburgh’s end of the ice and this time around their efforts result in a victory that evens this series at a game apiece.
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.