NHL Picks of the Day: Finding Monday's Value Before the Puck Drops

Doug Upstone

Monday, December 7, 2015 2:21 PM GMT

Today's article on NHL picks could be called "Sports Picks Made Simple" with only three games on the docket for sportsbooks to have to create NHL betting odds for to start a new week.

With most people's attention focused on the NFL, yesterday was a highly unusual day in the NHL. After a week's worth of upsets, yesterday, all seven home teams were favored and they won. My guess is this doesn't happen again this season and the only date even close to this happening all season was Nov. 30th, when the NHL odds had all four home teams favored and they all won.

With so few games, let's get to our NHL picks.

 

Boston Back Home & Ready to Shine
Boston was 1-2 on their three-game road trip, yet they still picked up four points in the process. The Bruins (14-11 SU) had won five in a row, but lost in OT at Edmonton and in a shootout with Calgary before vanquishing Vancouver 4-0 Saturday. Boston remains among the top scoring teams in the league at 3.28 goals a game, with eight different players having scored at least five goals, led by Brad Marchand with 13.

Nashville is in the midst of a real slump, loser of seven of past nine. The blame squarely belongs on the defense, which has allowed 3.22 goals a game. The Predators penalty killers have been horrible in conceding 41.7 percent in last eight games and they will face the league's best power play tonight.

The B's opened as -140 home favorites and expect them to move to 8-2 over Nashville on home ice tonight.

Free NHL Pick: Boston -143 wins at BetOnline

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Colorado Seeks Quick Revenge with Minnesota
Colorado (11-16 SU) is back home after splitting four-game road trip. It ended on a sour note, losing 3-0 to Minnesota (14-11 SU). However, the Avalanche can turn that loss right around from Saturday with a victory on home ice.

That might not be as easy as it sounds and there appears to be a good reason why the Avs are only -120 home favorites. Colorado is only 3-7 at the Pepsi Center this season. Despite scoring 3.3 GAG at home, the Avalanche are far and away the worst defensive home club in the NHL at 3.60 goals allowed.

Colorado will also have to breakthrough against the Wild's defense which has pitched consecutive shutouts, with backup Darcy Kuemper between the pipes tonight with Devan Dubnyk out with injury. Kuemper completed the shutout the other night and he has a fine 2.03 goals against average in six appearances (five starts) versus the Avalanche.

Though Colorado looks like a natural play in revenge spot, their offense is spotty, their terrible play at home and 4-13 SU record in past 17 regular season home games with the Wild, has this hockey handicapper preferring Minnesota.

Free NHL Pick: Minnesota -105 wins at Bookmaker

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Play Total in Vancouver
Maybe this is so obvious it should not be ignored, but this is a hard one. Heritagesports.eu has Vancouver (9-19 SU) as a -200 favorite over Buffalo (11-16 SU). However, the Canucks have lost five in a row and 10 of 12 and backing this number takes a great deal of courage, since the Sabres have been at least respectable in winning three of five and posting 5-7 SU road mark.

At the same time, with Buffalo's loss to Edmonton last night 4-2, that marks their 13 consecutive road loss in December going back to 2013, which hardly makes them Play On material either.

The lesser of all evils, at least in theory is to play the total. I'm leaning towards the OVER on 5, which is not a great choice either with Vancouver having scored five times during losing streak. What I'm looking at is the Canucks have surrendered 17 goals in past five games and Buffalo has played in three straight OVER's and has not gone under the oddsmakers release in a half dozen tries.

Normally, I would not even consider a contest like this but with Buffalo 16-4 OVER on the road when the total is 5 or less, this is best option.

Free NHL Pick: Over 5 at 5Dimes

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