Free NHL Betting Predictions March 05
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STL Blues WinSTL Blues @ NY Islanders There isn’t a lot to be optimistic about for the Islanders and their fans. They come into this one 3 games below .500 with 1 win in their last 5 games and 3 in their last 11. They are also under .500 at home this season, score the least amount of goals at home in the NHL, and score the 5th least goals per game in the league. To add salt in the wound, the Islanders’ top scorer Mat Barzal is questionable to play. It doesn’t look like he will be suiting up against the Blues although definitive status is not yet released. The Blues are the play regardless, but without Barzal the outlook is even more grim for the Islanders.
The Blues score over a goal more than the Islanders per game and allow less goals per game. Their special teams are better than New York’s, they have better home road splits than New York, and they come into this game in much better form than New York. The Blues are also 23-11-5 as a favorite to the Islanders’ 2-16-1 as an underdog. Those trends should hold true for this matchup. The Blues haven’t lost consecutive games since December 4th. They have also shown this year that they can beat themselves and lose to far inferior teams. As long as they don’t beat themselves, this is a good bounce back spot for St. Louis. Blues -135 at the time of publishing.
CHI Blackhawks WinCHI Blackhawks @ PHI Flyers The Chicago Blackhawks make the rare 1-game Eastern Conference road trip on Saturday afternoon when they play the Philadelphia Flyers. The Blackhawks have been treading water lately, going 2-2-1 in their last 5 games, with their most recent game being a victory over the Oilers. The Flyers are in free fall with only having 2 wins in their last 10 games and who will be looking to trade veteran players as the trade deadline approaches, looking to build for the future.
Offensively, neither team has that large of an edge. Both teams rank in the bottom 7 of expected goals, bottom 4 in goals scored per game and both have been shut out at least once in their last 5 games. Defense is where you will find the upper hand. Even though both teams rank in the bottom 10 in goals against per game, the advantage comes when looking at the pressure they keep away from their goalies. The Flyers rank 30th in expected goals against, whereas the Blackhawks rank 12th. Take the team who has been playing better of late and who can keep their defensive end cleaner and place your bet on the Blackhawks money line.
OTT SenatorsOTT Senators @ ARZ Coyotes The Ottawa Senators travel to Arizona to take on the Coyotes for the first time this season. Neither team has a chance at making the playoffs this season, so this is more of a game being played so scouts can see if anyone is worth trading for. This is their only meeting of the season, so look for it to be a spirited one.
Ottawa is better on paper, but that’s because Arizona is almost dead last in every category possible. The Senators have lost 3 games in a row and have scored just 3 goals in that span. The Coyotes have won games against Vegas and Colorado in the last week, but that shouldn’t be considered the norm. Neither team takes a ton of shots on goal, but Arizona allows the 2nd-most shots per game and that is one of the reasons they are a bad team. Take Ottawa to wrap up this game in regulation.
FLA Panthers -1.5DET Red Wings @ FLA Panthers The Panthers just snapped out of a 3-game losing streak with a 3-0 win over Ottawa. It was their first losing streak since December and just their 4th losing streak of at least 2 games of the season. This Panthers team flat out takes care of business. They are 34-14-3 as favorites this season and 30-24 against the spread (ATS). Florida does their best work at home as they lead the NHL in both point percentage and goals scored at home. The Panthers home goal differential this season is +1.66 which is not a good matchup for a Red Wings team that scored just 2.44 goals per game on the road this year. If Florida can keep the status quo in this game, Detroit likely won’t be able to hang.
Detroit will be on the second game of a back to back as they fell to Tampa 3-1 on Friday night. In back to backs the Red Wings are 3-5-1 as a whole and an even worse 1-4-1 on the road. As exciting as this young Red Wings team is, and they are, the Panthers should be able to keep it rolling. The Red Wings are 23-32 ATS this season and 9-16 ATS on the road. This is an all around bad matchup for Detroit. If Florida just keeps their foot on the gas, they will take care of business. Panthers -1.5, -120 at the time of publishing. Playable at that number.
BOS BruinsBOS Bruins @ CLB Blue Jackets The Bruins get a chance to continue their dominant stretch of hockey on Saturday night as they travel to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets. They have prevailed in 6 of their past 7 games and outperformed their opponents on both ends of the ice. Columbus comes into this game having played an overtime game last night against the Kings, which doesn’t help its chances tonight as the league’s hottest team comes into town. The Bruins have relied heavily on their defense all season. They give up the fewest expected goals per 60 minutes, and they have also had some spectacular play from goaltender Jeremy Swayman, who figures to get the start in net tonight. Their defense has continued to perform at the top of the league during this hot streak as they’ve allowed more than 2 goals just once in the past 7 games. But it’s the increased offensive output that has really pushed Boston over the top. Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak will always be reliable goalscorers, but the rest of their lineup has picked up the pace over the past couple of weeks and made them into a much more well-rounded team.
Columbus seems to be trending in the opposite direction, even though they’ve been a fiery competitor over the past couple of weeks. The Blue Jackets score the 9th-most goals per game but rank in the bottom 10 in expected goals per game, and they have the 4th-worst expected goals percentage. That indicates that their offense doesn’t generate many high-danger scoring chances but they often score from the limited chances that they create. The Columbus defense is also right there with Montreal as the worst in the league, and after giving starting goalie Elvis Merzlikins the start against the Kings on Friday, Columbus will likely lean on JF Berube, who would be making only his 5th start of the season. He has allowed 3 or more goals in each of his previous 4 starts. Given that Columbus will be playing for the 2nd consecutive night and will likely send out a shaky netminder against one of the hottest teams in the league, Boston should cruise to victory.
EDM OilersMON Canadiens @ EDM Oilers The Edmonton Oilers return home after a 5-game road trip in which they went 2-3. On Thursday, Edmonton dropped a game to the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime, which was a disappointing finish to the road trip, as they lost to a much weaker team. Now they host an even weaker team in the Montreal Canadiens, who are playing leapfrog with the Arizona Coyotes for last place in the league. They will be looking to get back in the win column in front of their own fans, who they haven’t seen for almost 2 weeks.
Montreal has been playing some great hockey since hiring new head coach Martin St. Louis. They are 6-4 in his 10 games, but more impressively, they have won 6 of their last 7. They have beaten the Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, and St. Louis Blues in that run, so don’t think they couldn’t beat the Oilers. However, Edmonton is the pick to take the win today. Returning to home ice will be a refreshing feeling for this team, and they should be able to take advantage of a tired team playing their 4th straight road game. The Oilers should come out with good energy and take care of business.
WAS Capitals WinSEA Kraken @ WAS Capitals The Seattle Kraken start a 5-game Eastern Conference road trip on Saturday as they play the Washington Capitals. The Kraken just snapped a 7-game losing streak on Wednesday when they beat the Predators, but still only have 2 wins in their last 10 games. The Capitals are in a similar position, though not as bad as the Kraken, as they just broke a 3-game losing streak on Thursday and have 4 wins in their last 10 games.
Offensively, the advantage goes to the Capitals. The Kraken can’t generate any pressure as they rank 31st in expected goals and can’t finish their chances either, ranking 28th in goals scored per game. The Capitals are around average in both categories, which is enough to be considered the better offensive team. Defensively, the Capitals get the edge as well, with goaltending being the main factor. The Kraken actually rank higher than the Capitals in expected goals against as they are 7th to the Capitals 10th. However, the Capitals rank 7th in goals against per game, whereas the Kraken rank 26th. This is due to the Kraken not having a goalie on their roster ranked in the top 90 in goals saved above expected. Look for the Capitals to take advantage of the poor goaltending from the Kraken and place your bet on the Capitals money line.
SJ SharksNAS Predators @ SJ Sharks The Nashville Predators travel to San Jose to take on the Sharks for the second time this season. The Predators drew first blood in their season series, walking away with a 3-1 victory in October. Both teams still have a chance at making the playoffs, but they will need to start playing a lot better. Nashville is 3-6-1 in their last 10 games, while San Jose is 2-5-3.
It would seem crazy to target the Sharks here, but despite 2 losses in their last 3 games, they’ve managed to allow just 7 goals and kept both losses close. There is nothing wrong with them losing to Vegas or Boston, teams many consider are better than the Sharks. For Nashville, losing to Seattle earlier in the week was tough. Juuse Saros is expected to get the start and he is one of the better goalies in the league, but that doesn’t mean he can backstop his team to a win. San Jose has some pretty elite goalscorers, and that could be the difference in this contest. It’s a long shot to trust San Jose in regulation, but the value is hard to ignore.
CAL Flames WinCAL Flames @ COL Avalanche The Calgary Flames travel to Colorado to take on the Avalanche for the first time this season. Both teams are going to make the playoffs, so this could be a preview of a future matchup. Both teams are elite when it comes to scoring goals, but Calgary has the advantage when it comes to goaltending; that is where this game will likely be won.
Colorado on home ice is as dangerous as it gets. Nathan MacKinnon is one of the best centers in the league and he can carry his team to victory. Calgary’s defense is good, but they really need to work together to contain MacKinnon. Colorado’s defense isn’t as stingy, but the same rules apply. Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm have been awesome this season, and they can’t forget about Andrew Mangiapane, who is prolific at scoring goals on the road. The Flames did give up 5 to Montreal on home ice, but Jacob Markstrom is one of the best goalies in the league. Should he get the start, he will probably bounce back. If he can keep the goals to a minimum, Calgary’s firepower up front can focus on scoring goals, which should ultimately lead to a victory.
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NHL Under/over Picks
Over 5.5STL Blues @ NY Islanders
Under 5.5CHI Blackhawks @ PHI Flyers
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