Thursday Hockey Picks of the Day

Swinging Johnson

Thursday, May 8, 2014 12:36 PM GMT

Thursday night features the Bruins/Canadiens tilt followed by the West Coast clash between the Ducks and the Kings but where is the value in NHL odds on these games?

 Swinger's 2014 NHL Playoff Record (15-16, -1.65 units)
Three seconds left and our hopes for a push in Tuesday night’s Bruins/Canadiens game were dashed. Lars “freakin’” Eller deposited the puck in an empty net to shatter our push on Under 5 in NHL odds to bring the total in the game to a bankroll busting six which gave us a loss in the first of two. That was tough to stomach but the second game left me dazed and confused as the Blackhawks were dominated from the opening faceoff to the final buzzer in their 4-0 blanking by the Wild. 

Alas, it was an 0-2 evening and once again we are behind the eight-ball looking to gain traction and move ahead. I was not tasked with writing an article for last night’s game between the Penguins and Rangers but for what it’s worth (which is nothing), we would have had a winner backing Pittsburgh. However that particular win will not be registered on my postseason record and we move on looking for greener pastures tonight in our NHL picks.

 

Bruins vs. Canadiens
I’m not sure how anyone can back either of these sides with a great deal of confidence because these two teams are closer than two teenagers slow dancing at a junior prom. The Bruins may be the team to back when inside the friendly confines of the Boston Garden but in Montreal, all bets are off - except of course if you’re betting the total.

I shall go back to the poisoned well of Tuesday night and advise a play on the Under in NHL odds. Tuukka Rask has been victimized by some funky deflections and lucky bounces from traffic in front but he has also not been at his elite best this series. He was beaten cleanly on at least two occasions on Tuesday night and something tells me he is due to return to his All-Star best. Carey Price has had a very solid series while also surrendering goals in which he cannot be held responsible. These are two of the best goaltenders on the planet and at some point the fluky bounces will cease and a regression to the norm will take hold. Tonight is that night.

NHL Picks: Under 5 (-105) at Bet365.com

[gameodds]7/284407/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Ducks vs. Kings
Think back a few months when the unstoppable offense came up short against the immovable defense. That was the Super Bowl but it tells the tale of the series between these teams so far. Jonathan Quick has been masterful between the pipes and the Kings defense has neutralized the swift skating Ducks to the point of frustration. 

The venue shifts to the Staples Center in Los Angeles where the Kings reign with a 2-0 series lead. I’m losing patience with the Ducks who appear to be confuzzled (taking a word out of my 15-year-old daughter’s lexicon) and incapable of cracking the code that is Jonathan Quick and the LA defense. The Kings are currently installed as -140 favorites in NHL odds which caused me to arch my eyebrow just a bit as the line seemed a bit steep. But upon further reflection, why shouldn’t LA be favored by as much? They are white hot and playing with supreme confidence.  They are a battle-tested group who were Stanley Cup champs only a few short years ago and have the experience to shut down an Anaheim team that is clearly losing their composure.

NHL Picks: LA -140 and Under 5 (-120) at WilliamHill.com

[gameodds]7/284948/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]