NHL Picks of the Day: Trio of Winning Selections To End The Year

Doug Upstone

Thursday, December 31, 2015 4:01 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015 4:01 PM UTC

Time to say goodbye to 2015. It's been quite a year here at SBR Picks and it has been my pleasure to attack the NHL odds weekly here and hopefully you have made money following me.

Let's close out the year with a bang (pun clearly intended), with three NHL picks that hopefully can put some cash in your wagering account. We have nine New Year's Eve choices, so let's get to what I have for today.


St. Louis Answers Call of the Wild
The Blues have won six of the past eight games and one of those losses was in a brutal scheduling spot we correctly predicted on Sunday in Dallas. St. Louis (23-16 SU) is back to playing how they were at the start of the season and is in second place in the Central Division behind the Stars.

The Blues return to form has been with balanced and timely scoring and some very strong goaltending from Jake Allen. The St. Louis netminder has won seven of his past nine starts with a 1.76 goals-against average. But Allen has been solid all year, tied for fifth in save percentage at .927, sixth on GAA at 2.08 and fourth in wins with 18.

Minnesota's defense this month has also been very strong, holding opposing teams to just 1.77 GAG, among the best in the league. However, this has been mostly on home ice and the Wild have one the strongest NHL dichotomies for home and road. Minnesota (19-16 SU) is 14-6 at the ExCel Center, but not so hot 5-10 when on the road.

With this information, I was surprised to see St. Louis as just -140 home favorites and this look like excellent value for a team that is 15-2 after allowing three goals or more consecutive games.

NHL Pick: St. Louis -129

Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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Colorado Stymies Chicago
Despite recent home losses to Toronto and Arizona, Colorado (18-19 SU) has still won six of the past eight encounters. Included in that bunch was victory over Chicago (21-17 SU), a 3-0 drubbing in the Windy City on Dec. 15th. This upped the Avalanche to 8-3 record over the Blackhawks the last three years.

Hard to pinpoint precisely why, other than Chicago not taking Colorado all that seriously, as they were favored in all 11 matchups. Though the Avs are hardly known for defense, they have held the Blackhawks to two or less goals on eight occasions and at least defensively been able to match their speed.

It has also been a huge plus goalie Semyon Varlamov has been tremendous and in his last seven starts versus Chicago with a 1.27 GAA. Varlamov has been at peak performance also in his past 10 starts with 1.68 GAA.

With the Hawks only 7-11 SU on the road, the NHL odds only have them as -120 away favorites and they are just 3-8 revenging a home loss of two goals or more the last three seasons. The Avalanche worth a look.

NHL Pick: Colorado +109

Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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Dallas Focused in Victory
Hard to pinpoint why the Stars have played their worst hockey against some the poorest teams in the NHL, but they have. Monday's puzzling 6-3 defeat at Columbus was just the latest defensive meltdown by the Western Conference's best team. It's not like Dallas (27-11 SU) is coming unhinged, but they are only 5-4 SU in their last nine outings, with the defensive intensity not there.

Maybe a division game versus club that is more a threat will help the Stars play with more laser focus. Nashville (18-19 SU) is not in elite status, but is capable. Nonetheless, the Predators are woeful 6-11 SU on the road and have dropped four of past five in Big D, along with being 10-25 in road games after allowing four goals or more, like they did against St. Louis on Monday.

Dallas at -155 money line is not inflated number from value perspective and they are 8-0 after allowing two goals or more in the third period last game this season.

NHL Pick: Dallas -137 

Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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