Saturday Night Puck Picks: Caps and Habs

The Washington Capitals lead in the Southeast Division was reduced to one point in today’s early NHL betting action, now they take on a Montreal Canadians team with just one win in its past four games.


The Capitals have won five straight games in Montreal by a combined score of 15-4 score and including playoffs, Washington is 8-1-1 in their last 10 visits to La Belle Province’s Bell Centre.


Alex Ovechkin scored the game tying goal to spark his club past Montreal 3-2 when these teams met April 9 and the NHL’s leading scorer has made 15 of his 28 goals count with the man advantage, boosting the Caps to No. 1 in power play success rate (25-percent).


Tonight’s starting goalies are Braden Holtby for the Caps and Carey Price for the Habs and while Price made 30 saves in the 4-1 win against Washington Jan. 24, that’s his only victory in the last six tries vs. the Capitals. In eight home starts vs. Washington Price holds a 1-5-2 record with a 3.58 goals against average (GAA).


Prior to Thursday night’s 3-2 home win vs. Tampa Bay, Price had lost four in a row while posting a 6.05 GAA. Against the Lightning the normally sturdy Price stopped 32 shots but he also received a lot of help from every goalie’s best friend, the post.


Montreal has to sort itself out in time for the postseason but given their play of late, the moneyline price of -150 (or more) on the home side seems a little exaggerated. Online sportsbooks are offering back +130 or better on the Caps and we feel they are the more hungry of these two teams.

Pick: Take the Capitals


Stats for this Pick Sixty Sports write-up were provided by Greg Dempson, professional handicapper and long-time friend of the site. Greg has been providing picks and sports handicapping information for nearly 40 years covering hockey along with NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball. For free picks daily and winning systems visit Greg Dempson Sports!

NHL Picks: Flyers at Hurricanes

Two teams that are out of the playoff picture hookup in Raleigh tonight and while the points might not matter; there are jobs on the line for a good number of these players.


The Carolina Hurricanes (-115) are small moneyline favorites on the NHL odds board and the total for this contest is set at 5.5 Over (-120). Philadelphia has won 20 of the past 26 meetings between these teams including a 14-2 record since Dec. 6, 2008.


In two meetings this season the Flyers outscored Carolina 9-6 and the last 12 trips to Raleigh, Philly holds a 10-2 advantage with 5 overs and 7 unders. One reputable sports information site shows more than 95-percent action for tonight’s game rolling in on the “Over”.


Steve Mason gets the start for Philadelphia and he’s been alright since coming over from Columbus but that’s only compared with Ilya Bryzgalov’s terrible numbers. It appears ‘Bryzy’ has been exposed by Philadelphia’s wide open forechecking system and his stellar numbers built from years under Dave Tippett in Phoenix have bloated throughout this season. Mason is 4-0 against the Canes with a 1.50 goals against average (GAA).


Justin Peters will go for Carolina and while he’s shown steady improvement as a last resort, Peters has just one win in his last seven starts.


Philly is a fast starting team and in 22 road games the Flyers have scored 23 goals while allowing 27. Carolina has 18 goals for in 21 home games with 17 goals against. The first period line for this game is 1.5 Over (-115).


There is some question as to whether Philadelphia players could start to ‘mail it in’ after being mathematically eliminated but with a head coaching change looming during the off-season, these players know what the top brass is looking for upstairs. Lack of effort could easily translate to walking paper during the off-season.


We like the value on Philadelphia for this contest and also recommend checking out your online sportsbook odds for the first period total. In two meetings this year these teams combined for seven first period goals.


Take Philly (-105) to win and take Philly-Carolina Over 1.5 goals through the first 20 minutes.


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NHL Picks: Tampa Bay Lightning at Winnipeg Jets

Evander Kane and the Jets will be fighting for their playoff lives Tuesday as they play host to Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning at the MTS Centre.


Winnipeg is looking to extend its current three game win streak in which they have outscored opponents 15 to 4. The Jets have won two of three meetings with the Bolts this season but will need to stay sharp as they fight to gain ground on the Southeast leading Washington Capitals.


Oddsmakers have been charging a premium on the Jets at home all season after the club’s impressive 23-13-5 home record in its inaugural season north of the border (2011-12) and while that cost bettors through the first two months (4-5 SU), Winnipeg has turned things around. In March the Jets were 4-4 at home with wins against the Leafs, Rangers, Bruins and Lightning and since the calendar flipped to April the Jets are a perfect 3-0. The current line on tonight’s contest is Winnipeg -145 and 5.5 Over (-119).


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The Jets’ penalty kill is firing on all cylinders, going eight for eight the past three games but one of the keys to tonight’s game will be avoiding the sin bin altogether. Tampa’s power play ranks 13th overall (19.2-percent) and even through their latest losing streak, has managed to light the lamp six times on 16 tries.


When the Bolts laid an 8-3 beating on the Jets Feb. 1, Tampa was three for eight with the man advantage but in the two more recent games Winnipeg played a more disciplined style, killing nine of 10 opportunities.



Days off have been few and far between for NHL clubs as the league scrambled this season to make up lost time from its lockout. Sports Database allows bettors to research hundreds of scenarios and by using the simple link below, we can see how all teams this year have fared based on number of rest days and site:


SDQL: site and rest and season=2012


Teams on exactly three days of rest are 24-16 this season but four-plus days of rest seems to be the tipping point. Road teams with four-plus days of rest are 0-2 with 1 under and 1 push while home sides on extended rest show a 1-6 record with 4 overs and 3 unders.


Fans at the MTS Centre will surely help create a playoff atmosphere for the Jets but extending winning streaks has been no easy task for Claude Noel’s group. Since January, 2012 the Jets are 5-12 after two-straight wins and since relocating to Winnipeg, their record after three consecutive wins is just 1-7.


Winnipeg was outscored 4.5 to 2.4 in those eight games and six of eight sailed over the total. Home teams this year on three or more days of rest are 14-9-4 to the “Over” and as the Jets lay it on the line; we’re backing this game to reach six-plus goals.

Pick: Take the Over


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