Expert Money Line NHL Picks for Dec. 20th

David Lawrence

Saturday, December 20, 2014 2:26 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014 2:26 PM UTC

Saturday will be a busy night on the ice with 12 games on the card. We’ve rounded up our top three NHL picks, so read on to find out where we find the value:

Colorado Avalanche vs.  Buffalo Sabres
NHL Odds: Avalanche -125
The Buffalo Sabres are coming off a 5-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets but could just be a blip on the radar. The Sabres have turned around their miserable season and had been on a four-game winning streak heading into that contest. They’ve been a completely different team over the last month and that loss was just their fourth in the last 14 games. Meanwhile, the Avs continue to be a mess and it’s unclear why they’re a favorite in today's NHL odds. They’ve lost six of seven this month and have just four wins in 15 road games. This line is built on the perceptions of the two teams and the brands involved, but the reality is that Buffalo has been the significantly better team of late. As a dog, that’s great value. Take them with your NHL picks.

Free NHL Pick: Sabres +110


Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Islanders
NHL Odds: Islanders -130
This will be a matchup of two of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference right now. While many people pegged the Lightning as a sleeper, a lot of people are surprised to see that the Islanders are playing so well. They’ve won 22 of 32 games and enter Saturday’s matchup with Tampa Bay on a three-game winning streak.

The Isles really own this series as they’ve won 11 of the last 14 home matchups between the teams. That’s impressive when you consider just how bad the Isles have been over the last few seasons yet they’ve still had Tampa Bay’s number. That doesn’t bode well for this matchup when you consider that Tampa Bay is just 8-9 on the road this year and has lost three of four to start their five-game road trip. At the same time, the Islanders are one of the league’s best home teams with nine wins in their last 10 at home. Although you have to lay a little bit of juice in this one with the Isles, they’re the play.

Free NHL Pick:  Islanders -130

Nashville Predators vs. Minnesota Wild
NHL Odds: Wild -130
The Nashville Predators look like their worth a shot in this role as you can get them as a dog up at +115. They’re the better of the two teams as they’re eight points ahead of the 10th-place Minnesota Wild. The Wild are scuffling a bit with losses in four of their last six. Their goaltenders are battling stomach illnesses and have been subpar in that stretch with both Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper posting GAA’s of 3.28 or worse. Meanwhile, Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne has been outstanding of late, posting a 1.19 GAA and two shutouts over his last five games. He’s won six of his last nine starts versus the Wild while posting a 1.53 GAA against them. The Wild play well at home and the Preds are hit or miss on the road, but other than that, all signs point to the Preds being the play.

Free NHL Pick:  Predators +113 at Pinnacle Sportsbook

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