Back Coyotes With Your NHL Picks To Outscore Blackhawks On Tuesday

Jason Lake

Tuesday, December 29, 2015 2:15 PM GMT

The Chicago Blackhawks are having another quality season – unless you've got them in your NHL picks against the puck line. Can the Arizona Coyotes take advantage?

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Free NHL Pick: Coyotes +1.5
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

 

Hey, puckheads. Good to see you. It's been a while since I've made any NHL picks for you – in fact, this might be the first official one. Never fear – I've written a ton of hockey content under various other names over the years, and I've got everyone here at the home office backing me up. We'll be applying our standard handicapping fundamentals, looking for market inefficiencies and using some of the more advanced stats to guide our analysis.

We might have a relatively easy pick on our hands, too. The Chicago Blackhawks have a date this Tuesday night (9:00 p.m. ET) with the Arizona Cardinals, and it appears the defending champs are in the same boat they were last year: a boat filled with red ink. The Blackhawks have already amassed 11.49 units in debt against the puck line, and they're the favorites on Tuesday's NHL odds board at -1.5 (+175).

 

Antti Disestablishmentarianism
What makes the Blackhawks (third place in the Central Division at 20-13-4) so bad against the puck line? There's the added chalk that comes with winning three Stanley Cups in six years – that's about as close to a dynasty as you get these days. And there's the plus-8 goal differential the Hawks have managed on the season thus far. Nine of Chicago's 20 wins have been by a single goal.

Scoring has been a problem for the Hawks, as it was last year when the team finished 12.31 units in the red at 29-53 ATS. They're down a shade from 2.68 to 2.59 goals per game, still about league-average. However, Chicago's team defense has definitely taken a step back, with goals against rising from 2.27 to 2.41 per game. Corey Crawford (.925 save percentage) is doing fine, but trading back-up goalie Antti Raanta (.936 SV% last year) to the New York Rangers for minor-league forward Ryan Haggerty has caused some short-term pain for the Hawks.

 

The Duchy of Grand Fenwick
The Coyotes (second in the Pacific at 17-15-3) aren't nearly as good a hockey team as Chicago, but they're close to breaking even against the puck line at –0.77 units on a record of 21-14 ATS. Even though Arizona's goaltending is among the worst in the league with Mike Smith (.901 SV%) and Anders Lindback (.900 SV%) between the pipes, the 'Yotes are also eighth overall in scoring at 2.71 goals per game. That's helped keep them from losing by two goals too often. According to Left Wing Lock, Lindback has already been confirmed for Tuesday with Smith (LBI) on the injured list.


Wait, what about those advanced stats we're supposed to use? They'll tell you a similar tale; for example, according to Hockey-Reference, the Blackhawks rank No. 13 overall in Fenwick For (50.6 percent), while Arizona is second-last at 46.4 percent. They are what we think they are! We'll stick with fading the Hawks on the puck line, and may the cylinder be with you.