There are just five games in the NHL on Friday night and even though it’s a smaller menu, there’s some good betting value on the board. Here’s our NHL picks for the night
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Odds: Maple Leafs -130
The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to slide as they’ve now lost eight of 10. The firing of head coach Randy Carlyle didn’t have the intended affect as the Leafs promptly lost 6-2 at home to the Washington Capitals in their first game without him. Their problems run deeper than just a coach. Jonathan Bernier has a 3.61 save percentage in his last three outings while James Reimer has a 4.30 GAA in his last four starts.
On the flip side, the Blue Jackets are coming to town and they’ve won four straight at Toronto and six of seven on the road. They’re one of the hottest teams in the NHL right now with 12 wins in their last 15 games. And Sergei Bobrovsky has won six straight against Toronto, posting a 1.50 GAA in the process. Take a shot with the Blue Jackets in this spot.
NHL Pick: Blue Jackets +118 at Pinnacle
Buffalo Sabres vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Odds: Lightning -375
No surprise that we’re looking at a crazy NHL odds here. The Lightning are one of the best teams in the NHL and they’re facing one of the worst. On top of that, they’re at home where they’ve gone 15-4-1 while the Sabres are just 4-14-1 on the road. And while these teams are at opposite ends of the spectrum overall, they’re also at opposite ends in terms of momentum. The Lightning have won six of seven with their only loss in that span coming at Pittsburgh. As for Buffalo, they haven’t won since the middle of December, dropping five straight and nine of 10. The kicker here is that the Sabres have lost nine of those games by more than a goal, so I’m comfortable laying the puck line here.
NHL Pick: Lightning -1.5 -115 at The Greek
New York Islanders vs. New Jersey Devils
Odds: Islanders -137
The Islanders have started to fade a little bit on their road trip. They’re playing a seven-gamer and while they started with a pair of wins in Winnipeg and Calgary, they lost their last two at Edmonton and at Vancouver. However, they’ve had some time off since Tuesday and now visit New Jersey, which is a place where they’ve had plenty of success. They’ve won four straight at New Jersey and eight of the last 12 meetings overall.
There’s a huge gap in the standings between these teams and the reason why shows up in the trends. The Isles are 11-6 against teams with a losing record this year but the Devils are just 6-15 against teams above .500. The Isles are 10-2 against the division and 4-1 in their last five road games where the total is set at 5. As for the Devils, they are 6-11 in their last 17 home games (all this year) with a total of 5 or less. The trends point us to the Isles, so take add them to your NHL picks.
NHL Pick: Islanders -137 at Bodog