NHL Handicapping: Weekend Hockey Betting Primer With Free Picks
by Dave Schwab - 3/9/2012
The start of this season’s NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs is less than a month away and from here on in the games start to take-on a certain sense of urgency as teams continue to try and position themselves for a long run in the postseason.
When it comes to NHL betting, there are a number of teams that have provided a profitable return on the money line all season long. The following are our three free NHL picks for this Friday night in the featuring a few of these proven money makers. All betting lines are provided by 5Dimes.
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Florida Panthers (175) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (-210)
Total Line: 5.5
Florida’s lead over Washington and Winnipeg in the Southeast Division is down to two points after an ugly 5-0 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday night as a +131 road underdog. The Panthers are now 1-3 in their last four games overall and 5-10 in their last 15 games on the road. Their return on the money line is a costly -1103.
Pittsburgh’s current winning streak reached seven games with a 3-2 victory over Toronto on Wednesday night as a -207 home favorite. The Penguins are currently fourth in the Eastern Conference with 85 points and they have an overall record of 40-21-5. They are 22-8-2 at home this season and a very healthy +1387 on the money line.
The Penguins have won eight of the last 10 meetings overall and six straight at home. This season Pittsburgh leads the series, 2-1, but lost 4-1 the last time they played as a -102 road favorite. Despite the prohibitively high money line this time around, stick with the Penguins to get the win over the road-weary Panthers.
The Pick: Pittsburgh 3, Florida 1
New York Rangers (100) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (-120)
Total Line: 5
New York has lost its last two games, but it still maintains an eight-point lead over Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers are a solid 20-10-5 on the road this season but just 1-5 in their last six outings. The last few losses have chipped into their overall return on the money line, but it is still a healthy +995.
Chicago’s three-game winning streak came to an end with a 5-1 loss to St. Louis as a +146 road underdog this past Tuesday night. The Blackhawks are holding onto the sixth spot in the Western Conference with 79 points. They are 22-7-4 at home this season and 8-2 in their last 10. Chicago’s return on the money line remains in the red at -596.
These two met a couple of weeks ago with Chicago coming away with a 4-2 win as a +134 road underdog, but the Rangers have won four of the last six meetings over the past few seasons. Stick with New York in this one as this team is too good to lose games three in-a-row.
The Pick: New York 3, Chicago 2
Winnipeg Jets (115) vs. Calgary Flames (-135)
Total Line: 5
Winnipeg continues to battle for a postseason berth in the Eastern Conference and is currently tied with Washington for the eighth and final spot with 72 points. It is 6-2-2 in its last 10 games but coming off a tough 3-2 loss to Vancouver as a +170 road underdog on Thursday night. The Jets are now 11-18-4 on the road this season, but remain a profitable +1278 on the money line.
Calgary is also embroiled in a tooth-and-nail battle for the playoffs in the Western Conference. It is currently three points out of the eighth spot with 72 points. The Flames have just three wins in its last 10 games but come into this matchup fresh-off a 5-4 victory over Montreal as -149 home favorites. They are 17-10-5 at home this season and have a +89 return on the money line.
These two have only played each five other times in the last five seasons with Calgary holding a 3-2 edge. Statistically, they are evenly matched with Winnipeg having a slight edge in goals-per-game (2.56 to 2.40), but the Flames hold the edge defensively in goals allowed (2.66 to 2.74). Stick with the Calgary playing at home on three-day’s rest to grind-out the win.
The Pick: Calgary 2, Winnipeg 1
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