Daily NHL Picks: Backing The Big Boys Before All Star Break

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 3:28 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016 3:28 PM UTC

Today is the final day before the All-Star break and while 22 teams players are already starting to enjoy their vacations, sportsbooks have posted NHL odds on the remaining four contests.

Last night was a bit of an unusual as six different winning teams scored at least five goals. Hard to say specifically if the losing clubs started thinking about their time off after falling quite a bit behind, but that is the appearance it gave. We were not looking ahead to break, winning for the 12th time in 15 days with our NHL picks. For today, we have three heavyweights in action and we see no reason to expect upsets and will back all of them with our top choice first.


Los Angeles Take Advantage of Unstable Avalanche
Los Angeles (30-18 SU) has seen their lead in the Pacific Division dwindle to seven points because San Jose has surged like McDonald's stock prices and the Kings have been indifferent at .500 in their past 10 trips to the rink. With the NHL odds having them as -200 opening favorites over Colorado (26-25 SU), this game might not look like much, however, the Kings will play eight of nine on the road right at after the break, thus two points do matter.

Colorado was crushed 6-1 last night in San Jose and will again be without top netminder Semyon Varlamov, who is in court as defendant in civil trial brought by his ex-girlfriend over an alleged domestic violence incident back in October 2013. That leaves backups Calvin Pickard and Roman Will to take his place and we saw what happened on Tuesday.

L.A. has won six of seven over the Avalanche and will have their No.1 guy in net in Jonathan Quick, who 13-4-1 with a 2.25 goals-against average in 19 career starts against Colorado and owns a 1.32 GAA in winning his last six. Situation just too good to pass on.

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NHL Pick: Los Angeles -210
Best Line Offered: at Bet365


Tampa Bay Finishes First Half With Victory
The real only concern about Tampa Bay (26-22 SU) not winning over Toronto (17-30 SU) is if they have already mentally - checked out - having last played Saturday, with break on deck. You would not think so as the Lightning has finally started to look like the defending Eastern Conference champions in winning seven straight before falling to Florida in an arduous scheduling spot. Losing two in row would leave a bad taste in Tamp Bay players mouths having recently fought so hard to climb in the standings and not taking advantage of a very beatable opponent.

The Maple Leafs are +195 road underdogs, having lost eight of nine and not putting up much resistance. Toronto has lost by an average of 2.1 goals a game in this pathetic period, not doing any scoring (1.3 GAA) and not playing defense (3.4 GGA). On top of this, it is not like the Atlantic Division is stacked with powerhouse teams, yet the Leafs are miserable 0-12 against these clubs like Tampa Bay.

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NHL Pick: Tampa Bay -210
Best Line Offered: at TheGreek


Washington Does What if Needs to Handle Flyers
Because of the snow storm and All-Star break, this will the Capitals only contest in a 13-day stretch. Washington (35-11) has two postponements over the weekend to massive storm, which will make their rest of the season that much busier. Normally , a Caps home game would be a top pick, but having not played since a week ago last Tuesday is a bit of a concern, being rusty and knowing they will have several more days off beginning tomorrow.

Washington will have the benefit of playing on home ice, where they are 18-4 SU and could match franchise record with a 13th consecutive home victory, facing Philadelphia (20-26 SU), who has dumped four of five.

Expected goaltenders Braden Holtby for the Caps and Steve Mason for Philly, have not had a great deal of success against the opposing club. Holtby is 3-7 SU with a 3.26 GAA in past 11 appearances versus the Flyers and Mason is 5-6 SU with 3.34 GAA in dozen matchups with Washington. Nonetheless, the Capitals are -230 favorites for a reason and they are 20-5 at home playing against a marginal losing team (Win Pct. 40% to 49%) the last three seasons.

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NHL Pick: Washington -210
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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