NHL Picks: Sharks Dominate the Pond, Bet San Jose +109 vs. Anaheim

Bruce Webster

Friday, December 4, 2015 12:29 PM GMT

Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 12:29 PM GMT

The San Jose Sharks meet the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center, and we are redy to break down the NHL odds for this game. Find out our best free NHL picks for tonight's clash.

San Jose Sharks (14-10 SU, 12-12 PL, 13-9-2 O/U) at Anaheim Ducks (9-12-5 SU, 13-13 PL, 8-12-6 O/U)
The Line: Anaheim Ducks -120/San Jose Sharks +110.
Total: 5

The San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks will be going head-to-head for the third time already this season when they meet again at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. on Friday night. San Jose shut out Anaheim on Oct. 10 before the Ducks returned the favor on Nov. 7. Both teams are looking to bounce back from recent losses; the Sharks fell to Pittsburgh 5-1 on Tuesday while the Ducks were downed by Tampa Bay 2-1 on Wednesday. Let's analyze the NHL odds.

 

Shifting Defense
After 24 games, the Sharks are still waiting for someone to step up and grab hold of the sixth spot on the blue line. Matt Tennyson and Mirco Mueller have been inconsistent, so the team is relying on its top five defensemen to get the job done.

“It’s not a perfect situation,” head coach Pete DeBoer admitted. “I always like to look at the glass half full, and I’m hoping somebody does (emerge). At the same time, Chicago rode four ‘D’ last year to a Stanley Cup.”

In the meantime, DeBoer is giving increased workloads to Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Brent Burns, Justin Braun, and Paul Martin, among others. During the Sharks’ recent road trip, Vlasic logged more than 25 minutes in four of six games, getting 28:55 of ice time in a 3-1 win at Pittsburgh. Braun is averaging a career-high of 21:22 per game and Burns is up 1:19 from his career-high of 25:03 in 2010-11.

 

Nate Skates
Anaheim center Nate Thompso made his season debut on Wednesday in a setback against Tampa Bay. He had been out for almost two months because of offseason shoulder surgery.

“It’s exciting, for sure,” said Thompson, who was injured in the Ducks’ regular-season finale on April 11 and had surgery following the playoffs. “The last couple of days I haven’t stopped smiling just because it’s like Christmas. I’m excited to get going again.”

Thompson scored five goals and 18 points in 80 games for Anaheim before heating up in the postseason. After sitting out a first-round sweep of the Jets, the 32-year-old Alaskan scored two goals and contributed four assists in 12 outings against the Flames and Blackhawks.

 

Trends for San Jose:
7-0 in their last seven road games
5-0 in their last five road games against teams with losing home records
7-2 in their last nine overall

 

Trends for Anaheim:
9-19 in their last 28 overall
2-5 in their last seven home games
3-9 in their last 12 games against teams with winning records

While San Jose’s defensive issues have led to inconsistency, the unit has been outstanding on occasion. For example, the Sharks have given up just one goal combined in two games against Anaheim. They allowed only two to Calgary last Saturday and one combined on Nov. 19 and 21 in wins over Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The Sharks are 7-0 in their last seven road games and 10-4 in the last 14 head-to-head meetings, while the Ducks are 5-16 in their last 21 outings against fellow Western Conference participants. Count on those trends continuing for your NHL picks.

Free NHL Pick: San Jose Sharks +109 at BetOnline

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