In the past, other team sports would give way to March Madness on its unofficial opening day. Not so this year as the NHL for example has betting odds on eight different games today.
Underdogs continue to cash regularly of late against the NHL odds, but I have a sneaking suspicion that will not be the case for my NHL picks.
On this day, let’s have a toast with some green Bud Light (gulp), corned beef and cabbage or maybe just a stuffed potato and hope our Irish eyes are smiling and we can produce three hockey winners.
There are many ways to view the Pittsburgh Penguins (37-32 SU) this season. They fired their coach a couple months into the season after uninspired play. Most believed Pittsburgh was living in the past with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, trying to hang on to past glories. The Penguins did slowly improve and their once pedestrian offense has moved up from under 2.5 goals a game to 12th in the league at 2.71. The defense has also taken steps forward and now has Top 10 stop troops at 2.46 GAG allowed.
Once thinking about just making the playoffs, Pittsburgh is attempting to get out of wild card status into one the Top 3 slots in the Metropolitan Division. They can gain ground as -230 home favorites over Carolina (31-39 SU) with a victory. While we do not know what the closing money line will actually be, -230 favorite with a total of 5 like this one is presently have taken 11 of 12, which places the Pens in a very good spot.
Free Pick – Pittsburgh wins
Last evening, Anaheim had an opportunity to climb within two points of Los Angeles (42-27 SU) by defeating the New York Rangers (40-30 SU) and failed to so is 2-1 home loss. The Kings will look to pick up where their closest rival came up short and expand their lead in the Pacific.
With all the leaders in the Central slumping, the Kings with a victory move into virtual first place tie in the Western Conference and would like nothing more than then path to get to the Stanley Cup have to go through L.A.
The Kings are somewhat surprising -170 home favorite, when you consider they are only two points ahead of New York. But oddsmakers are also looking at current form of the goaltenders and the Kings Jonathan Quick has a 1.45 goals-against average while going 3-0-1 over his last four starts, with a 1.97 GAA in 10 career meetings with the Rangers.