NHL Picks: Betting Tips for Opening Day

David Schwab

Friday, January 18, 2013 7:21 PM GMT

The long-awaited return of the NHL after a four-month labor dispute finally ends this Saturday with a 13 games to kick-off the amended 48-game regular season. Spark your Hockey Picks.

NHL Opening Day Betting Tips

The following are some betting tips for a few of the top match-ups on this Saturday’s slate.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers (12 p.m. PT)

This is one of the premier match-ups on the opening-day schedule with the Penguins a 4/1 favorite to win the Eastern Conference followed by Philadelphia at 7/1. These two met in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season with the Flyers coming-out on top four games to two, so the bad blood that surely remains should only intensify things between the two.

The money line and total line are still off for this game, but the play here could be on the OVER no matter how high it is set. These were two of the most prolific scoring teams in the NHL last season with Pittsburgh leading the league with 3.33 goals-per-game with the Flyers a close second at 3.17. Throw in the fact that it could take both the Penguins’ Marc-Andre-Fleury and Philly’s Ilya Bryzgalov some time to shake off the rust in goal and the goals should pile-up pretty quickly in this one.

[gameodds]7/218097/43/us[/gameodds]

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings (12 p.m. PT)

The Western Conference gets back into action with two of its top teams facing-off against one another. The Blackhawks and the defending Stanley Cup Champion Kings are each listed at 13/2 NHLbetting odds, second-favorites to win the conference behind Vancouver at 7/2. Chicago is coming off an up and down season but it is just a few years removed from its own run to the Cup. It will be looking to get out to a fast start behind one of the most talented rosters in the entire league.

The big question for Los Angeles is: can they maintain the form that led to one of the greatest title runs in the history of the NHL. The Kings stormed their way through four best-of-seven playoff series with just four losses. The key will be the play of Jonathan Quick, who was one of the top goaltenders in the NHL during the regular season, but elevated his play to a whole other level in the playoffs. That performance right out of the gate could be hard to duplicate so you might want to go with the past trends in this matchup considering that Chicago has won 10 of the last 14 meetings overall and four of the last five in LA. In recent history, they have been great to back for NHL Hockey Picks.

[gameodds]7/218099/43/us[/gameodds]

New York Rangers vs. Boston Bruins (4 p.m. PT)

The Rangers finished last season with the most points (109) in the East but fell to New Jersey in six games in the conference finals. They have been opened as 4/1 favorites to win the East this time around. New York’s strength over the past few seasons has been its defense, especially last season when it led the league in goals allowed. Traditionally after a long layoff it takes the defense some extra time to catch up with the offense which could spell a possible slow start to a fast-paced season.

Boston is the fourth-favorite to win the East at 15/2 after winning the conference in 2011. The Bruins still have a number of key pieces in place from that title run including some potent goal scorers that combined to average over three goals a game last season. In a matchup between great defense and great offense, you might want to stick with the team that can take better advantage of a goalie that could be carrying a bit rust from the long delay. 

[gameodds]7/218100/43/us[/gameodds]