At this point, it’s hard to put into words how wack the first five weeks of picks have been for me this season. My Gold Picks have been anything but and my overall record is currently resembling something out of a betting degenerate’s nightmare. However, as most experienced bettors know, this is chess not checkers (Denzel Washington voice). And if you come out and bet each and every week till the end of the season, there is still plenty of opportunity to get this loot train rolling. Don’t forget, I finished last year with a 56 percent winning percentage, so things will get better.
Today’s board features 15 matchups that include four afternoon tilts, and despite the shaky first month or two, I am still confident I can get my record, and hopefully your pocketbook, back to a respectable spot.
While you are probably thinking I should just crush about 15 pilsners and throw some darts at a board to choose my picks, I’m going to stay the course, crunch some numbers and get back on track. Keep the chirps coming and let’s make some coin. Good luck.
Side bets: 7-9
Overall total record: 12-19
Washington Capitals @ Boston Bruins – Pick: Capitals
Now, before you start mashing keys in the comments section, I know, betting on a road dog for my Gold Pick after five straight weeks of losing probably isn’t the safest way to a winning record. But, after reading into this one a little bit and looking at the matchup for both clubs, I really like this spot for Washington (so start betting on Boston – right!?).
Both of these Eastern Conference juggernauts played Friday night, with the Bruins beating their Atlantic Division 'rivals' in the Toronto Maple Leafs, while the Caps got dusted by the up-and-coming Montreal Canadiens. With that in mind, Washington will have No. 1 stud Braden Holtby manning the blue paint tonight against Bruins backup Jaroslav Halak. (For more starting goalie information, see Goalie Post.) So edge to the Caps as the usually steady Halak has struggled of late, allowing 14 goals and posting a .893 save percentage over his last four games.
Aside from the edge between the pipes, Washington absolutely owns Boston over the last few seasons. The Caps are 14-1 in their last 15 games against the B’s including seven straight victories at TD Garden – I see this trend continuing tonight.
Washington wins this one in a tight-checking affair. My first Gold Pick win of the year. Fingers crossed.
New York Rangers @ Florida Panthers – Pick: Panthers
For whatever reason, I can’t seem to help myself from betting on the Panthers each week. I like their forward group, their D-core is underrated and now with perennial Vezina Trophy threat Sergei Bobrovsky patrolling the crease, I really do think the Cats are the real deal. Aside from the team’s quality and overall solid start to the season, Florida squares off against a banged-up New York team struggling to find wins and its identity.
With Mika Zibanejad and Jacob Trouba both injured and first-round draft pick Kaapo Kakko dealing with the flu, Florida’s task tonight is that much easier. With that and the Rangers’ tendency to be very inconsistent being factored in here, you won’t see a ton of value betting on the Panthers straight up, so make sure you are getting the best line and sprinkle this bet with another pick or two and hammer a parlay.
Panthers win handily in this one. My Silver Pick of the week.
Winnipeg Jets @ Tampa Bay Lightning (Over/Under 6.5) – Pick: Over
The sleeping giants that have been the Tampa Bay Lightning this campaign have seemingly woken from their early-season slumber. Wins in three straight contests, including a complete 9-3 dismantling of the Rangers on Thursday, have seen the Lightning start to climb the Eastern Conference standings once again. Meanwhile, the Jets have also started to play better of late with points in seven of their last 10 games.
Both teams are loaded with offensive weapons up front and both tend to score in bunches when they square off. Four of the last five contests between these two offensive-minded clubs in Florida have gone over the total, and with the Lightning starting to fire on all cylinders, I love this spot for a high-scoring matchup featuring two clubs that seem to score first and play defense later.
Much like the rest of my picks, betting on Overs hasn’t exactly been paying off for me, but I have to stick to my guns and go with what my gut and the numbers are telling me. Take the Over, especially if you can shop around a little and find it somewhere at 6 instead of 6.5.
Ottawa Senators @ Buffalo Sabres – Pick: Sabres
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Pittsburgh Penguins – Pick: Maple Leafs
Anaheim Ducks @ St. Louis Blues – Pick: Blues
Flip Livingstone is a former NHL writer for theScore with past experience at such outlets as Narcity Media, Postmedia, and Hockey Night in Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @FlipLivingstone and @Flips_Picks