Daily NHL Picks: Three Ice Cracking Bets for Friday's Action

Doug Upstone

Friday, December 18, 2015 3:15 PM GMT

Friday, Dec. 18, 2015 3:15 PM GMT

Most days based on the number games I have to choose from in the NHL, I have a good idea what to think about the NHL odds releases and can rather quickly formulate a game plan.

Today did not happen to be one of those days. Though a half dozen NHL odds choices are available, three to four in my opinion are unplayable or not worth betting for sports picks. Thus, to arrive at three was a very difficult for this hockey handicapper. Hey, it happens and sometimes you have pull out the shovel and really start digging and hope you find gold.

Enough talking, here are my three NHL picks for the week before Christmas.

 

Washington Too Tough Right Now
Though not all the way back, we are starting to see Stanley Cup finalist Tampa Bay (16-16 SU) finally start to find a groove this season with the holiday break approaching, winning five of past seven. Though Steven Stamkos continues to not be as productive, other Lightning players are shouldering the load like  Vladislav Namestnikov and Nikita Kucherov.

But there is still a reason why Tampa Bay is a +140 road underdog according to YouWager.eu, they are facing Washington (22-8 SU). As I talked about the other day, The Capitals are no longer completely reliant on Alex Ovechkin to save them every time and have more depth and multiple lines that can change tempos of games in their favor. Also, goalie Braden Holtby is as hard to score on as getting Adele tickets at face value.

Washington is on 10-1-1 roll (win at Tampa in that mix), is 17-1-2 at the Verizon Center, winning the last six, and Tampa Bay is 2-16 away against teams scoring three or more goals game.

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NHL Pick: Washington -151
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

Vancouver Does Not Have Winning Formula in Motor City
It has not been a good season for Vancouver at 11-22 SU. It has been particularly frustrating of late having lost three in a row and eight of 10, with four of these defeats having come without scoring a single goal. With the offense cascading lower, now down to 23rd in scoring (2.42 goals a game), the defense has needed to play better and has not. The Canucks defensemen are giving too much ground and playing too deep, allowing opposing teams to carry the puck too far in, which has placed goaltenders like Ryan Miller in peril and he's given up 3.52 goals-against average over his last six starts.

Detroit (16-15 SU) has stumbled a bit of late in losing three of four, as they continue to be loose in the third period, having lost leads in nine of past 14 games in the final stanza. Tonight they opened as -175 home favorites and this will likely increase over the day, with Vancouver 4-13 against winning teams and 1-8 in road games after scoring two goals or less in three straight contests.

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NHL Pick: Detroit -193
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Key Number is Six in Carolina
This is the third choice I talked about earlier, not liking any of the other four money line opportunities.  What attracted me to Florida and Carolina for the total was their recent play.

The Panthers offense has been stellar in recent contests with 15 goals in past four outings and they should have ample chances to find the back of the net against Hurricanes defense which has conceded 3.77 GAG in last nine games.

During most of that same time the Carolina offense has been in terrific form, tallying 4.3 GAG the past six times they took the ice. With the total at 5, I can see both teams offenses playing with a great deal of confidence and though Florida has been a better defensively than then Hurricanes, they are 18-8 OVER when playing without rest.

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NHL Pick: Over 5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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