NHL Handicapping: Weekend Hockey Betting Primer With Free Picks
by Dave Schwab - 3/23/2012
The field for this season’s NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs is starting to take shape, but with less than two weeks left in the regular season we still have little idea of the actual matchups. There are a number of games on the schedule that will go a long way towards shaping the final field of 16 teams including a few on Friday’s slate.
Winnipeg Jets (+120) vs. Washington Capitals (-140)
Total Line: 5.5
Winnipeg has lost its last two games and is 2-4 in its last six to fall five points behind the Capitals for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Jets are just 11-20-4 on the road this season and 0-3 in their last three road games.
Washington has strung together a 5-2 record in its last seven games to raise its overall record to 37-30-7 on the year. The Capitals have an overall record of 23-10-3 at home, but they are just 4-5 in their last nine home games.
The Jets have won six of the last eight meetings and are 3-2 in five games between the two this season including a 3-2 overtime win on Feb.9 as +137 road underdogs. Despite this recent trend stick with the Capitals recent form to carry them to a tight win at home.
The Pick: Washington 3, Winnipeg 2
Buffalo Sabres (+145) vs. New York Rangers (-165)
Total Line: 5
Buffalo has made a late-season push for the postseason with a 6-2-2 record in its last 10 games to climb within one point of Washington for the final playoff spot in the East. The Sabres are 5-3 in their last eight road games and 16-18-2 overall.
New York is still the top team in the East with 99 points, but its lead over the white-hot Pittsburgh Penguins is down to just one point. The Rangers are 5-5 in their last 10 games, but they come into this contest with seven wins in their last nine games at home. Overall they are 26-9-2 at home.
Head-to-head, New York has won all three meetings this season and is 5-2 in the last seven meetings. Buffalo has the second-worst return in the league this season on the money line at -2682, while the Rangers are +841. This presents a great opportunity to cash in on a fourth-straight victory over the Sabres.
The Pick: New York 4, Buffalo 2
Toronto Maple Leafs (+160) vs. New Jersey Devils (-185)
Total Line: 5.5
The Maple Leafs playoff hopes are on life support after posting a 3-6-1 record in their last 10 games to fall nine points out of the final spot. They are 3-6 in their last nine road games and 16-20-2 on the road overall this year.
New Jersey is holding down the sixth spot in the East with 89 points. It is 2-3 in its last five games overall, but 4-1 in its last five games at home. Overall, the Devils are 42-27-5 on the year and 20-13-3 at home.
These two have met three times this season with New Jersey winning the last two games in overtime as a slight road underdog. The Devils did lose, 5-3, as -125 home favorites in early November, but these two teams are clearly headed in different directions at this point of the season.
The Pick: New Jersey 4, Toronto 1
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