Swinger's 2014 NHL Playoff Record (3-3, +0.75 units)
I had to take yesterday off as I was battling a lovely little case of food poisoning which manifested like a scene out of the Exorcist. However, I am back, though not quite better than ever, but willing to roll up my shirtsleeves and bounce back from a heartily disappointing Monday night as we had the Blue Jackets +105 in NHL odds and the Avalanche +110.
The Jackets managed to throw away another two goal advantage to drop a 4-3 decision and probably any hope of upsetting the Penguins while the Avs were nipped 1-0 in overtime. There is only a slight difference between winning and losing in the NHL playoffs and we fell victim twice on Monday night to even up our postseason record at three apiece.
Penguins vs. Blue Jacketss
The line has steadily climbed as the favored road chalk Pittsburgh Penguins opened at -125 in many offshore shops but that line is now being dealt at -145 in places like Bet365.com and we feel it's too big not to take a taste of the Jackets one more time. These teams are playing pretty much dead even with all three games ending by a score of 4-3. In addition, Columbus has shut down the big scoring threats like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin yet still see this series drifting away despite the hardnosed and gritty game they have effectively employed throughout.
Okay, so the general consensus is that bettors are banking on the fact that Pittsburgh has broken the will and spirit of the Blue Jackets. A case could be made for that but if I'm going to get +125 for what should essentially be a coin flip between these two teams then I will certainly take my chances with the home pup.
NHL Picks: Columbus +125 at Bet364.com
Ducks vs. Stars
The Ducks were in cruise control after two narrow victories but got beat up pretty good in their visit to the American Airlines Center. The Stars must have been channeling the spirit of their head coach Lindy Ruff who was a menace on the ice during his playing days. The Ducks will either learn from this experience or get bowled over by the more physical Stars, somewhat reminiscent of the Penguins/Blue Jackets series.
Unlike that series, I predict that the Ducks have too much offensive mojo going for them and that Dallas, unlike Columbus, will be unable to contain Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry who were involved in fisticuffs in their last game. Once again, this is not the game to bet the rent money but another in a series of hotly contested postseason matchups. In what again amounts to a coin flip, the visiting Ducks should get back on track.
NHL Picks: Anaheim -105 at Bet365.com
Blues vs. Blackhawks
The St. Louis Blues are afraid they're going to experience déjà vu and they don't like it one bit. Last year they jumped out to a 2-0 series lead over the Kings only see it unravel over the next four games. Once again St. Louis took the first two games of the series over the defending Stanley Cup champions but lost their last game 2-0 in Chicago.
While I have my concerns about the goaltending matchup, as I have always believed the former Buffalo Sabre turned St. Louis Blue Ryan Miller has always been a bit overrated, I do believe the Blues can right the ship in Game 4 and take a commanding lead. Big value here and my pick of the night on this game underdog.
NHL Picks: St. Louis +130 at Bet365.com