Halfway through February, we look to attack the betting odds with fervor. We have seven contests on ice to choose from, though one of them is unplayable and that will not be the last one we will see.
With Chicago having lost three consecutive home games, if memory serves correct, the Blackhawks are the first -300 money line favorite of the season. There might have been one or two others, but I am quite certain it is the first opening 3-to-1 favorite of the season for NHL odds.
If yesterday was an indication of the relative strengths and weaknesses of Boston and Detroit in their nationally televised contests, if one or both make the playoffs, they looked ill-equipped to get out of the first round defensively in 6-5 high scoring affair with defenses that were brutal.
For NHL picks today, here are the three choices starting with the best one first.
One of the most unusual aspects of team sports is how sometimes how one player can impact an entire team. This is the case with Anaheim (27-27 SU), who has gone from worst to third place in the Pacific Division and also climbed out of the basement as the league’s worst offensive team thanks to center Ryan Getzlaf. The captain has been the catalyst in the Ducks resurgence with 19 points in 15 games after 23 points in first 35 contests.
Getzlaf in unlikely to slow down tonight, averaging better than a point a game in 52 tilts against Calgary (25-29 SU), who has lost nine of 11 (includes playoffs) to Anaheim. Though the Flames have long been a good home team, the Ducks style of play has been a problem for them and they are 2-11 at home against squads with a three or more shots on goal differential. Anaheim as -135 on the road looks to be right play.
Free Pick – Anaheim wins
Mentioned already how bad Detroit played on defense yesterday in rare victory over Boston. Maybe it was just an anomaly for the Red Wings since they had allowed five scores in previous four games. However, the offense looked like Detroit clubs of old with superior puck possession and great passing to keep the pressure on opposing defenses and they have averaged 3.6 goals a game in last six outings.
The New York Islanders offense has been excellent and the defense not so much, leading to recent 7-1-1 OVER run. The offense is sparking at 3.7 GAG in this stretch, while the defense has been beaten for better than three goals a game (3.11) over same time span.