Tracking the Calgary Flames: Season-Long NHL Picks and Handicapping for Hockey
by Trevor Whenham - 1/6/2015
NHL Predictions: Detroit Red Wings at Calgary Flames Odds and Picks
The Flames and Red Wings meet for the first time this season as these matchups don't happen as often as they used to now that Detroit is an Eastern Conference foe. Calgary wouldn't mind playing them more like they used to - they have earned 12 points from the last 10 meetings between the teams, which is well above what they have done against some other decent teams.
Calgary won't be able to complain about being tired coming into this one. In fact, the opposite is a concern - they could have forgotten how to play by now. This is just their second game of 2015 and their first since Friday when they lost at home to the Islanders. It's the calm before the storm, though - this game kicks off a stretch of three games in four days. Detroit, on the other hand, will not be so fresh. They were in Vancouver on Saturday night, and they do the dreaded double of Edmonton on Tuesday and Calgary on Wednesday. For teams from the eastern time zone, the late starts and travel after the game can make them uncomfortable. Calgary and Edmonton are in the midst of a serious blast of brutal winter weather, too, so travel will be that much more awkward and slow.
Detroit Red Wings at Calgary Flames Betting Storylines
As I write this the Wings have not played Edmonton yet, but they have lost their last two road games - at Boston and Vancouver. They are 7-6-3 on the road this year but have been far from their sharpest lately. My hunch is that they will beat Edmonton because everyone beats Edmonton, but win or lose they are not the team right now on the road that they are at home. While the team likely would rather not be on the road, you can be sure that head coach Mike Babcock would prefer not to be in Canada right now. With Toronto having fired their coach today, the speculation, which has been ongoing for years, of a Babcock move to Toronto will be intense, and the hockey-crazed Canadian media will be all over the story. It's a distraction that the no-nonsense Babcock certainly would rather not have to deal with.
That last game against the Islanders was, for the Flames, one of their weakest offensive performances in memory. New York is a solid defensive team, but Calgary completely lacked confidence or spark. Their only goal came late after the game seemed to be over. They had been scoring well before that - 14 goals in their previous four wins. That lack of offensive confidence was a big part of the reason the team lost eight in a row in December, though, so if they haven't rebounded in this one then it could be time to be concerned at least a little bit. It would be particularly comforting to see them come out of the gate quickly and make some noise in the opening period - traditionally far from their best period.
Detroit Red Wings at Calgary Flames Odds and Betting Trends
Calgary is favored in this one, though not by much - they sit at -115, with the Red Wings close behind at -105. With Detroit still having a game to play there is plenty of potential for movement in the line depending on what happens in that game. The total sits at the standard 5.5, with the "under" heavily favored in early action.
The Red Wings are 0-5 in their last five against teams with winning records and 0-6 in their last six road games against teams with winning road records. The Flames have lost their last five against teams from the Eastern Conference. The last five games Detroit has played against teams with winning records have gone under the total as have seven of the last eight the Flames have played against similar teams. Five of the last seven games between these teams have gone under the total.
Detroit Red Wings at Calgary Flames Predictions and Picks
The Wings are not playing well on the road right now, and they are likely to be tired in this one. Calgary has had time to rest and plenty of time to work on some issues in practice. They have also gotten a bit healthier, and that rarely hurts. Calgary is in a good position here.
4 Unit Play #6 Take Calgary Flames (-115) vs. Detroit (9:35 p.m. ET Wednesday)
Year-to-date Flames picks: 8-5, +12 Units, +$1500.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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