Free NHL Picks: Blues at Rangers Odds
by George Monroy - 1/22/2014
The New York Rangers stepped up their defense during the month of January, and as a result they have won seven of their last 11 games. New York is back in the thick of the playoff race and trails the fourth- and fifth-seeded teams in the East by only two points. Veteran goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has played well to open up the year and has been stingy in front of the net, allowing only 2.12 goals per game during that span.
The St. Louis Blues are in the middle of an ‘arms race’ in the West. The team is sitting on 71 points in the standings, but that mark is still not good enough when there are three other teams that have already reached the 70-point plateau. The Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks continue to push the pace in a loaded Western Conference and force the Blues to continue winning. Let’s take a closer look at Thursday’s Blues versus Rangers matchup and figure out which side has the most value to bet on.
Blues at Rangers Betting Story Lines
New York just ended a dominant three-game winning streak, where it allowed only two goals, with a tough loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday. The team gave up five goals on 37 shots and put backup goaltender Cam Talbot in tough spots throughout the night. Prior to that matchup, the Rangers had not allowed an opponent to score more than two goals since a 4-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets over two weeks ago.
New York’s’ offense has been stellar as the team is averaging 3.18 goals during the first 11 games of the month. The squad’s leading scorer, Rick Nash, has five goals over his last three games, and he scored twice against the Islanders. The Rangers are still ranked near the bottom in goals scored this season with an average of only 2.5 per game, which is 21st in the league. The team has been excellent during power plays and is ranked seventh in the league, scoring on nearly 21 percent of its opportunities.
St. Louis has struggled over the last two weeks and is 2-4 over that span, which is the worst stretch of hockey the team has played all season. And to make matters worse, the squad is in the middle of a four-game road trip and will play its next two matchups against both New York teams—who, by the way, have won six of their last eight matchups combined.
The Blues are coming off an embarrassing six-goal loss to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday where the team simply did not show up to play. St. Louis gave up seven goals on only 23 shot attempts and allowed seven different Devils players to score goals in the matchup. Alexander Steen, St. Louis’ points leader, was able to score for the Blues midway through the first period, but the team was shut down after that early goal.
Blues at Rangers NHL Odds and Key Trends
St. Louis opened as a -126 road moneyline favorite against the +114 underdog Rangers at BetOnline. The total was set at five goals, with the “over” being favored at -126. St. Louis is 8-1 over its last nine games after allowing five goals or more in its previous matchup and 6-2 in its last eight against the Metropolitan Division. The squad is also 5-2 over its last seven road games and 7-3 over its last 10 road games against teams with a losing home record. St. Louis has gone “under” in five of its last seven overall games.
New York is 4-0 during its recent matchups against the Western Conference and 6-2 during its last eight overall games. The team is also 5-1 over its last six Thursday games and 8-3 over its last 11 games played on one day of rest. Head-to-head, the Blues are 6-1 in both their last seven meeting in New York and last seven overall games.
Free NHL Picks: Blues at Rangers Predictions
A six-goal loss should be a wakeup call for just about any team going through a slump midway through the season. The Blues are an excellent squad and match up well against the Rangers on paper. However, both teams are going in opposite directions at the moment, and St. Louis is really struggling on its current road trip, while New York is playing its best hockey of the season. Sometimes confidence and momentum are enough to carry a team to a win. New York is playing well, believes in itself, and will be ready to get a huge win over an elite Western Conference team. Take a shot on the underdog Rangers and positive moneyline payout for Thursday’s game.
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