Free NHL Picks: Blue Jackets Have Upper Hand Against Injured Maple Leafs

Jason Lake

Tuesday, April 5, 2016 8:07 PM GMT

Tuesday, Apr. 5, 2016 8:07 PM GMT

The NHL odds are dead-even for Wednesday's tank festival between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Toronto Maple Leafs, two of the worst teams in the league.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of April 5: 2-1 ATS (0.15 units), 2-10 ML (–10.67 units), 0-1-2 Totals (–1.00 units)

If it's April, it must be time for the “real” NHL season to start. Deserving teams will be fighting tooth-and-nail this month for the richest prize in our sport: the No. 1 overall selection at the 2016 NHL Draft. And two of the most deserving teams will face each other this Wednesday night (7:00 p.m. ET, TSN) when the Columbus Blue Jackets visit the Toronto Maple Leafs. This could very well be one of the least competitive games we've ever had the fortune of witnessing.

But seriously, folks: This is the way the NHL is run these days. Every spring, we've come to expect the worst hockey possible from bottom teams in the league standings. The players themselves will presumably give it the proverbial 110 percent, but it'll be a rag-tag collection of scrubs and prospects taking the ice at Air Canada Centre. The NHL odds say Wednesday's game is a toss-up. Somebody has to lose, though.

 

What It's All About: Auston
Nobody's done a better job of losing this year than the Maple Leafs (28-40-11). They're last in the league standings at press time, which means they're in first place in the Auston Matthews Sweepstakes – Matthews being the consensus top prospect in this year's draft. Toronto have been very aggressive this year in dumping veteran contracts; this is Year One under GM Lou Lamoriello and head coach Mike Babcock, and after all their wheeling and dealing, they've got five draft picks to make in the first two rounds alone.

The Blue Jackets (31-40-8) are third-last in the standings, although they have the same goal differential as Toronto at minus-41. Columbus still own their first-rounder for 2016, but they haven't stockpiled picks the same way the Leafs have – this wasn't expected to be a rebuilding year for the Jackets. They fired head coach Todd Richards after starting the season 0-7, and have been treading water since John Tortorella took over the reins.

 

My Name Is Mickey Mouse
At least Columbus have done a bang-up job of losing lately. They've dropped five of their last six games, as have the Leafs. But Toronto have taken things to another level; center Nazem Kadri (17 goals, 45 points), the team's leading scorer, has been suspended for the rest of the regular season after cross-checking Detroit's Luke Glendening. Well played, Leafs.

Toronto also have a long, long list of injured players coming into Wednesday's game. And Garret Sparks (.897 save percentage) has been confirmed in goal for the Leafs, while Sergei Bobrovsky (.908 SV%) is projected for Columbus. This game is set up for Toronto to lose, and it's a dead-bolt lock that the fans at the ACC will cheer for exactly that result. Back Columbus as your NHL picks, and may the cylinder be with you. Are you looking for some great value plays tonight

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Free NHL Pick: Columbus +100
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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