Ducks at Sharks Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 1/29/2013
This is a battle of two teams in a good place early in this young season. The Ducks have won three of four, and they opened their season with two road wins. They take their unblemished road mark into San Jose to face a team that has yet to lose in five games. Not only is San Jose 5-0, but they have won all five games by at least two goals and four of the five by three or more. And they have done it against a reasonably competitive schedule. They have been the class of the NHL very early in this season.
The one thing the Sharks haven’t been able to do recently, though, is feast on duck. Anaheim has won six of the last seven meetings between these squads, including the last three in San Jose. And they have done so as the underdog in five of those six games. The Ducks have owned the Sharks, but can the red-hot streak overcome that here?
Ducks at Sharks Betting storylines
There is no player playing better hockey right now in the NHL than Patrick Marleau. The 33 year old has found an aspect to his game unlike we have seen even when he is at his best. He scored a pair of goals in each of his first four games. In the fifth he faltered a little, but only for him — he had a goal and an assist. He’s tied with linemate Joe Thornton for the league lead in points — Thornton not surprisingly leads all players in assists — and has a four-goal lead in the goal scoring race. It has been a magical run. It’s going to come to an end at some point, obviously, but it remains to be seen of the Ducks can find a way to slow him and his boundless confidence in this one. He is the biggest reason for the San Jose hot start.
The Ducks have a hot hand of their own, and it’s far more surprising than the offensively-potent Marleau. Daniel Winnik has been in the league since 2007, but he had only scored 37 times leading into this season, He has scored five times so far in the four games he has played this year. That’s more goals than he has scored in two different seasons and only three fewer than he had all of last year when he played a total of 84 games after being traded midseason from Colorado to San Jose.
The Sharks have enjoyed stellar offense, but they haven’t really needed it. Marleau has scored more goals than the team has allowed (eight) in five games. Antti Niemi has been mostly stellar in four starts. The only time he looked a little mortal was in the game against Edmonton at times, but when his teammates erupted for six first-period goals you can’t blame the keeper for letting his focus lapse slightly. He has clearly shown that the delayed start to the season hasn’t impacted him, and he is undoubtedly a strong No. 1 goalie.
The first period is going to be crucial for the Ducks in this one. San Jose crushed the Oilers before the first intermission, and the Sharks have consistently gotten off to a strong start. Anaheim has been much more sluggish early and has been outscored by an average of half a goal in the opening stanza. The way San Jose is playing right now, Anaheim can’t afford to spot them an early lead. Therefore, we’ll likely have a good sense of how this one is likely to turn out early in this one.
Ducks at Sharks NHL Odds and Betting Trends
Sportsbook.ag has opened the Sharks as a strong -170 favorite, with the Ducks at +150. The total sits at a pretty standard 5.5, with the “under” at -115 compared to -105 for the “over”.
Anaheim allowed just two goals last time out against Nashville. Interestingly, they are an ugly 0-7 in their last seven games following outings in which they allowed two or fewer goals. Anaheim has gone under in each of their last six games coming off of two-day rest. Five of the last six meetings between these teams have gone under.
Ducks at Sharks Picks and Betting Predictions
The Sharks are a good team, but they aren’t this good, so this is a good spot to take a shot against them at a solid price. The offensive explosion of the Sharks has driven everything so far, but that can’t be guaranteed in this spot. San Jose is still more likely to win, but their strong start and gaudy numbers has inflated this price more than enough to provide nice value on the Ducks. Anaheim has yet to play their best game, and they should be positioned to do so here.
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