NHL Hockey Betting Picks, Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals Odds

NHL Odds

Bruins at Capitals Picks

By Adam Markowitz

For the second time in two nights, the Washington Capitals will be on national television when they host the Boston Bruins on Thursday night. Washington has started to come alive in the month of December and is looking to keep the momentum it built up before Christmas. The Caps have been one of the best regular season teams in the NHL for the last decade, but have yet to reach even the Eastern Conference Finals. This year they are hoping for things to be different.

Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals
Date and Time: Thursday, December 28, 2017, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
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Bruins at Capitals TV Coverage: NBCSN

Boston has won its last four games coming into this one, taking care of business as a favorite all four times. The defense has been great during that stretch, allowing just four goals, and that helped the under to go 3-1 in that time. This is one of the more defensive minded clubs you will find, and the Bruins have seen 19 of their 34 games go under the total.

The Capitals lost their last two games before the break. Washington just couldn’t find much offense out west against Arizona and Las Vegas. However, before that point, the Caps had won eight of nine, including a win over Boston on the road in that stretch. This team hasn’t lost at home since November 30, and is 14-5 on home ice this season.

Last Meeting

Boston is hoping its luck will change playing Washington in a new venue. The Bruins have lost both of their home games to the Capitals already this season, getting outscored 8-4.

These two teams met two weeks ago in Beantown, with Washington pouring it on in the third period in order to get the win. Two Alex Chiasson goals, one shorthanded, midway through the period put the Caps up 4-1, and it was all over from that point.

Special teams were extremely important in that meeting. Boston and Washington combined to tally three power play goals on nine chances and Chiasson had the shortie as previously mentioned.

Additionally, what killed Boston was its inability to outscore Washington in the second period despite outshooting the Capitals 13-3. Both teams tallied a goal in that frame and that kept the pressure on Boston.

Player to Watch

Braden Holtby has been a Vezina contender for each of the last three seasons, but has not played well so far this year. Holtby is in his late 20s, and the Caps believed that the future was bright for him after posting a career-low 2.07 GAA in 2016-17.

Unfortunately, his numbers have regressed in a big way now that he no longer has some of the first-class defensemen he once did. Holtby has a 2.65 GAA this season and has seen far more shots this year than in the last three seasons.

His save percentage has taken a slight dip, so it’s obvious the main culprit is the defense. However, at the end of the day, it’s Holtby that gets the credit or the blame for how many goals the opponent scores. He has allowed at least two goals in each of his last five outings.

Bruins at Capitals Free Picks

Washington’s success this season is a little curious when you look at certain stats. There is usually a good correlation between shots taken and shots allowed and a team’s success, but the Caps have thrown that out the window. They are getting outshot by an average of three shots a game, yet keep finding ways to win games. Neither of the special teams units have been that good, and still their pucks keep finding their way into the back of the net.

That’s why I’m going to go with the underdog here. Boston is good enough on the defensive end to stop Washington, and the Bruins were a little unlucky the last time these teams met. Back Boston to pull off the upset as a good-sized underdog.

Bruins at Capitals Pick: Grab the Bruins on the moneyline
Bruins at Capitals Score Prediction: Bruins 4 – Capitals 2

NHL Hockey Betting Odds, Boston Bruins vs Buffalo Sabres Picks

Bruins at Sabres Picks

By Adam Markowitz

NHL Betting Odds

The Buffalo Sabres are the worst team in the Eastern Conference by a wide margin. They have just 23 points through 33 games and are six points behind Florida, the next worst team in the East. It’s looking very likely that Buffalo will be missing out on the postseason for the seventh straight year. Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins are in a decent position to get back to the playoffs and are looking to stop a recent skid. They lost their last two games and that has stopped their rise in the standings. They have games in hand on every other team in the conference though.

Boston Bruins at Buffalo Sabres
Date and Time:Tuesday, December 19, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York
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Bruins at Sabres TV Coverage: NBCSN

Buffalo continues to slide in the standings. The Sabres have won just three of their last 18 games this year and they have been held to one goal or less in half of those games. It’s hard to win like that and it’s no wonder that the team has been struggling.

The Bruins have been able to put pucks on the net lately and are back to playing the solid defense that they are known for. Although that hasn’t worked in their last two games, they have the 11th best scoring defense in the NHL now.

Letdown, Look ahead Situation

There aren’t many chances where you might be able to confidently back the Sabres, but this is one of them. Buffalo last played on Friday and after this game won’t have to play again until next Friday. The team has been able to stay in Buffalo the whole time and that extra rest helps over the course of the NHL season.

Boston is about to catch up with the other teams in the East in terms of games played. The Bruins just got done playing three days in four days last week, playing on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Now they are about to do the same thing and they have a road trip in there as well.

On Monday, Boston hosts Columbus. After that game is over, the Bruins have to travel to Buffalo for this game the next day and then they host Winnipeg on Thursday. They will be on much more tired legs than Buffalo and that gives the Sabres the advantage in one area.

Key Stats

Buffalo’s offense has been the worst in the NHL this season. The Sabres are dead last in the league in scoring with just 2.2 goals per game on the year. Outside of Evander Kane and Jack Eichel, this team just doesn’t have any playmakers and no one besides those two is in double digits in goals this season.

The offense has a tough task too. Boston is playing good defense again and the goaltending has rebounded after a rocky start to the season. Anton Khudobin and Tuukka Rask are both stopping more than 91 percent of their shots and the defense is limiting the number of shots that these two see.

Bruins at Sabres Free Picks

These two teams played early in the season in what was surprisingly an offensive outburst. This was one of Buffalo’s eight wins and it came in thrilling fashion as the team went into Boston and overcame two different three-goal deficits in order to get a 5-4 win in overtime.

Buffalo dominated the run of the game after the first period. Boston jumped out to a lead, but the Sabres outshot the Bruins 21 to 6 in the third period and extra frame and that led to Buffalo getting the win.

The Sabres have a great chance to win this game and you can probably get good odds on them here. Many people will jump on the chance to back Boston at a short price and not care that the Bruins are on the road and will be tired. Go the other way and hope that you can get Buffalo as a home underdog because of it.

Bruins at Sabres Pick: Look for Buffalo to get a much needed home win
Bruins at Sabres Score Prediction: Sabres 4 – Bruins 2

 

NHL Hockey Picks, Bruins vs Red Wings Betting Lines

NHL Betting Odds

Bruins at Red Wings Picks

By Adam Markowitz

The Detroit Red Wings saw their 25-year postseason streak come to an end last year and are in danger of missing out on the postseason yet again. Detroit is sitting in 13th in the Eastern Conference after 29 games with just 27 points. Averaging under a point a game is not a recipe for success and the Red Wings know they need to turn things around soon. They will try to start getting back on track when they host the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.

Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings
Date and Time: Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
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Bruins at Red Wings TV Coverage: NBCSN

Detroit has been in a freefall lately and needs to snap out of it. The Red Wings have lost eight of their last nine and have been blown out in most of those games. The nadir was last week when they lost 10-1 to Montreal, when Paul Byron had a hat trick midway through the second period.

In those nine games, the Red Wings gave up 43 goals, an average of nearly five goals per game. That’s an incredible number and highlights how bad the defense has been. Unsurprisingly, the over cashed in seven of those nine games.

On the other hand, Boston has really been coming on strong. The Bruins are 8-2 over their last 10 games and have received some awesome goaltending over that stretch. Boston has limited opponents to an average of two goals a game over its last 10.

However, the Bruins have been a much different team on the road when compared to home. Boston is 9-4-2 at home, but just 5-5-2 away from Beantown.

Key Stats

Detroit has one of the worst goal differentials in the NHL. The Red Wings are getting outscored by over a half-goal per game on average and it’s a wonder that they aren’t in the cellar. Both Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek have been getting beat in goal and no one outside of Anthony Mantha has been scoring with regularity.

Special teams play has been what has kept Detroit competitive. The Red Wings have a top ten power play and a top ten penalty kill and that has helped make the goal differential better. At even strength, this team has been really bad and that’s concerning.

Matchup to Watch

No matter who is in goal for Boston on Wednesday, the Bruins will have the goaltending edge. While Mrazek and Howard have had their share of woes, Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobinhave been great and have really come on strong.

Rask struggled at the start of the season, but has started to look like his old self recently and has reclaimed his starting spot. His GAA and save percentage are still both a little higher than usual, yet those numbers are much more in line with his averages than what we saw a few weeks ago.

Khudobin emerged as a solid backup while Rask was struggling. Khudobinhas a 7-1-2 record and has a .922 save percentage on the season. He has taken a back seat to Rask again, but will likely either get the start here or the next night when the Bruins host Washington.

Bruins at Red Wings Free Picks

Checking the injury report, while Detroit is pretty much injury free, Boston has a few issues to keep in mind. LW Peter Cehlarik and C Ryan Spooner are both still on injured reserve and C Noel Acciari is considered day-to-day.

I believe that Detroit will be a slight favorite in this one because it is playing at home and Boston has been struggling on the road. However, while Boston will be well-rested with three full days off before this one, Detroit played a game on Monday night against Florida.

Boston has been playing better more complete hockey and I think the extra time off will help the Bruins overcome their road woes. Back the Bruins here, especially if they are an underdog.

Bruins at Red Wings Pick: Back the boys from Beantown
Bruins at Red Wings Score Prediction: Bruins 3 – Red Wings 2

NHL Hockey Picks, New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins Odds

NHL Odds

Rangers at Penguins Picks

By Adam Markowitz

Two long-time rivals will square off once again when the Pittsburgh Penguins play host to the New York Rangers this Tuesday. Pittsburgh has been on a tear after struggling through the early part of the season and has now won four in a row after losing three in a row heading into Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, New York has turned it around recently too. The Rangers have won five of their last six and Henrik Lundqvist is finally starting to look like The King again.

New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins
Date and Time: Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Rangers at Penguins TV Coverage: NBCSN

The over has typically been a great bet when these teams meet up. In the last eight meetings between the Rangers and the Penguins, the over is 8-1-1. Additionally, the road team has had the better of it lately in this series, with the visiting side winning seven of the last 10 games.

Pittsburgh has won its last four because the offense has kicked it into another gear. The Penguins have scored 19 goals over those four games and unsurprisingly won all four. That has helped them even up what was an awful goal differential at the start of the season. This has been a completely different team at home than it has been away. Pittsburgh is 9-2-1 at home on the season.

The Rangers have not been away from the Big Apple much so far this season. They have only played eight of their 26 games on the road and that doesn’t fare well for their playoff chances as they are currently sixth in the Metropolitan Division right now. New York is just 3-5 away from Madison Square Garden.

Player to Watch

Tristan Jarry has been fantastic in relief of regular goaltender Matt Murray. Murray was injured against Philadelphia back on November 28 and is considered out for at least a few weeks with a lower-body injury.

In his stead, Jarry has been fantastic. He has led the Penguins to the win in each of their last four games and has only allowed five goals in 205 minutes of ice time during that stretch.

Jarry has been the team’s backup goaltender ever since the team got rid of Antti Niemi after three disastrous performances and has looked very good in the role. He has a .937 save percentage and a 1.99 GAA to boot. Jarry should get the start again on Tuesday after two days of rest.

Last Meeting

It was a high scoring affair the last time these two teams played. Both Murray and Lundqvist had trouble shutting down the opposition as the offenses swarmed the net with impunity.

Pittsburgh got off to a 2-0 lead with goals from Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin in the first frame, but the Rangers got three goals in a span of two and a half minutes midway through the second. Two of those came on a power play as Sidney Crosby uncharacteristically lost his cool and got a double minor for high sticking.

The game turned five minutes later when Crosby and Hagelin went to the box within three seconds of each other giving the Rangers a five on three. This time they couldn’t convert and Pittsburgh actually drew a penalty on the tail end of the five on three. PatricHornqvist scored to tie the game up and the Crosby and Evgeni Malkin turned it on late to give Pittsburgh the 5-4 win.

Rangers at Penguins Free Picks

This game should have less scoring now that Lundqvist is playing well. He had his share of woes through the early part of the season, but has allowed just nine goals in his last six starts. He did get run by Florida in the Rangers lone loss over those last six, but probably needed the rest.

I think the under is going to be the play here as the total should come out at 5.5 or 6. Lundqvist has been particularly good when given two days of rest or more and Jarry is looking good.

Rangers at Penguins Pick: Bet the under
Rangers at Penguins Score Prediction: Penguins2 – Rangers 1