Daily NHL Picks: Best Plays On the Board to Start a Profitable Weekend

Doug Upstone

Saturday, December 5, 2015 3:08 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015 3:08 PM UTC

There might be a lot of exciting college football action today, but there will be plenty in the ice rinks as well. The sportsbooks have popped out the NHL odds for Saturday, so let's go to work.

I was none too pleased about yesterday's results and I extremely determined to make good if not all today, for sure over the next two days versus the NHL odds for sports picks.


St. Louis Finds Relief in Facing Toronto
The Blues let me down last night with unexpected lack of road offense and now has lost seven of 11. The St. Louis (15-11 SU) offense has certainly been a culprit at averaging just 2.2 goals on home ice and not performing. Other than Kevin Shattenkirk (three goals and eight assists L10G), not much production, which coach Ken Hitchcock acknowledges. "We are trying to get more people to contribute offensively, but we're not there yet," Hitchcock said. "We need more help from more people."

If St. Louis is ever going to bust out of slump, today would be the day. Toronto's goaltending situation is a hot mess. The Maple Leafs (8-18 SU) normal starter Jonathan Bernier, was sent to minors for mandatory 10-day stay, after 0-9 SU start. His backup James Reimer has been solid with 2.01 goals against average in 16 outings, but he now has a lower body injury, leaving Garret Sparks, whose started twice this week in his NHL debut and his backup is now 21-year-old Antoine Bibeau.

With all these goaltender problems and being 27th in scoring, St. Louis is 22-4 against offensive teams scoring 2.4 or fewer goals game the last three seasons and is one of my choices for NHL picks.

NHL Pick: Blues -200 at Bet365

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Montreal Matchups up well with Carolina
Now on the second stint this season without goalie Carey Price, Montreal (19-8 SU) has resigned themselves to fact they will not have Price for awhile and needs contributions from everyone to continue to play well. The Canadiens are second in the league in scoring at 3.37 GAG, but have run into a mini-slump which has them scoring just six in last three contests and dropping two of three.

Tonight presents Montreal a near perfect chance to break out of slump. Carolina (8-17 SU) has given up 13 goals during three-game losing streak. The Hurricanes have other issues also. For example, their power play contingent is on a 0-13 stretch and it does not figure to improve with the Canadiens second in penalty kills this season. Then, if Montreal goes on the advantage in attackers, they are 4th in power plays scoring percentage (23.1) and Carolina is 29th in penalty kills.

Finally, the Habs are 8-0-1 in last nine meetings with the Hurricanes and Max Pacioretty has been almost unstoppable with seven goals and five assists in his last seven matchups with Carolina. You don't have to be a hockey handicapper to understand Montreal has lots of edges and is a safe wager at -140.

NHL Pick: Canadiens +124 at 5Dimes

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Detroit Keep Regulation Streak Alive
The Red Wings have not lost in regulation in nine games (6-0-3) and look to extend streak to 10 against Nashville. Of Detroit's first 26 games (14-12 SU), 10 have gone into OT and many of them are of their own doing, giving up third period leads. They finally broke the cycle with 5-1 rout of Arizona on Thursday and look to add to Nashville (13-12 SU) woes, as they have lost six of eight.

Plain and simple the Predators are not getting it done on the defensive end in allowing three goals a contest during this lousy period. On offense, there is a lack of continuity, leading to scoring just two GAG average on the road, which ranks them 26th.

Though the Red Wings are hardly stellar at home at 8-8 SU, Nashville is 3-10 this season when they score two or fewer goals, making Detroit at -125 the safe choice.

NHL Pick: Red Wings -105 at Heritage

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