NHL Picks: Red Wings vs. Ducks Game 1

David Schwab

Monday, April 29, 2013 8:15 PM GMT

The Detroit Red Wings kick-off their 22nd-straight postseason appearance this Tuesday night in Game 1 of a best-of-seven opening round matchup against the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center.


NHL Playoff Picks- Red Wings

The game is slated to get underway at 7:30 p.m. (PT) and it will be broadcast nationally on the NBC Sports Network. Let's look at the odds and matchup to help make our NHL picks.

Red Wings Betting Overview

The Red Wings string of 21 consecutive playoff berths was in serious jeopardy a few weeks ago when they could only manage one victory during a seven-game skid. They turned things around just in time with a four-game winning streak to close-out the regular season that snuck them in as the seventh seed in the Western Conference. They will now play the first two games of this series on the road where they went 11-9-4 this season and 3-1-2 in their last six road games. The total has stayed UNDER in eight of their last 11 games overall.

Detroit would hardly be considered an offensive juggernaut with an average of 2.5 goals a game, but it can still play hard-nosed defense that has the team ranked fifth in the league in goals allowed with a goals-against-average of 2.3. Jimmy Howard has not missed a start in goal since March 25 and comes into this series with a 2.13 GAA and a save percentage of .923. 

Get the series picks on this match-up here!

Ducks Betting Overview

Anaheim remained near the top of the standings in the West all season long but a very pedestrian 5-4-1 record down the stretch has to raise some concern heading into what could be a very dangerous matchup. The No. 2 seed Ducks won the Pacific Division by a comfortable seven-point margin which might explain their lackadaisical approach to the end of the regular season.

This is still a very well-balanced team with a goals-per-game average of 2.8 to go along with a GAA of 2.4 that are both ranked in the top 10 of the league. Ryan Getzlaf has led the way in the scoring department with a team-high 15 goals and 34 assists with Cory Perry netting 15 goals and 21 assists of his own. The goaltending duties were evenly split between Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth with Fasth boasting a slightly better save percentage (.921 verse .913) and lower GAA (2.18 verse 2.36). Each should still see significant playing time between the pipes in the playoffs but look for Hiller to get the start in Tuesday night’s series opener.

Red Wings vs. Ducks- NHL Betting Odds and Trends

BetOnline has opened Detroit as a 139 NHL odds road underdog on the money line with the Ducks listed as 153 home favorites. The total for this game has been set at 5.

The Red Wings are 7-3 in their last 10 games against teams from the Pacific Division but 1-4 in their last five opening round playoff games. The total has stayed UNDER in five of their last six games on the road.

The Ducks are 3-7 in their last 10 home games and 1-4 in their last five games against the Central Division. The total has stayed UNDER in 12 of their last 16 games overall.

Head-to-head in this matchup, Detroit is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings including a 2-1 record in this season’s series. The total has stayed UNDER in 10 of the last 14 meetings between the two.

[gameodds]7/228271/43-349/us[/gameodds]

Red Wings vs. Ducks- Free NHL Pick

I am not sure that the Red Wings can compete with Anaheim’s balance on both ends of the ice over the course of a seven-game series, but they are more than capable of coming into this arena and steeling Game 1 of this series. Look for Howard to put the clamps on the Ducks while Detroit does just enough on offense to secure the win, making it my free NHL pick in this one.

Detroit 2   Anaheim 1 (lines provided by Bet365)

YTD NHL Free Picks Record: 30-17-2