Tonight’s free playoff picks focus on the finale from Washington along with an Over/Under prediction from the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings!
The action packed nights of four NHL games on the hockey betting card have been replaced by the do or die excitement of Game Seven’s and/or elimination from this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. And from here, it only gets better! Here are some notes from tonight’s matchups along with two picks, including a 2-unit Best Bet from the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals.
ISLES at CAPS, GAME 7 BEST BET
The New York Islanders were the league’s third-best third period scoring team this year but in the second-half of the season, they haven’t been nearly as successful relying on strong finishes. Part of the problem has been the lack of any power play and credit some of that to Washington’s discipline. After averaging 4.39 penalties per game this season, the Caps have trimmed their average to just 3.5 per game. When you consider that New York was only 16th with the man advantage during the regular season (eighth of all playoffs teams), it seems unlikely they will find success on the road tonight in a critical game 7.
Instead, we’ll look for Braden Holtby to remain sharp while his offense goes to work in response to their one-goal performance Saturday in New York. Since January of 2014, Washington is 11-3 following a one-goal game and two of the losses were against out of conference foes. At home the Caps were 2-1 with all three going over the total and as a favorite, Washington went 6-1 in this spot, posting 6 overs and 1 under.
Keep in mind, Washington’s low tally last game wasn’t from a lack of effort. They outshot New York 39-38 in game six of this series and the past five seasons, firing squads in this spot have posted a 29-14 record at home (67-percent) including a 12-5 mark the past two playoffs. Home faves in this moneyline betting range hit twice on Saturday and their record since 2012 improved to 50-26.
Pick: Take the Capitals -135 as tonight’s Best Bet
LIGHTNING at RED WINGS, GAME 6
The Detroit Red Wings lead this series 3-2 and stunned a lot of people Saturday, myself included, when they bounced back from the game 4 meltdown by blanking the Bolts 4-0. With Mike Babcock calling the shots, I suppose that nothing from this team of veterans should really surprise us anymore and perhaps the bigger shock should be from the lack of Tampa Bay offense. Other than that brilliant comeback in game 4, Tampa has been silent the past three games and when playoffs teams who struggle to score travel against a club who are off a road win, the struggle generally continues. The SportsDatabase.com history for playoffs home teams in Detroit’s spot shows a 20-10 record and only 11 of 30 visitors in this sample scored more than two goals.
Detroit is a good team off a shutout, going 41-23 the past nine years and when the total was O/U 5 in night games, the Wings are 3-7-7 O/U their past 17 off a shutout. Of note, the more recent record is 1 over, 5 unders and 5 pushes since 2007. At home against strong third period teams the Wings are 6-14-4 O/U the past two seasons and we’re getting plus money one this total thanks to Tampa’s potency. The truth of the matter is that Tampa and Detroit are 4-9-1 O/U the past 14 meetings and we have five systems “live” suggesting this game finishes below the posted total. Empty net goals can always be a killer in the playoffs and this is a smaller play than the one above on Washington. We’ve also split the bet on two totals and suggest you do the same. It averages down the juice and covers you for at least half a unit should this game go to OT at 2-2.
Pick: Take the Lightning and Wings UNDER 5/5.5 total goals at -116