NHL Picks: Flames vs. Canucks

David Lawrence

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:28 PM GMT

The Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks have both been very sluggish to start the season. Neither team has yet to register a win and both sides have started to make their fan bases very nervous.

NHL Betting – Flames vs. Canucks NHL Picks

The two Western Canadian franchises will meet up in an important early-season game on Wednesday. The NHL betting odds came out with the Canucks posted as -170 favorites for this contest.

Record: 9-7 (+225)

The Calgary Flames can win because:

The Canucks are already doubting themselves. Vancouver has played two games and have been embarrassed both times. In their regular season opener, it was supposed to be the dawn of a new era where Cory Schneider emerged as the new franchise goaltender. Instead, Schneider was pulled after allowing five goals and the Canucks lost 7-3 to the Anaheim Ducks. Then Roberto Luongo started the next game against Edmonton and the team still lost 3-2.

Vancouver is a team that goes as their goaltenders do. When they have reliable net-minding, they are arguably the best team in the NHL. As soon as their goaltenders start allowing weak goals, the team plays completely different.

As for Calgary, they should be in line for a better performance on Wednesday after their first two games were torpedoed by one bad period. Head coach Bob Hartley is preaching consistency after the Flames gave up three goals in the second period against San Jose and three goals in the first period against Anaheim. In the other four periods, they’ve played really well. With a complete effort, they can beat a Canucks team that has lost its confidence.

The Vancouver Canucks can win because:

The Flames are not a very good team. While the Canucks have two losses on the record so far, one can argue that the Anaheim Ducks are a playoff team and the Edmonton Oilers are also on the rise. The Flames, however, are a team in transition that is only getting worse.

The Flames have struggled to find a level of consistency in the early part of the season. When they play well, they can barely compete but when they play poorly, they get embarrassed. The Flames have two home losses on record so far, which includes a 4-1 loss to San Jose and a 5-4 loss to Anaheim. The Canucks have one of the better offenses in the NHL and if San Jose and Anaheim get score at least four goals, the Canucks should be able to do the same.

The Canucks have struggled in net but Calgary’s offense isn’t anything to be concerned about. Their offensive units are weak and they have yet to get a goal out of Jarome Iginla. If that doesn’t change quickly, they’ll fall to 0-3.

[gameodds]7/218133/43/us[/gameodds]

Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction: 

It’s hard not to like the Canucks in this spot but I don’t want to be laying juice with a team that’s already lost twice at home as a favorite. Instead, I’m going with the under for my hockey picks on this one. I think the Canucks are really going to clamp down defensively to make sure that they protect their net-minders. They should be able to hold the Flames to very little in this game.

NHL Picks: Under 5.5 at BetOnline