Saturday’s NHL Picks: Oil Boom
There's no getting around it: last week was pretty wack when it comes to my picks. I can't put my finger on it, exactly (obviously), but I just can't seem to catch a break or a bounce these days – but that's how she goes sometimes when you make wagers on the regular. With a rough 2-4 showing from last week now behind me, it's time to get serious and back on track with a big winning week. I'm really feeling these picks. Today's board has 10 matchups on tap, including four matinee games.
With 12 teams in action on Friday night, make sure you know who's between the pipes tonight. You don't ever want to lay a bet down without knowing the starting netminders. Good luck and let's get this paper.
Side bets: 23-20
Overall total record: 42-42-1
Columbus Blue Jackets @ Edmonton Oilers – Pick: Oilers
Oilers GM Ken Holland was a busy man ahead of the trade deadline trying to bolster his crew's depth with the additions of Tyler Ennis, Andreas Athanasiou, and Mike Green. However, the results since have been somewhat mixed. Athanasiou has bounced up-and-down the lineup with five straight scoreless games, Green is on IR with a busted knee (MCL), and Ennis has been so-so. Despite that, the club is playing pretty solid hockey right now with points in four of its last six, currently sitting two points back of the Pacific Division lead.
On the other hand, Columbus is a seriously busted-up crew. Injuries at every position to key players (including Seth Jones, Josh Anderson, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Elvis Merzlikins, etc.) at this crucial point of the season have the Jackets treading water and clinging to their playoffs lives. Columbus has not only struggled of late with just two wins in its last 10, but the team also hasn't fared well recently against Edmonton, either. John Tortorella's men have lost three straight against the Oilers, being dominated in those matchups by the tune of 12-2.
This is the classic case of two teams trending in opposite directions. James Neal is back in the lineup for Edmonton and the team is getting healthy at just the right time. Whereas the beleaguered Blue Jackets can't seem to catch a break these days and are in for another rough ride tonight. Oilers take the two points here, my Gold play of the week.
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Boston Bruins (Over/Under 5.5) – Pick: Over
Quite clearly the premier matchup of the day, as Tampa and Boston lock horns in what could be a playoff series in the very near future. Now, let's get down to business, shall we? The most-recent contest between these two Eastern Conference heavyweights was far from explosive. In fact, it was a complete snoozer with the Bruins earning the 2-1 victory. Not exactly what you want to hear when considering an Over bet tonight.
However, the previous four games between the Bolts and B's averaged a whopping 7.2 goals per contest. This matchup has all the makings of a high-scoring game: Tampa sits just two goals shy of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the overall league lead in goals this season with 233 tallies thus far and the club employs one of the deepest offensive lineups in the NHL. Factor in the line is now sitting at 5.5 because of the most-recent matchup's stinginess and that Boston has arguably the most dangerous offensive line in the league with David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron, and this one could go Over the number in a hurry.
The Bruins are starting to run away with the division, but this still should be a tightly-contested affair full of goals. Tampa-Boston goes Over for my Silver Pick of the week.
Buffalo Sabres @ Philadelphia Flyers – Pick: Flyers -1.5
This one is simple. We have the hottest team in the league in the high-powered Philadelphia Flyers taking on the coldest team in the sputtering Buffalo Sabres. Someone save Jack Eichel from the sinking ship that is this Buffalo hockey franchise, because this team is a complete sh*t-show. No clear No. 1 goalie, an extremely dodgy blue-line and a top-heavy forward group has seen the Sabres win only two of their last eight contests and fall completely out of contention.
The Flyers, on the other hand, are rolling. Wins in eight in row has Philly breathing down the necks of the Washington Capitals for the Metro Division title. Aside from the hot and cold streaks these two squads are on, the recent history between them has me wanting to hammer something big on Philadelphia tonight. Buffalo has lost six straight matchups against the Flyers in the City of Brotherly Love and Philly is a really good team in their own barn overall, touting the best home record in the league this campaign at 24-5-4.
Wagering on the Flyers straight-up will bring you little to no value, so your best bet here is on the puck line at -1.5. I have a feeling Buffalo gets completely slapped around in this one, so hammer Philly for an easy win.
New Jersey Devils @ New York Rangers Pick: Rangers
Montreal Canadiens @ Florida Panthers (Over/Under 6) – Pick: Over
Ottawa Senators @ San Jose Sharks – Pick: Sharks
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
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