Take Columbus +165 over Chicago for NHL Picks

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, March 6, 2014 4:08 PM GMT

The Blackhawks host the Bluejackets on Thursday at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois with the opening faceoff slated for 8:05 PM ET. The NHL odds are out; which side are we on?

According to NHL betting odds Chicago is a -185 money line home favorite and the posted total is 5.5. Chicago has won their last 5 home games versus Columbus, and has defeated Columbus in 22 of the last 29 overall. Chicago is currently 2nd in the Central Division, and 3rd overall in the Western Conference. Columbus is 4th in the Metropolitan Division, and 8th overall in the Eastern Conference. 

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Fighting for their Playoff Lives

Columbus is clinging to the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference, holding a slim 1-point lead over both Detroit and Washington. They enter tonight riding a 3-game winning streak in addition to winning 14 of their last 20. Tonight will be the Jackets 4th game in the last 6-days, and their 5th in the last 8. This will also be the 1st of a 3-game in 5-day road trip. Columbus has gone over the total in 3 of their last 4-games, and is currently 7th in the NHL averaging 2.9 goals per game. Columbus is a pathetic 28-69 in their last 97-games versus an opponent with a winning record.

Home, Home, on the Ice

Chicago enters tonight’s game knowing they’ve just lost 5 of their first 31 home games during regulation time, and have earned 45 of 62-points possible. Unfortunately 2 of those 5 regulation losses at home have come in the last 3 at the United Center. The most recent of those losses came in a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. After being the frontrunner in the Central for the better part of the season, the Hawks have relinquished the lead and find themselves 2-points behind the St. Louis Blues for the top spot in the division. The Hawks must regain their scoring prowess which has propelled them to be the best in the NHL averaging 3.3 goals per game. That offensive explosiveness has eluded them in recent games as they’ve scored 2-goals or less in 4 of their last 5-games. Chicago is 40-14 in their last 54 home games versus an opponent with a money line losing record.

Final Analysis

There’s no doubt that on paper, and as far as who’s the more serious threat to win the Stanley Cup this season, that Chicago would be the clear choice of these two clubs. However, in a one game situation, and when considering wagering value, my small lean goes to the large road underdog for my hockey picks in this spot.

Hockey Pick: Columbus +165 over Chicago