Two teams mired in bad slumps will try to snap out of it on Wednesday when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Toronto Maple Leafs. What are the sportsbook
oddsmakers giving us, and which NHL picks do we believe hold the most value.
The Blackhawks, once deemed to be Stanley Cup contenders,
have lost three straight and 12 of 16. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs appeared to
be a feel-good story with the potential of a playoff appearance, but that’s
becoming less believable by the day as the Leafs have now lost eight of their
Both teams are in bad shape right now but after watching
the Maple Leafs performance on Tuesday night in a 5-3 home loss to the Florida
Panthers, it’s going to be really tough for touts
and bettors to support them on Wednesday.
Sportsbooks have yet to release their NHL odds for tonight's matchup, but while we are still in the dark with the puckline, I feel that we will find more value with our sports picks with a play on the total. See which way we have decided to place our NHL picks tonight.
The Toronto Maple Leafs can win because…
They are on the road. Right now, the city of Toronto is a
complete pressure-cooker. The media is lobbing criticism at virtually every
segment of the team and there’s nowhere to hide…except in another city.
Right now, the Leafs goaltenders are being shredded for
awful performances, general manager Brian Burke is being ripped for backing the
two dunces and for not making any significant moves at the trade deadline. Fans
are calling for head coach Ron Wilson’s head and pundits are wondering whether
the Leafs have enough elite talent anywhere on the ice – either up front or on
the blue line.
But even through all of that, the Leafs are in a playoff
race and need to focus on hockey. They can’t seem to do that in Toronto, so
getting away will help clear their minds and concentrate on the task at hand.
At least the
Leafs will be on somewhat even footing on Wednesday as the Blackhawks are
having similar problems in net. That might help the Leafs offense get going as
they have just 20 goals in their last nine games.
The Chicago Blackhawks can win because…
The Leafs are simply awful right now. They’ve lost five
straight and have trailed at least 2-0 in every contest. They haven’t even been
close in dropping eight of their last nine as they’ve been outscored 40-20 in
The Blackhawks have lost three straight but at a closer
look, those three losses have come against decent defensive teams. Los Angeles,
Dallas and Anaheim are all ranked in the top 10 of fewest goals allowed per
game in the month of February while the Leafs are among the worst (3.17 per
game). The Blackhawks are the league’s fifth-highest scoring home team at 3.28
goals per game, so we might see some real fireworks on Wednesday.
The Blackhawks have won the last two meetings and they
shouldn’t have a problem making it three straight against a demoralized and
fatigued Maple Leafs squad.
Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction:
The Blackhawks will be without captain Jonathan Toews on
Wednesday and they are just 1-4 this season when he’s out of the lineup. Even
so, there is simply no way anyone can consciously back the Leafs at this point.
They are awful.
At the same time, laying heavy juice with the Blackhawks
is surely not a given. They have been listless without Toews, scoring just two
goals in their last three games. Their power play has converted just once in
their last 40 tries.
The smart NHL betting play in this game should be on the over. With
four bad goaltenders in play, it looks fair to project at least six games to
push this game over the number.
NHL Picks: Over