NHL Hockey Picks, Blackhawks at Rangers Betting Lines

NHL Hockey Picks

Blackhawks at Rangers Picks

By Adam Markowitz

We’re getting a good look at the New York Rangers this week. The Rangers were on national television on New Year’s Day, taking on Buffalo in the Winter Classic, and now we will see them square off against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Rangers are in good position for the postseason at this moment, but would like to catch Washington and New Jersey. Meanwhile, Chicago is still struggling to shift into another level and would be out of the playoffs if the season ended today.

Chicago Blackhawks at New York Rangers
Date and Time: Wednesday, January 3, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
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Blackhawks at Rangers TV Coverage: NBCSN

Like most of the NHL, Chicago has been better at home than it has been on the road. However, the Blackhawks are still good at covering the puckline when they are the road team. They are 13-8 ATS on the road this season and have made bettors a little bit of money. That’s despite winning just one game on their latest five-game road trip.

The Rangers have been a solid team to bet on this season and have made you money whether backing them on the moneyline or ATS. They have won 15 of their 24 games at MSG, and have been lighting the lamp with regularity on home ice as well. Picking up an overtime ‘road’ win against Buffalo in the Winter Classic gives them a nice little boost too.

Player to Watch

It’s been a bumpy road for Henrik Lundqvist this season, but he is finally starting to look like ‘The King’ once again. Lundqvist did not have a good October, posting a 3.2 GAA and a save percentage under .900. He has really come alive over the last two months though.

In November, he posted a save percentage of .927, and he put up an even better number of .936 in the month of December. He was lights out against Buffalo in the Winter Classic too, so it looks like he might be off to a strong start in January.

He has been great at home too this season. Lundqvist is 13-4-2 on home ice with a save percentage of .923.

However, he really struggled in his previous outing against Chicago and didn’t’ make it through the game. Lundqvist allowed four goals on 34 shots in a 6-3 loss.

Key Stats

Blackhawks fans keep on waiting for this team to turn the corner. They have a positive goal differential, so they should have a better record then they do.

However, two main things have been holding this team back. The first is an inability to make teams pay by scoring on the power play. Chicago has the third-worst power play in the league, something that’s unfathomable considering the amount of offensive firepower on the roster. The Blackhawks have converted on just 15 percent of their chances this season.

Additionally, Chicago’s defense has allowed far too many shots on net. Opponents are putting 33 pucks on net a night against the Blackhawks, and that has burdened the goaltending. Corey Crawford has played well despite this, but backup Anton Forsberg has not.

Blackhawks at Rangers Free Picks

Patrick Kane is having a great season for the Blackhawks. He is averaging a point a game and has kept this offense respectable despite some down years from the other big names on the roster.Kane has 13 more points than anyone else on the team and needs to start getting more help from his teammates.

The Rangers don’t have a superstar on their roster, but have three solid lines that can give the team production. There are already 14 players who are in double-digits in points for the Rangers this season, and that makes it hard for teams without much depth at defense to battle this team effectively.

Chicago is going to have a tough time against New York’s second- and third-line. Look for each of those lines to net a goal in a Rangers victory.

Blackhawks at Rangers Pick: Grab the Rangers on the puck line
Blackhawks at Rangers Score Prediction: Rangers 3 – Blackhawks 1

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, 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
NHL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu: Check Back Later
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

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