Free NHL Picks: Take Blues -108 vs. Struggling Ducks

Swinging Johnson

Friday, March 11, 2016 8:03 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 11, 2016 8:03 PM UTC

The Ducks had strung together 11 consecutive wins before dropping their last two games while the Blues are the proud owners of a four game winning streak looking for number five tonight. Let’s review the NHL odds and fatten our bankroll tonight.

Anaheim Ducks (37-29, -0.5 units)
Once the revelry of defeating the LA Kings on their home ice had dissipated the Ducks hosted the best team in the league, the Washington Capitals, and fell by a 2-1 score as -135 home chalk. Once the streak ended many believed the Ducks would get back to their winning ways as they flew to the Mile High City to take on the Colorado Avalanche.

The NHL odds makers installed Anaheim as -150 road favorites but a spectacular display of goaltending by the Avalanche’s Semyon Varlamov was the key to a stunning 3-0 defeat. Anaheim launched 37 shots and none pierced the steel curtain that was Varlamov on Wednesday night. Conversely, veteran netminder John Gibson had a rare off night as he turned aside 23 of 26 Colorado shots in the loss. After 11 games of paying off all those who backed the Ducks in their NHL picks, Anaheim has reversed course and dropped the last pair as favorites, giving back some of that hard earned money to the bookmakers.


St. Louis Blues (39-29, +2.8 units)
The Blues are now on the precipice of overtaking Chicago and Dallas for the top spot not only in the Central Division but also the Western Conference. They are riding a four game winning streak after victories on the road over Carolina, Ottawa and Minnesota coupled with an enormous 3-2 win at home over the division leading Blackhawks in their last outing.

Perhaps more than anything St. Louis has found their scoring touch which has led to this recent spate of success. Owning the 23rd ranked scoring offense, averaging just 2.5 GPG, the Blues have averaged four goals per game over their last four contests and have enjoyed solid goaltending by Jake Allen who has shouldered the load over the past month in relief of the injured starter Brian Elliot. During this winning streak however, Allen has been not only solid but stellar with a .940 save percentage and has seen more rubber than I-95 turning aside 135 of 144 shots over four games.


Betting Analysis
The Blues won the first of two meetings against Anaheim this season with a 2-1 decision in St. Louis way back in October. The Ducks responded in January with a 4-3 win of their own in Anaheim. Tonight will be the rubber match and it takes place on the Blues’ home ice. One of the things that struck me about St. Louis’s play recently has not only been the increased scoring but the sheer volume of shots the team has been getting off on their opponents. Consider if you will that this team that ranks 23rd in scoring has suddenly averaged four goals per game and over 38 shots per game during that recent winning streak. Conversely, the Ducks who are 25th in goals scored, even lower than St. Louis, has averaged only 27 shots per contest.

Once we consider that the Blues have found their groove by firing away and crashing for rebounds while Anaheim appears content to play a more defensive minded game the choice is clear. While the Ducks are keeping their opponents at bay and grinding it out be assured St. Louis will not take a back seat defensively or in the net tonight as Jake Allen has been on fire while John Gibson of Anaheim struggled mightily in his last outing against Colorado. Gibson’s platoon mate, Frederik Andersen, could very easily be in net for Anaheim but only Jake Allen is confirmed for St. Louis as of this writing. Let’s side with the home team that is clicking on all cylinders and has first place in their sights.

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NHL Pick: Blues -108
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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