NHL Picks: Jets vs. Oilers Odds & Predictions

David Lawrence

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 1:24 PM GMT

Free NHL picks for tonight's opening matchup between the Winnipeg Jets and the Edmonton Oilers. Where should hockey bettors look to find the best value?

The 2013-14 NHL season starts on Tuesday night and the late game will feature a couple of Canadian teams who hope to be on the rise. The Winnipeg Jets will visit the Edmonton Oilers in a battle of two Western Conference teams that have their eye on the playoffs. We’ll know more about each of them after Tuesday night.

Take a look at our NHL Picks of the Day article for more free plays.

The Winnipeg Jets can win because…

They are better than they were last season. This is a team that was close to the playoffs and has done some minor tinkering to improve the roster. Experts who make their sports picks know that the Jets didn’t make wholesale changes this offseason but they did add a couple of players like Devin Setoguchi and Michael Frolik. Add that to the growth of their young players like Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler and Dustin Byfuglien, and we should see the Jets at or around that eighth and final playoff spot in the West. 

Edmonton was just 9-15 at home last season – is that the type of team you want to be laying -150 with? Yes, the Oilers are a team with potential but that was said about them last year too and they still finished 10 games under .500. 

Even though the Oilers are at home and even though the general perception of them is better than the Jets, these two teams are far more evenly matched than you would think. 

The Edmonton Oilers can win because… 

They’ve had an excellent preseason. People making their NHL picks are wary of the Oilers having the “sleeper” title as they’ve been labeled that way for three years in a row. However, they put forth a good preseason and appear to be ready to make a leap. 

The Oilers finished the preseason 5-2-1 with 11 points, which was the second-most in the preseason. On one hand, exhibition games don’t mean a whole lot but to a young team like Edmonton, it’s important to see them get those wins and show some growth. It’s also worth noting that the Oilers scored 26 goals in eight preseason games, which was again second-best in the West. 

As for Winnipeg, the Jets are also hoping to take that next step but they didn’t give us any indication that would happen in the preseason. They were 1-4-3 in the preseason, which tied them for the fewest wins in the league. 

Expect Edmonton to be fired up for their home-opener on Tuesday and to take care of business. 

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Outlook & Pick 

For the side, I’d probably lean closer to Edmonton with my sports picks simply because they played better in the preseason. However, I’m skeptical that they are worthy of NHL odds of -150.

Instead, I’ll take a shot with the over. I think this game will be high-scoring as the Jets gave up 27 preseason goals and Edmonton’s offense has looked good.

If you’re compelled to take Edmonton, take a shot with them on the puck line but I’ll just stick with the over myself.

Pick: Over 5.5 +105 at Pinnacle