Wild-Jets Opener Wednesday to Feature Plenty of Scoring

Dana Lane

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 5:51 PM UTC

Tuesday, Apr. 10, 2018 5:51 PM UTC

The "over" is 7-0 in the last seven meetings between these teams in Winnipeg, and the offenses should be clicking again Wednesday in the opening game of the Western Conference playoffs.

Game 1: Wild vs. JetsFree NHL Pick: 'Over' 5.5, -115Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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The Minnesota Wild (45-26-11, 101 points, +21 goal differential) visit the Winnipeg Jets (52-20-10, 114 points, +59) in a battle of Central Division rivals. The series begins Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET on CNBC (series price: Winnipeg -190).

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Mark your calendars, the #WPGWhiteout starts Wednesday! 📅#NHLJets 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round Schedule: https://t.co/VARjn9Z7JC pic.twitter.com/Oe9FJv5QK7

— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) April 9, 2018
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The opening number didn't scare bettors from jumping on Winnipeg; it rose from -170 to -185 at 5Dimes. My advice is to tread lightly to start, because the postseason is often not a reflection of what you think you’ve seen in the regular season. If you like the Wild in Game 1, you can get a healthy +165 at Bovada.

Our bet is helped by the public that has driven the opening total of 6 to 5.5 (-115, over) on the NHL odds board. I’m not sure how anyone can play a Jets game to go "under," but my guess is a 6 in the first game was too much because most people feel these games are going to be tight to start. I’ve said it a million times -- in most cases, team strengths become magnified in the postseason. I look for the Jets to have plenty of chances to push this one "over."

The Jets swept the season series, 4-0, with the last two wins coming with a combined score of 11-3. They haven’t played one another since the middle of January, but not much has changed for the Wild due to their unwillingness to upgrade their team at the trade deadline. The Jets went out and nabbed Paul Stastny from St. Louis, and Stastny has formed a high-powered trio with Patrik Laine and Nik Ehlers.

Some might be scared off of the Jets because of their youth and the fact that they haven’t won a playoff series since moving from Atlanta, but their Simple Ratings System number indicates they are the top-ranked team in the league. The SRS is a way to put a numerical value on a team's quality wins, an important number because when their youth is being used as a reason to bet on the Wild, I counter that by saying this young team has played in and won big games all year.

My guess is that special teams will be the difference in this series. The Jets converted 23 percent of their man advantages this season (fifth-best in the NHL), while the Wild converted at a rate of 20.4 percent (18th).

From a trend perspective, the "over" is 17-6 in the Jets' last 23 games when playing on three days rest or more. The Wild are 10-3-1 in that same scenario along with a 12-5-2 mark against teams with a winning record. In your NHL picks, stick with the trends and take the "over" in Game 1.

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