Expect Jets-Predators Game 7 High-Scoring Affair in ‘Smashville’

Dana Lane

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 6:39 PM UTC

Tuesday, May. 8, 2018 6:39 PM UTC

A spot in the Western Conference Finals opposite Vegas awaits the winner of Thursday night’s Winnipeg at Nashville matchup. The ‘over’ has cashed 8 of the last 10 meetings there.

Game 7: Winnipeg Jets (3-3) at Nashville Predators (3-3)Free NHL Pick: OverBest Line Offered: Skybook

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The Vegas Golden Knights will know their Western Conference Finals on Thursday when the back-and-forth series between the Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators will finally get a winner. This was the way it was supposed to be, though: A tough series between teams that were as evenly matched as any we’ll see this postseason.

The Game 7 puck drop from Bridgestone Arena is scheduled for Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.

The opening number, according to the SBR odds page, shows the Predators as definitive -155 favorites. However, a little shopping can provide a better number if you’re on the Preds like at BetOnline where “Smashville” is just a -145 favorite. Of course, if you like Winnipeg you would want to jump on the +135 at Pinnacle or Bovada.

Thus far in the playoffs, the team that receives the higher percentage of tickets written has won almost 62% of the time (40-25). Early on 68%, of bets have been on Nashville.

My wager will focus on the total, sitting at 5.5 (-115/’under’) after opening -105 each way. As much I don’t shy away from public line movement when it comes to the side, I do when it comes to the total because 29 of the 51 games, where there has been movement, have resulted in a loss for bettors. Not a reason to take one side over another, but it is an interesting statistic to keep track of when trying to get a read on the public. This way you have an educated idea of potential line movement which gives you a read on when to place your wager.

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OOPS. HE DID IT AGAIN. #StandWithUs | #NSHvsWPG pic.twitter.com/JTXaa1IL6J

— p-Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) May 8, 2018

NHL handicapping evolves every year. What’s important and what’s not when watching a game and how that information will translate into making a wager.

The last two seasons it’s been depth scoring; can a team roll four lines with a legitimate chance to keep opposing goaltenders honest? I’m not sure that’s as important now as it is to have guys who are solid two-way players. I find myself attracted to teams that have defensive forwards who can use their speed to impose their will for 200 feet. I value coaching more than I did after watching roster moves this postseason that breathed life into bottom-six guys who seemed lifeless. We see a change to quality over quantity in shot selection where getting pucks to the net and then whack away on the rebound isn’t getting the job done anymore.

Now scoring is back to being about precision passing, feeding shots in the low slot area, trusting that your linemates will be in position to take a pass in front because they’ve used their speed to establish position.

If I’m going to evolve on how I view the game than there is no time like the present with teams that were not big on number of shots to the net but very big on goals per game. Winnipeg was the league’s 2nd-ranked offense (3.33 g/gm) behind the Tampa Bay Lightning, while the Predators were eighth at 3.18 goals per game.

These teams exemplify the changing of the guard in my handicapping mind. It’s get on top early and then force your opponent to beat you in every zone. Gone are the days of packing it in. Hockey’s full-court press is the new way to keep pucks from reaching your goaltender. Offense by defense.

Both of these teams have enjoyed success when leading after the first period. Nashville is 23-4-4 when outscoring opponents after 20 minutes, while Winnipeg is even better at 30-2-2. It’s important because both will be in a frenzy to get that first goal leading to a frantic pace throughout and in my mind frantic equals ‘over’.

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