Daily Free NHL Picks: Sharp Favorites For Tonight's Betting Action

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 2:47 PM GMT

We get the max out of a short slate in the NHL odds board tonight. Where can we find the hidden value and what are the best NHL picks for today? Find out here with us.

Like all wise hockey handicappers, I'm not going to force NHL picks, I'm going to provide one choice from each game, and with the available space, try and leave you with something useful that can make you some cash down the line.

Last night visiting teams won seven of 11 and five as underdogs, which does not happen all the time. Here is what I have for sports picks this evening.

 

Pittsburgh vs. Boston
Heritagesports.eu has Boston (16-13 SU) at -145 opening NHL odds, which is little higher than one might expect given the Bruins have only six victories in 15 attempts at TD Garden. Coming into this season, Boston had the best home record of any squad during the regular season in the last three years.

While Boston has their issues to work out, Pittsburgh (15-14 SU) is changing and soul-searching at the same time. Once the most feared offense in the NHL, the Penguins are 22nd in scoring at 2.40 goals a game. Sidney Crosby has not emerged from a season-long funk and though Evgeni Malkin has been the Pens best player outside of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (now out with a concussion), he's been going through the motions on different shifts in the last week. The Pittsburgh front office changed head coaches and brought in a more vocal Mike Sullivan to hopefully wake up this lethargic club, whose lost two in a row and six of eight.

The B's Tuukka Rask was off in 3-2 OT loss on Monday night to Edmonton, but he 6-0-1 with a 1.40 goals-against average in his last seven starts and 8-1-1 with a 1.41 GAA in his last 10 (four playoff games included) against the laboring Penguins.

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Free NHL Pick: Boston wins
Best Odds Offered By Pinnacle

 

Ottawa vs. Washington
Since Alex Ovechkin entered the NHL a decade ago, he has been the focal point of the Washington franchise. In the regular season, for the most part that has not been an issue, but it has been in the playoffs. While this is not entirely his fault, he's been the face of the franchise and took the brunt of the heat.

This year has begun far differently for Ovechkin and the Capitals (21-8 SU), being the best team in the Eastern Conference and equally strong both home and away (11-4 and 10-4 SU). Ovechkin is still the leading scorer with 14 goals, but he's third in points (25) behind Evgeny Kuznetsov (29)and Nicklas Backstrom (26). That is not to say he's having a bad year, quite the contrary, Ovechkin just has a more help and on defense the top goaltender in the NHL in Braden Holtby.

Holtby is has 1.87 goals against average and his 19 wins are most. Not sure if Holtby will be in goal against Ottawa's fourth ranked offense, but with Washington commitment to defense, not sure how much success the Senators (16-15 SU) will have and if their 21st rated scoring defense will keep the Caps from lighting the lamp. Washington is -210 favorite and looks to be a solid choice.

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Free NHL Pick: Washington wins
Best Odds Offered By Heritage

 

Hockey News You Can Use -
It is a flat out miracle in truth that Calgary has as good a record as it does at 14-16 SU (-0.6 units). The Flames are tied with Columbus with worst goal differential in the league at -24 and it is easy to spot the problem, special teams. It is one thing not be very good at the power play, which Calgary is not, ranked last at 11.1 percent conversion rate. But when you add in they are also 30th in penalty kills at 71.6 percent, the Flames coaches and players have to uncover answers. The only aspect that keeps them from completely falling apart is their 5-on-5 play at home where they are 10-5 and tied for 5th in scoring at 3.07 goals a game. Unless Calgary's special teams improve, the Flames are teetering on collapse.