Free NHL Picks: Wild vs. Blackhawks Game 1

PJ Laferla

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 1:39 PM GMT

The NHL postseason begins tonight when the top seeded and heavily favored Chicago Blackhawks play host to the Minnesota Wild at the United Center.


Game time is schedule for 8:05 PM EST and can be seen live on television, with national broadcast coverage provided by the NBC Sports Network.

Several of the larger online sportsbooks have pegged the home team as -235 money line favorites on the NHL odds boards, while posting an over/under number of 5 goals.

If you want to back Chicago in the one, but don’t want to lay the steep NHL odds of -235, you have the option of giving up 1½ goals on the puck line, which offers a nice return of +125. However, the Blackhawks will need to win by at least two goals for the wager to be graded as a winner.

Now, let’s take a look inside each team and determined where the best value lies for our NHL picks in this matchup.

[gameodds]7/228262/43/us[/gameodds]

Minnesota Wild

Minnesota’s big offseason moves (Zach Parise, Ryan Suter) have paid dividends for the team as they are back in the playoffs for the first time since the 2008 campaign. The duo also brings a wealth of postseason experience, which includes a combined total of 100 games.

The Wild finished the regular season strong on the road, winning four of their last five games played on the highway. They have also been engaged in higher scoring matchups on the road, going OVER in 7 of their last 10 during their travels.

However, they are just 11-29 in their last 40 games when facing a team with a record above .500. Additionally, their track record in the Conference Quarterfinals is poor, with just a 3-8 record in their last 11 games.

Chicago Blackhawks

After notching a stellar 36-7-0-5 record during the regular season, the Blackhawks enter the postseason as the top seed and are playing under a Stanley Cup or bust mentality, attempting to win it all for the second time in four years.

Chicago has proven to be a tough opponent on their home ice, winning 37 of their last 55 games at the United Center. They are also pretty good versus Western Conference adversaries, winning 37 of the last 51 against those opponents.

Ironically, they haven’t been to good in recent Conference Quarterfinals games, going just 2-5 in their last seven overall. Additionally, they are UNDER in four straight games played in the Conference Quarterfinals.

Wild vs Blackhawks Series Odds and Picks

Head to Head

Chicago was 2-0-1 in three games versus Minnesota during the regular season. The Blackhawks have won five of the seven against the Wild when meeting in Chicago.

Four of the last five meetings in Chicago have eclipsed the total.

NHL Free Pick- Blackhawks – 1 ½ On The Puck Line +125