NHL Picks: Wild vs. Devils Betting Preview

David Lawrence

Sunday, November 3, 2013 1:00 PM GMT

Don’t look now but it appears that the Minnesota Wild have put it together. They’ve won four of their last five games and as a result, have got back in the thick of things in the Western Conference.

They’re getting the job done at both ends of the ice and are playing their best hockey in the Mike Yeo era, which is why they are a big home favorite on Sunday night. 

The New Jersey Devils can win because…

The Wild are streaky. Sure, they’ve won four of five but that comes on the heels of a stretch where they lost three in a row. Before that, they won three in a row and before that, they lost three in a row. The Wild are a team that swings from hot to cold very quickly, and bettors can get burned. People making their sports picks in this spot need to keep that in mind.

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The Minnesota Wild can win because…

They’re playing really well right now. People who making their sports picks have been waiting to see the Wild put it all together. They have the offense and they have the goaltending, but they’ve been maddeningly inconsistent. Now it’s all working. The Wild have given up 12 goals in their last five games (five in the loss to Chicago) and they’ve scored three or more in three of their last four. Jasom Pominville has been leading the way for the Wild as he has nine goals in 14 games, which puts him among the league leaders. If he can continue to be a reliable source of offense, this is going to be a playoff team.

As for the Devils, they are coming off an ugly 1-0 home shutout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers as their goal-scoring problem cropped up again. If you can’t score at home against the Flyers, you’re going to have a tough time scoring anywhere on the road. The Devils are averaging a paltry 1.88 goals per game in their road games, which simply isn’t going to get the job done. The Wild should have an easy time taking care of business.

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Outlook & Pick

The current catalyst for the Wild has been home-ice advantage. They’ve won five of their last six at home while outscoring their opponents 15-6 in the five wins. On top of that, this is Zach Parise’s first game versus his former team, so you can bet his team will rally around him.

I’m still not going to lay all that juice on the NHL odds. Instead, I’ll take the under as the Devils aren’t scoring much these days (2.0 goals per game). They are also expected to be without Travis Zajac and Patrik Elias on Sunday.

I expect the Wild to win this game but -175 is too rich for my blood. Instead, I’ll add the under to my NHL picks with the thinking that the Devils just won’t do their fair share to get this over the number.

Free Pick: Under 5 at William Hill