Saturday's NHL Picks on the Total for Flyers vs. Bruins Influenced by Goaltending

David Lawrence

Saturday, March 7, 2015 12:22 PM GMT

The Philadelphia Flyers are four points back of the Boston Bruins for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. That means there’s plenty on the line on Saturday.

Philadelphia Flyers Can Win Because...
Goaltender Steve Mason is giving them a chance to win each and every night. The Flyers haven’t been a very good team this season but Mason has been playing like a legitimate No. 1 goaltender. That’s been even more evident since he returned from a knee injury as he’s gone 7-1-2 with a 1.45 GAA in his last 12 starts. He has allowed two goals or less in 13 of his last 14 starts, which is quite phenomenal.

The Bruins have not been a very reliable bet this season and if you’ve been betting them in the second half, you’re only 12-13 in their last 25 games. That’s cost you 7.6 units. The challenge is that you’re forced to pay for brand name, as is the case on Saturday. These two teams are only four points apart and for the most part, are quite equal other than home-ice advantage. Even so, you have to lay -165 on the NHL betting lines. The Bruins should be favored but closer to the neighborhood of -130 or -140 on the NHL betting odds. That’s why the Flyers are worth a look in this spot.

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The Boston Bruins Can Win Because…
They dominate this series. They’ve won five straight meetings between the teams and have owned the Flyers for quite some time now. Including playoffs, they’ve won 16 of the last 20 meetings. Tuukka Rask plays particularly well against Philadelphia as he’s been in net for the five wins between the sides, posting a 1.57 GAA in that span.

The Flyers are a horrible road team as they have just nine wins in 33 road games. They’ve been even worse of late as they’ve dropped 11 of their last 14 on the road. While Boston hasn’t been the Stanley Cup contenders we expected them to be, they are still decent at home where they are 18-15 compared to 13-17 on the road. Home-ice advantage could be the main difference in this spot.

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Outlook
Both of these teams are 2-0-1 in their last three outings with the lone loss coming to the Calgary Flames. Given the goaltending on each side, under figures to be the best choice here. The Flyers are getting great play out of Mason and as a result, a lot of the games with him in net are going under. As for the Bruins, Rask plays well in this series and he’s had plenty of success against the Flyers. We’re faced with a low total in this spot but that seems to make more sense than laying all that juice with the Bruins or taking a shot with the Flyers, who struggle on the road. Under will be our NHL pick for this game.

NHL Pick: Under 5 at The Greek