Free NHL Picks: Capitals The Strong Home Favorite vs. Predators

Dana Lane

Friday, March 18, 2016 6:53 PM GMT

The Washington Capitals are on a collision course with the Presidents Trophy as the best team in Hockey, but do Predators stand a chance tonight? Join me on my preview & get your free NHL pick.

Nashville Predators vs. Washington Capitals
I've had a hard time pushing the Predators into my top 10 all season mostly because I don't trust their penalty kill which, without it, can make it difficult to cash tickets. That's the glaring difference between these two teams tonight.  The Washington Capitals kill off 84% of their power plays which is good for fourth in the league while Nashville kills off their penalties at a rate of 80.2% which ranks in the bottom of the league. 

Why are the Capitals so good? It starts with their point man Nicklas Backstrom who is a fantastic passer and see's the whole ice and it makes it easier when you have the best goal scorer in the league parallel to you in Alexander Ovechkin. Ovi has cranked his game up to playoff level with 18 points in his last 17 games. If the defense takes Ovechkin away you have T.J. Oshie who's size at 5'11, 189 is deceiving.  Plays much bigger.  They all give the Capitals veteran experience.

All this before we get to their second unit quarterbacked by Evgeny Kuznetsov who is probably the best player on the Caps that no one knows about.  As impressive as Ovechkin has been Kuznetsov has produced 32 points in his last 27 games, giving him over a point per game. He's a guy that can play all three forward positions. When you get about a point a game that's when you start talking about an elite player. 

The only recent knock against the Capitals has been their slow starts but lately that has started to change.  It figures that team that is trying to figure out how to get to the finish line as quickly as possible would come out flat some nights.  They've had the President's Trophy locked up for some time.  They especially haven't had any problems with fast starts against Nashville. 

 

Betting Analysis
When handicapping the Washington Capitals it's difficult to go against them at home even if you find some reason to.  If you match up most offensive categories the Nashville Predators hold their own but I can't pull the trigger against a team that has won 10 of 12 at the Verizon Center.

If you just looked at the final score against the Hurricanes, a 2-1 Caps victory Tuesday night, you might wonder what's wrong with Washington. That's why you have to watch the games, folks.  The Capitals could have easily won this game by three goals if you count all the pucks that hit the cross bar. It was the best the Capitals looked, especially to start a game in a couple weeks.

The line is extremely favorable on the NHL odds boards for Washington at -159 on 5Dimes when most home lines will hover around -200.  Take the Caps as your NHL pick with confidence tonight. @DanaLaneSports.

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Free NHL Pick: Washington Capitals -160
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline