NHL Picks of the Day Feature Two Hot Plays to Max Out Your Profit

Nikki Adams

Thursday, May 7, 2015 2:12 PM GMT

Thursday, May. 7, 2015 2:12 PM GMT

With NHL odds in full swing, join us as we preview Thursday's round of Stanley Cup Playoffs games. We've got you covered with NJL picks on the money line, totals and puck line.

Canadiens +1.5 (-220), +140 vs. Lightning -1.5 (+180), -160
Over 5.0 (+140) Under 5.0 (-160)

Analysis: The Lightning  look to complete the sweep of the Canadiens on Thursday night when the pair resume hostilities in the Eastern Conference semi-finals of the NHL Playoffs. What was expected to be a tough series is anything but at the moment, with the Lightning holding the 3-0 edge. The obvious question NHL bettors are contemplating is whether they'll pull off the feat tonight at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.

When weighing both teams in the balance, the Canadiens were deemed to have the advantage in goal tending according to sports experts and bettors alike. So, in the event of a one-sided series unfolding, the assumption was that it would be Montreal with Carey Price in net that would be enjoying such fortune and not the Bolts. Last year, the Canadiens did exactly that when they swept the Lightning in the first round of the NHL Playoffs.

In no uncertain terms, the tables seem to have turned on the Canadiens as they enter tonight's game staring down the barrel of elimination. As it is, the NHL odds are stacked against them at +140 and they are the +1.5 underdogs on the puck line. Game 3 saw the Canadiens put in a valiant effort only to be robbed by a last gasp goal with just 1.1 seconds left on the clock.

Finger pointers might look upon Price's inability to tap into the form that saw him enjoy a standout regular season and, even, his failure to make the crucial save in last night's defeat as the crux of the problem. But the truth of the matter is the Canadiens have been struggling top to bottom in this series. Mainly their offense leaves much to be desired, firing blanks throughout most of this series.

So far, they've only mustered up four goals in three games. On the flipside, the Bolts have scored ten goals, including a whopping 6-2 win in game 2 in Montreal. They've also failed to capitalise on power play opportunities as eight have gone begging without a single goal.

It's not going to be any easier tonight for the Canadiens because they are set to play for the second time in as many nights. Physically exhausted they must be mentally taxed as well, as the magnitude of the task before them sets in. Those aren't ideal conditions for a must-win game. The Lightning, by contrast, are in an enviable position with a 3-0 edge and home advantage to capitalise on as they attempt to pull off the sweep. One has to like the conditions they're going to be enjoying for this game, not least the confidence they have right now. As such, they are the smart NHL pick to win outright at -160.  We're expecting the Bolts to rout the Canadiens as they complete the sweep.

NHL Picks: Lightning to win at -160; Over 5.0 (+140) and -1.5 (+180)

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Blackhawks +1.5 (-310), +105 vs. Wild -1.5 (+250), -125
Over 5.0 (+100) Under 5.0 (-120)

Analysis: The Blackhawks lead the series with the Wild 3-0, poised to sweep them out of the Western Conference semi-finals tonight. Yet, for some bizarre, inexplicable reason, they are matched as the NHL betting underdogs in this game. Trading at +105 to win outright on the NHL odds board while the winless Wild are the odds makers' favourites at -125 NHL odds.

Granted the Wild have home advantage and that's something that warrants consideration in NHL betting markets. However, within reason and context, surely.  In terms of reason, aside from home advantage there really doesn't appear to be any justifiable reason for the Wild to be favoured in this game. In the context of this series, they haven't struck a chord at all. They've been outmatched, outplayed and outmuscled by the Blackhawks, who are looking to reach the Western Conference finalists for a third consecutive season. And they are one game away from elimination.

We are talking about the Blackhawks, only the best team this side of the decade in the NHL Playoffs. Oh, and they are playing in the windy city, right? Well, then, at +105 NHL odds, they are the value NHL pick of the day.  Mark these words. They opened the series with a 4-3 win before taking a 4-1 win in game 2 in Minnesota. They jumped to a commanding lead on Tuesday night with a 1-0 win at home. Tonight, expect more one-way traffic as the Blackhawks sweep the Wild in a big way.

NHL Picks: Blackhawks +105, Over 5.0 (+100) and +1.5 (-310)

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