Friday’s NHL picks include some Playoff-bound teams, and some looking like their season will come to an end prematurely. For best betting value, we focus on handicapping the game totals.
New Jersey Devils vs. Buffalo Sabres
Odds: Devils -190
The New Jersey Devils have won two in a row and are 4-2-1 in their last seven games, so they have a little bit of momentum. Meanwhile, the Sabres are coming off a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday and winning is not something the Sabres usually do a lot of. That was just their first win in March.
This is a fairly tough game to handicap as it’s tough to lay this kind of juice with the Devils as they’re not a particularly strong team. On the season, they are 10 games under .500. However, Buffalo is a mess of epic proportions and there’s no way to trust them either.
I’ll go under the NHL odds total here as the two teams have combined for just eight goals in their two meetings this season. Buffalo has scored just 11 goals in seven games this month and might have a tough time with Devils netminder Cory Schneider.
NHL Pick: Under 5
Detroit Red Wings vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Odds: Lightning -160
Only six points separate the Red Wings and Lightning in the Eastern Conference standings but that’s enough to see the Red Wings in seventh and the Lightning in third in the conference. The issue is that the Red Wings have gone ice cold, dropping five of their last seven, including last night to the Florida Panthers, at the absolutely worst time of the season. The Red Wings lost 3-1 in Florida on Thursday and now have a quick turnaround. Howard will be in net for the game but it’s the first time he’s suited up since giving up seven goals to the Flyers last Saturday. He’s really struggled of late, giving up 17 goals in his last five outings while posting an .894 save percentage this month.
Tampa Bay has just one win in their last three and has had most of the week off since beating Montreal on Monday. They probably win this game but there’s too much juice for me to lay here. Instead, I’ll place my NHL picks over as Tampa Bay has the league’s best offense (3.21 goals per game) and the Red Wings are scuffling in net.
NHL Pick: Over 5.5 at Bovada
Colorado Avalanche vs. Anaheim Ducks
Odds: Ducks -190
Anaheim is on a roll right now as they’ve won three straight games and are getting some stellar goaltending from John Gibson. It appears he’s taken over the No. 1 duties in Anaheim as he’s made four straight starts even though Frederik Andersen is healthy. He’s been deserved of the playing time as he’s given up two goals or less in three straight and seven of his last eight outings.
Colorado has also played well these days as they had won five of six entering Thursday night’s action in Arizona. They’ve been playing very well defensively as they had allowed just 11 goals in their first six March contests with five of them coming in a loss to the Los Angeles Kings. They’ve been playing airtight in their own end. Semyon Varlamov has a 2.29 GAA since the All-Star break with a .924 save percentage.
With both goaltenders playing well, I’m going to look at the under here.
NHL Pick: Under 5.5 at 5Dimes