NHL Picks: Will Sharks Lead 3-0 Or Will Predators Bounce Back?

Dana Lane

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 4:00 PM UTC

Tuesday, May. 3, 2016 4:00 PM UTC

Can the Predators bounce back in the series or will the Sharks take a commanding 3-0 lead? Read this betting preview to answer that question and get a Free NHL Pick!

The San Jose Sharks lead the best of seven series 2-0 and would seem to have the Nashville Predators exactly where they want them heading to Bridgestone Arena for game five. The Sharks are a +33 goal differential on the road while winning 21 of their last 28 away from home. They are a team who's goal differencial gets better as the game progress away from the SAP Center.

The Sharks, who are 6-1 in the playoffs, own a league best 31-13 road record led the red-hot Martin Jones in goal. Jones has been better in the playoffs than the regular season where he was a respectable 37-23-4 with a average .918 save percentage but in the postseason Jones is 6-1 with a .923 save percentage along with a 2.13 goals against average. 

Their success has largely come from their effectiveness on the power play where they are scoring 35% of the time. To put that in perspective they were one of the best PP units during the regular season hitting at just over 23%. The Predators must find a way to win this battle or this will be a short serious. There is no way Nashville can only kill off 67% of their penalties and expect to move on.

It's safe to say that the Sharks are as dangerous offensively as they've been all season. During the year the Sharks averaged 3.00 GPP which was good for 4th in scoring but because of their power play success their scoring average has jumped to 3.6 in the postseason. Another example of how teams that win the battle of special teams go a long way in determining your chances of winning a Cup. 

Besides Jone's great effort it's San Jose top two lines that are giving the Sharks all the production they need. Joe Thornton has five points in seven games and has made his line mates better. Joe Pavelski has has 10 points in seven games. Overall he's averaged almost a point and a half per game in the postseason. Not too bad for a guy that was a 7th round draft pick and considered too small at 5-11, 190 while linemateTomas Hertl doesn't have the offensive numbers but at 6-2, 210 he certainly is a guy who has size but has tremendous vision with accuracy on his passes.

The betting public seems to think that the Predators will bounce back as Nashville opened as a small -115 favorite on NHL odds, which has been bet up to -120 in some spots. Which is great for us because we're getting +103 on a better Sharks team. My advice would be to wait it out even longer to see if the Nashville money has dried up. The betting patterns are varied with some books being heavy on the Predators while others have the Sharks. As of right now 52% of the tickets have been written on the Predators. 

From a trend perspective the Sharks are 17-5 in their last 22 games vs a team with a winning home record while the Predators have lost five of their last seven.

We are backing the Sharks at +103 and the 'over' at -109 as our NHL picks for this one.

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Free NHL Pick:  Sharks +103 & Over -109
Best Line Offered:  at Heritage

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