You can feel it in the air when you step out your front door in the morning, you can almost taste it: hockey season is back, baby. And with the first Saturday full of games ready for our betting enjoyment, it’s safe to say I am pretty fired up and ready to get my weekly picks column going again for the 2019-2020 campaign.
Last year was a first for me at Dobber Hockey, and as you can see below, I had a fairly solid season offering you up a Gold, Silver and Bronze pick each Saturday along with a few side bets worth sprinkling a wager on (see complete record below).
Back to today’s slate of games where 13 contests await, but a heads up for all you betting degenerates out there: the start of any season in any major sports league can always be a very tough time to place wagers, especially in the NHL. Teams are still adjusting to new systems, coaches, and players, so predicting how things will play out so early in the season is far from an exact science. With that in mind, tread lightly to kick things off and stick to the following plays.
I will be back each Saturday of the season offering up picks, so keep it locked right here and be sure to follow along on Twitter for more. Thanks a lot, good luck this season, and in the words of the wise Paul Newman, “A dollar won is twice as sweet as a dollar earned.”
Let’s drop the puck on another season of picks.
Side bets: 28-26
Overall combined: 61-47 (56%)
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Florida Panthers – Pick: Lightning
The battle of Florida renews for its second installment of the young season this evening, with Tampa Bay taking the first contest in convincing 5-2 fashion on Thursday night. Most hockey heads won’t soon forget the Lightning’s dismantling at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of last year’s playoffs, but there is no denying the club’s quality as a true Cup contender with elite talent up and down the lineup.
Tampa showed just two nights ago it’s the far superior team in this matchup, and despite the Panthers being back on home ice for their season opener with a bolstered squad that now boasts an all-world goaltender in Sergei Bobrovsky, I still very much like this spot for a Lightning group that still has a lot to prove after its first-round drubbing. The Bolts are 7-0 in their last seven matchups against Florida, and I expect that win streak to continue tonight in Sunrise.
Take the Lightning to win by at least two goals, good for my Gold pick of the week.
L.A. Kings @ Edmonton Oilers (O/U 5.5) – Pick: Under 5.5 total goals
Whenever I see two teams square off that are seriously lacking in the goal-scoring department, I am obviously always intrigued when it comes to laying a wager on the under. Tonight’s line for the offensively-challenged Kings and Oilers sits at a very reasonable 5.5 total goals, I think you know where I am going here.
L.A. finished second-last in team scoring last season, and despite employing two of the most dangerous forwards on the planet in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton still struggles to put pucks in the net, scoring only 229 total goals a year ago to finish 20th in team scoring. Another interesting fact to note before considering an under bet here, six of the Kings’ last seven visits to Rogers Place have produced a total score that has gone under the number, so these two clubs definitely have the tendency for low-scoring matchups.
Don’t be shy about taking the under here, especially if you can still get it at 5.5 before puck drop.
San Jose Sharks @ Anaheim Ducks – Pick: Sharks
The new season might only be a few days old, but it’s already been a bit of a rough ride for the San Jose Sharks. A suspension to star forward Evander Kane, a nagging groin injury for Norris Trophy Candidate Erik Karlsson, and back-to-back beatings at the hands of their division rivals in the Vegas Golden Knights have made the past week one to forget for the Sharks.
Thankfully for Pete DeBoer’s crew, they face-off against an Anaheim Ducks squad they’ve won six of seven against on the road and eight of their last 10 overall. Starting a season 0-3 is far from a death sentence, but San Jose will obviously be looking to put the last week of negativity behind them with a sound performance against a far weaker division opponent.
Hammer the Sharks tonight in a great bounce-back spot, my Bronze pick of the week.
Minnesota Wild @ Colorado Avalanche – Pick: Avalanche
Montreal Canadiens @ Toronto Maple Leafs (O/U 6.5 goals) – Pick: Over 6.5 total goals
Detroit Red Wings @ Nashville Predators – Pick: Predators
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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