Free NHL Picks: Back 'Under' In Low-Scoring Predators vs. Blues Battle

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, December 29, 2015 6:45 PM GMT

Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015 6:45 PM GMT

St. Louis takes on Nashville in this primetime NHL matchup. Our handicapper analyzes the matchup to find extra value in the total for your Tuesday NHL Pick.

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Free NHL Pick: Under 5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

In the primetime NHL matchup on Tuesday night on NBC Sports Network, we have the Nashville Predators starting their road trip against the St. Louis Blues. Lines took a while to develop with Nashville playing late Monday night; however, St. Louis has been listed on the NHL odds board as the favorite on the moneyline at -137 at Heritage. The O/U total has been listed at 5 at multiple books, with the juice leaning towards the over at -125 at Bovada.

Nashville is coming off of a win on Monday night; a 5-3 showing against the New York Rangers which saw the Predators score three times in the final period. This was a typical high scoring game for the Rangers, although the Predators had been struggling to score as of late.

Compared to last season, the Predators have some players that are underperforming, especially their forwards. These stats were compiled from Adam Vingan at the Teneessean in Nashville, and are very telling of the Predators offensive output this year:

Filip Forsberg

  • Last season (82 games): 26 goals, 63 points 
  • This season (34 games): Seven goals, 22 points
  • On pace: 17 goals, 53 points

Mike Ribeiro

  • Last season (82 games): 15 goals, 62 points 
  • This season (34 games): Four goals, 19 points
  • On pace: 10 goals, 46 points

Craig Smith

  • Last season (82 games): 23 goals, 44 points
  • This season (34 games): Seven goals, 11 points
  • On pace: 17 goals, 27 points

Colin Wilson

  • Last season (77 games): 20 goals, 42 points
  • This season (29 games): Two goals, 12 points
  • On pace: Five goals, 32 points

Mike Fisher

  • Last season (59 games): 19 goals, 39 points
  • This season (24 games): Five goals, seven points
  • On pace: 15 goals, 21 points

James Neal

  • Last season (67 games): 23 goals, 37 points 
  • This season (34 games): 13 goals, 22 points
  • On pace: 31 goals, 53 points (The Outlier of the group)

 

Game Preview
Of course, with the forwards not scoring, someone has to pick up the slack, and for Nashville that is the defensive lineup. As of last weekend, the Predators lead the league in goals scored by defensemen at 27. Last year, Nashville also topped the NHL in goals scored by defensemen with 55 over the entire season.

Any goals by Nashville will be hard to come by with the inspired play by the St. Louis goalkeepers this year. In their game on Sunday against the Dallas Stars, Brian Elliot was brilliant even if he lost the game, as Dallas was in his face most of the game. Elliot still saved 35 shots and kept the Blues in the game until the very end, as they lost 3-0 after a late empty net goal in the 3rd period.

While Elliot may be goalie 1/B, goalie 1/A in the Blues rotation is Jake Allen. Allen has been fantastic this year to the tune of 2.05 goals allowed per game. He has exhibited a slight home ice advantage, allowing only 1.89 goals per game at the Scottrade Center. Allen only gave up one goal in St. Louis’s December 17th matchup versus Nashville. In that game he stopped 27 shots on goal in 28 attempts in a 2-1 Blues win over the Predators.

 

What's The Pick?
With Nashville having a hard time finding consistency on offense from their top forwards, and the Blues goalie situation solid no matter who is minding the net, this appears to be the recipe for a hard-fought, low-scoring game. St. Louis being rested for a day just solidifies their defensive lines as well. We even get some extra value after Nashville played the poor defense of the Rangers last night. That is why I am taking under 5 in the Tuesday primetime matchup as my NHL pick.

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