NHL Picks: Betting Value On The Dog In Capitals vs. Blues

Nikki Adams

Saturday, April 9, 2016 3:00 PM GMT

Saturday, Apr. 9, 2016 3:00 PM GMT

Although the Capitals and Blues are headed into the playoffs, there’s still all to play for in this final regular season weekend showdown. How do the NHL odds stack up and where are the value NHL picks?

Washington Capitals (55-17-8)
The Capitals look to cap a banner season on a high when they descend on the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night. Amassing a 55-17-8 mark through 80 games and 118 points, the Capitals are miles ahead of the rest of the field and, as a result, wrapped up top seed in the Eastern Conference a long time ago.

Their high-flying season is underscored by solid form both home and away – they are 29-7-4 in the nation’s capital and 26-10-4 on their travels around the league. Recent form though features a distinct let up – they are just 4-3-3 in their last ten games and riding a three-game losing streak. Then again, with top seed secured they can afford to let up and save their energy for the postseason and a concentrated Stanley Cup run. As it is, the Capitals are the favourites to win the Stanley Cup at +425 NHL futures at bet365, a good distance ahead of Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues (both at +650), Pittsburgh Penguins (+750) and LA Kings and Chicago Blackhawks (both on +850).

Most recently, the Capitals are coming off 4-3 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Washington, their third straight loss after losing to Arizona (3-0) and the NY Islanders (4-3 in OT). In April, thus far, the Capitals have one solitary victory on their resume: 4-2 over Colorado. It’s their longest losing streak of the season and a patch of poor form (two wins in their last seven) that began, ironically, with a 4-0 loss to the Blues at home. As a consequence, the Capitals are trading on rather large NHL odds by their lofty standards. Sportsbooks are offering a road win anywhere from +120 to +130 on the NHL odds board.

St. Louis Blues (49-23-9)
The St. Louis Blues are tied with the Dallas Stars atop the Western Conference on 107 points, with one last game to decide top seed. The Blues are 49-23-9 on the season through 81 games and, auspiciously, riding a three-game winning streak down the stretch. They’ll be looking to finish on a winning note at the expense of the league’s standard Washington Capital, and seize top seed and home advantage for the playoffs.

That’s incentive if ever there was any. As such, odds makers are looking rather favourably on the Blues in their final regular season tilt, offering the home win anywhere from -135 to -150 NHL odds, depending on your choice sportsbook.

The Blues are 24-12-4 at home this season, which includes five wins in their last six home games. Anchoring that solid form is a recent run of form that stands at 8-2-0 in their last ten, and a three-game winning streak (two on the road) ahead of this final date with the Capitals. They beat Colorado 5-1, Arizona 5-2 and Chicago 2-1 in OT.

NHL Betting Verdict: The St. Louis Blues definitely strike a convincing pose on the NHL odds board as the home favourites. Underscoring those NHL odds as well are several factors, over and above current form and home advantage. Mainly, they have the incentive to win: riding on the outcome of this game is a potential top seed in the Western Conference. It’s clear the Capitals don’t have much to play for in the broad spectrum of the season – they’ve accomplished all they needed to and, now, it’s really about being smart and saving their energy for the postseason. Of course, that doesn’t mean they might not be tempted to play spoilsports. Not to mention, there is something to be said for momentum going into the playoffs and, surely, the Capitals don’t want to ride into the postseason on a five-game losing streak when all is said and done.

By all accounts, the Blues should win but the Capitals could win and that makes it a tough game to handicap on our NHL Picks. For our money, the Capitals are too tempting at their underdog NHL odds to give a skip so we’re shading the Capitals at +128. It’s purely about the money.

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NHL Pick:  Capitals +128 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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