Thursday's Top NHL Picks of the Day

Swinging Johnson

Thursday, April 24, 2014 1:52 PM GMT

NHL odds are being dealt on the three game slate tonight but let’s see if we can find out which games make the most sense to make us plenty of green as we isolate value in our NHL picks.

Swinger's 2014 NHL Playoff Record (4-5, -0.05 units)
If there is anyone out there bold enough to claim that making money in these NHL playoffs has been easy, then you sir…are a jackass. Every game seems to hang in the balance and every score is tantamount to those in a World Cup soccer match. One goal may be all you need to win. 

And so it was last night that I again stuck dutifully to my underdogs hoping that grabbing the juice would put me over the edge. I struck early with the Blue Jackets +125 in NHL odds who are just another team making the Penguins brass look like idiots by sticking with an erratic goaltender like Marc-Andre Fleury. Mind you Fleury is not necessarily a bad goaltender but his penchant for giving up softies will drive his team, fans and backers to distraction. Fortunately he did not fail us last night as he let in a knuckleballer from the blueline to give us our only win of the night. 

So it was a 1-2 evening with losses by the Ducks and Blues which renders us profoundly mediocre at best. Let’s try to get better and get in the black on Thursday night.

 

Bruins vs. Red Wings
Boston’s physicality, ironclad defense and opportunistic play has set Detroit back on their heels as they attempt to dig in and revive this best-of-seven series. The Bruins rebounded from a 1-0 opening game loss and have outscored Detroit 7-1 to take a 2-1 series advantage which will be virtually insurmountable if the Wings lose this one at home tonight.

But will they lose it and are the Bruins still real value at -145 in NHL odds? Well, as of this writing that number has fallen precipitously at most offshore books according to SBR odds. Right now you can get down on the B’s at Bet365.com which is dealing the game at -135. Why not take the plunge?  The Bruins have outclassed the Red Wings in all facets of the game and Rask has been a stone cold puck killer as the last line of defense.

The Wings are now overwhelmed and shaking their collective heads as to how to crack the code and tally more than just one goal in a game. The only issue the Bruins need to be concerned with is to make sure they don’t get complacent offensively and lose another 1-0 game. I have not been big on the chalk so far in these NHL playoff series but I will make a notable exception in this case.

Hockey Pick: Boston -135 at Bet365.com

[gameodds]7/263980/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Avalanche vs. Wild
The Wild have actually outshot the Avalanche in all three games despite being down 2-1 in the series. There was no more glaring disparity than the 46-22 shot advantage the Wild held in their first postseason trip to their home ice in Monday night’s game.  Despite that lopsided edge, Minnesota was only able to tuck one behind Av’s goaltender Semyon Varlamov in overtime.

I suspect the Avalanche won’t be laying back tonight. They lost a solid defenseman in Tyson Barrie to a sprained MCL due to the recurring bad habits of the notorious Matt Cooke. Cooke was suspended (again) for seven games and many are calling for his permanent banishment but we will leave that debate for another time. However, the Avalanche know that Minnesota has an ace up their sleeve in 23-year-old backup netminder Darcy Kuemper, who was summoned in relief of starter Ilya Bryzgalov during Game 2, and stopped all 14 shots. He then followed that up with a shutout in Game 3. Colorado needs to fire plenty of rubber on the young Wild goalie and they have the talent to do so.

Historically we have seen young, unknown goalies steal a series but it doesn’t happen often and it won’t happen here. 

Hockey Pick: Colorado +120 at WilliamHill.com

[gameodds]7/263981/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]