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
NHL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu: Check Back Later
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 Betting Matchups Odds, Washington Capitals at Nashville Predators Picks

Nashville Predators

Capitals at Predators Picks

By Adam Markowitz

The Nashville Predators are the hottest team in the Western Conference right now. Nashville has won four in a row and has proved itself against some of the best teams in the NHL during that slate. The Preds went on the road to win against Anaheim, Los Angeles, and Columbus and followed that up with a shootout win over Pittsburgh in the Music City on Saturday. Their quest to top every one of the best teams in the league during this run continues on Tuesday night when they host the Washington Capitals in NBC’s Tuesday night hockey showdown.

Washington Capitals at Nashville Predators
Date and Time: Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
NHL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu: Check Back Later
Capitals at Predators TV Coverage: NBCSN

Recently, it’s been Nashville’s offense that has come alive in its wins. The Predators have tallied at least three goals in every one of their wins during this recent swing and that has overshadowed some uncharacteristically poor goaltender play. Nashville has allowed 11 goals during this timeframe and it comes as no surprise that three of those four games went over the total.

Washington has been on fire since the start of November. Although the Caps dropped one on national television to the Sabres last week, they have won five of their six this month. Under has been a great bet in Washington games as the last five tilts have had five goals or less.

Key Stats

The Capitals are a little fortunate to be tied for second in the Metropolitan Division at this point. They aren’t as lucky as the Penguins who somehow have the same amount of points despite being -18 in goal differential, but it’s interesting to see Washington with a winning record although it is breakeven in goal differential.

Any time you talk about Washington, the first player that comes to mind is Alex Ovechkin. However, Evgeny Kuznetsov may be even more important to the team this year and he has certainly been more consistent with his performances. Kuznetsov has 16 assists already this season and has played a big part in Washington’s wins. In the Caps’ 10 wins, he has 14 assists, but in the team’s eight losses, he has just two helpers.

While there is certainly correlation with those stats, that amount of correlation is off the charts. Averaging a point and a half per game in wins is extremely impressive and shows that he is coming through for his team.

Player to Watch

Pekka Rinne is the leader of Nashville and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Rinne has been phenomenal this season and has an 8-2-2 record when he is between the pipes. He boasts a 2.23 GAA and a .929 save percentage and continues to dominate into his mid-30s.

His performance has been even more impressive when you consider the fate of his backup, Juuse Saros. Saros has really struggled in his four starts this season, posting a record of 1-3. He has a 3.94 GAA and a save percentage of just .855.

There were doubts about Rinne coming into this season because of his age, but he is continuing to prove all the naysayers wrong. Nashville has to hope that he doesn’t go down with an injury though or else it could submarine its season.

Capitals at Predators Free Picks

The Predators have the advantage when it comes to special teams. Nashville is in the top ten when it comes to both the power play and the penalty kill. That has really helped a team that doesn’t score many goals keep finding ways to win.

Conversely, Washington is in the bottom half of the NHL in both categories. The power play is of particular concern as it should be better with so many playmakers and sharpshooters on this roster, but it has been lacking.

Nashville should be a short to moderate favorite in this one and the Predators are a solid bet. They play great at home and will have a loud, energetic crowd with the Caps in town.

Capitals at Predators Pick: Grab the Predators on the moneyline
Capitals at Predators Score Prediction: Predators 3 – Capitals 1

NHL Hockey Odds, Boston Bruins at New York Rangers Picks

Bruins at Rangers Picks

Bruins at Rangers Picks

By Adam Markowitz

It will be a battle of Original Six teams on Wednesday night when the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers clash in historic Madison Square Garden. If the postseason started right now, both teams would miss the playoffs, but Boston has played three less games than New York. The last time these two sides met, the Rangers scored a 2-1 victory in MSG but that was last season. This is the first of three meetings this year.

Boston Bruins at New York Rangers
Date and Time: Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
NHL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu: Check Back Later
Bruins at Rangers TV Coverage: NBCSN

The Bruins must be wondering when their luck will change. Boston has ended regulation tied in three of its last six games, but ended up losing every game in either overtime or a shootout. The team still got a point from the game, yet missing out on two is huge. These things typically even out over the course of the season and the Bruins have to be wondering when that will change.

New York has thrived in the extra period. The Rangers are near the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, but have won three in a row to make up some ground on the other teams. The last two were big overtime wins that came during a Sunshine State road trip. New York was an underdog to both Tampa Bay and Florida but pulled four points out of that swing and that has to have this team feeling good.

Player to Watch

Henrik Lundqvist is no longer a premier goaltender. His numbers have fallen off considerable in each of the last two seasons and it’s time to start considering him on the downslope of his career. Lundqvist was one of the best netminders the NHL had to offer for about a decade. He was phenomenal earlier this decade, not finishing with a save percentage below .920 in any season. However, last season, saw his save percentage fall to .910 and it is even worse thus far.

Through 12 starts, Lundqvist has a .902 save percentage and is averaging over three goals a game for the first time ever. Some of this is the result of defensive woes, but Lundqvist has been allowing some bad goals too. His agility is not what it used to be and that’s not good news for the Rangers.

Matchup to Watch

Boston has been fantastic on special teams this season, using that to gain an advantage on opponents. The Bruins are fourth in the NHL in power play percentage, converting on 27.9 percent of their opportunities. Rather than one person dominating the scoring on the man advantage, everyone is getting involved too. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have five points each, but David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron are right behind them with four points.

Additionally, this team has been solid on the penalty kill. The Bruins have killed off 87 percent of their opponents’ power plays this season thanks to some great forechecking from their forwards. All too often, the defensemen are given the credit or the blame for a team’s penalty kill, but Boston’s front line has really helped matters in this area.

Conversely, the Rangers have a middle of the pack penalty kill and an above average power play.

Bruins at Rangers Free Picks

Both teams have a game on Monday night prior to this one. The Bruins will be hosting a Minnesota Wild team that is not off to the blazing start it was last year, while the Rangers will be hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets. There isn’t a lot of distance between these two cities, so fatigue and travel won’t be factors.

I really like Boston in this spot. Lundqvist has not looked sharp this year, but you will still be able to get Boston as an underdog because the game is in MSG. Look for the Bruins to notch a comfortable victory on enemy ice.

Bruins at Rangers Pick: Jump on the Bruins as an underdog in New York
Bruins at Rangers Score Prediction: Bruins 4 – Rangers 1