NHL Picks Bruins vs. Blackhawks to go Over

David Lawrence

Sunday, January 19, 2014 1:11 PM GMT

Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014 1:11 PM GMT

26 of the 30 NHL teams were in action on Saturday but two of them that had the night off were the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks. They’ll get to it early on Sunday in a 12:30 PM ET start that will be broadcast on NBC. Both teams have been struggling of late, so Sunday’s meeting offers a good opportunity for one of them to get back on track.

The Boston Bruins Can Win Because….

The Blackhawks have lost four of six and have been bleeding money all over the place. They lost as a -200 favorite to Colorado on Tuesday, a -130 favorite in Montreal last Saturday, a -180 home favorite to the New York Rangers January 8th and as a -170 favorite over the San Jose Sharks on January 5th. That hurts.

The Blackhawks offense has been hit or miss recently, which is uncommon for them. In their last three wins, they’ve scored 14 goals but in their last five losses, they’ve scored just nine goals. The Bruins are a good defensive team and if they can hold Chicago to two goals or less, they’re probably winning.

The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because….

Boston is enduring their fair share of struggles right now too. Boston is just 4-5 in their last nine games, which isn’t awful, but considering we’re talking about a team that had a .688 winning percentage midway through December, dipping to .444 over their last nine is a significant drop.

Boston has gotten away from their roots, which is playing good defense and dragging the opponent into a low-scoring affair. The combined score in Bruins games in October was 4.66 and 4.74 in November. That’s climbed to 5.61 in December and 5.28 in January. That’s suits the Blackhawks just fine as they are quite adept in higher-scoring affairs. Since we can expect the game to be catered to their style and their pace, that’s why they’re worth a look for your NHL picks.

Outlook & Pick

It’s pretty tough to lay -160 on the NHL odds with the Blackhawks here. They’re probably the better team and they are coming off a confidence-boosting win over the Anaheim Ducks, but given how they’ve played over the last few weeks, you would have to think twice about laying this type of juice.

Instead, I’ll look towards the over. The Bruins goaltending has been subpar of late as Tuukka Rask is in a slump. He’s allowed 21 goals in his last seven starts and appears to be a bit fatigued. He’s two starts shy of his career high, so he simply hasn’t played this much professional hockey in a season and – at least right now – it appears to be wearing him down. However, the Bruins have been scoring plenty to make up for his struggles, averaging 3.33 goals per game over their last 12. Combined with Chicago’s set of offensive weapons, the over figures to be the best play for your NHL picks.

Pick: Over 5.5 at Pinnacle

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