NHL Picks: Wild vs. Blackhawks Game 5

PJ Laferla

Thursday, May 9, 2013 12:22 PM GMT

Thursday, May. 9, 2013 12:22 PM GMT

The Chicago Blackhawks who lead the Minnesota Wild 3-1 in the first round of the NHL playoffs will look to close out the series on their home ice tonight when the two teams collide at the United Center.


The Blackhawks will attempt to advance past the first round since the 2010 NHL campaign, which ironically is the same year they raised the Stanley Cup as champions.

Several of the larger online sportsbooks, such as 5Dimes expect the Blackhawks, who are heavy favorites in the contest to take care of business as is reflective of their -265 money line odds. The option to back Chicago on the puck line looks to be more attractive as they are giving up 1 ½ goals, which offers a return of +110 on the NHL odds. Of course, the Blackhawks must win by at least two goals for the puck line wager to pay off for bettors.

The games total is coming in at 5 goals for this matchup, but before you make a decision on the over/under, it is worth noting that four of the last five head to head meetings between these squads that have taken place at the United Center have eclipsed the total.

Now, lets breakdown this crucial Game 5 matchup further and decipher if it’s Minnesota or Chicago that brings the better value for our sports picks.

[gameodds]7/228837/43/us[/gameodds]

Minnesota has a bad history of poor performances on the road, going just 17-35 in their last 52 games played on the highway. Even worse, the Wild have notched just one victory in their last six visits to Chicago.

To make matter worse, the Wild will be without its top two goaltenders for this contest, as Niklas Backstrom, is still nursing a leg injury from the Game 1 warm-ups, while Josh Harding made an early exit from Game 4 due to an injury in his lower body after he collided with Chicago’s Joanathan Towes. That leaves Minnesota with one option, Darcy Kuemper, who saw his first postseason action of his career when he replaced Harding in Game 4. Kuemper saved 16 of 18 shots in that one, but ironically, missed on his very first opportunity, leading to a Blackhawks goal.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks have played sensational at home in this series, dominating and conquering Minnesota by outshooting them 85-55 in the first two games played at the United Center.

Chicago has now won 39 of its 57 games played on their home ice, while also winning 35 of 52 played on a days rest.

The home team has won six of the last 8 meetings between these adversaries.

Prediction:

While I fully expect the Blackhawks to wrap up this series tonight, I never recommend laying a price of -265, as one bad bounce can be the difference between a winning night versus one that turns disastrous.

The best value for our NHL picks in this one is backing Chicago on the puck line.

NHL Pick: Blackhawks -1 ½ goals (+110)
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