NHL Handicapping: Weekend Hockey Betting Primer With Free Picks
by Dave Schwab - 2/17/2012
The stretch run in the race to the Stanley Cup Playoffs is underway and just about every day in the NHL has a couple matchups on the slate that could have major implications on the final postseason picture.
Nashville Predators (142) vs. Detroit Red Wings (-156)
Total Line: 5.5
This matchup features two of the hottest teams in the Western Conference with Nashville posting a 6-2-2 record in its last 10 games to move to fifth-place in the standings with 72 total points, while Detroit continues to roll with a four-game winning streak and seven victories in its last 10 games to increase its NHL-best point total to 80 points.
The Predators have the unenviable task of trying to end the Red Wings’ record-setting 21-game home winning streak, but the actual play in this game is on the total line. During this amazing run, Detroit has only given-up more than two goals twice in the 21 games and once in its last 16 at home. It is ranked fifth in the NHL in goals allowed with a goals-against-average of 2.33.
The total has stayed ‘under’ in six of the last eight meetings overall and in the last three games in Detroit. This contest should be another tight battle with neither team tallying enough goals to take the total over 5.5.
The Prediction: UNDER
Washington Capitals (100) vs. Florida Panthers (-120)
Total Line: 5
Washington comes into this Southeast Division showdown just four points out of the lead, but riding a three-game losing streak and has just three wins in its last 10 games. Florida is coming off a 6-2 rout at the hands of Ottawa this past Wednesday as a -123 home favorite, but is still 6-3-1 in its last 10 games. It currently leads the Southeast with 65 points.
The Capitals have won just once in their last five games on the road and are 9-15-3 in 27 road games this season. The Panthers were 3-1 at home in their last four games before Wednesday’s loss. They are 14-6-7 at home this season overall.
The home team has dominated this series over the past few seasons with an 8-1 record in the last nine meetings. This year, each team has won twice at home with the road team getting outscored 16-6. Friday night’s clash stays true to these recent trends with Florida extending its lead in the division to six points with a huge win at home.
The Prediction: Florida 4, Washington 2
Boston Bruins (-162) vs. Winnipeg Jets (147)
Total Line: 5.5
Boston leads Ottawa by four points in the Northeast Division with a total of 72 points and has an overall record of 35-18-2, but is just 3-4 in its last seven games. Winnipeg’s early-season success has faded with an overall record of 27-26-6, but it continues to hang around in the Eastern Conference playoff race with 60 points and has a 3-2 record in its last five games.
The Bruins are clearly the better team in this matchup but have really struggled with consistency over the past few weeks with 12 goals in their last three wins and one goal in their last four losses. The Jets have done a better job at finding the back of the net in their last five outings with an average of three goals a game as opposed to a 2.37 goals-per-game average on the year.
Boston has won four of the last six meetings overall, but Winnipeg has won the last three games at home, including a 2-1 victory in early December as a +122 home underdog. Stick with the Jets and an attractive money line as a home underdog to once again pull off an upset.
The Prediction: Winnipeg 3, Boston 2
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