I made a pair of free NHL picks last night and while we ended up with a 1-1 split, we also earned a tiny profit thanks to the Flyers winning at +104 home underdogs.
This is why line shopping is important. Bovada had the Flyers to win at -105, which would have given us a small loss in our 1-1 split. However, BetOnline gave the home side more value at +104 so that’s where we needed to place out bet. Differentiating funds around a few different sports books is a good idea.
In terms of the game, the Flyers notched the first goal of the game, only to see Carolina tie it up in the second period as the two clubs headed to the third knotted at 1-1. From there, however it was all Flyers as they scored three unanswered goals and took the game by a 4-1 count. The Flyers were uncharacteristically out-shot 34-28 in this one, but Carter Hart had his best performance since the first few games of the season in turning aside 33 of those 34 shots to earn the upset win.
Our loss came later in the evening between the New Jersey Devils and Winnipeg Jets. I still see positive regression in the Jets’ home offense, however they laid another egg in this one on one of the very worst road teams in the NHL. Winnipeg managed just one goal in this one and while the Devils did too, my pick of the Jets in regulation was squashed as soon as the game hit overtime. That’s the fourth time I’ve lost a pick this season when taking the Jets. Very frustrating.
That said, you’ll never go broke taking a small profit and that’s what we did to continue our nice start to the season.
Season Record: 12-9
Let’s take a look at my lone NHL pick tonight on this small two-game schedule featuring the Blues vs. Oilers from Rogers Place in Edmonton!
Blues vs. Oilers Betting Odds:
Over 5.5 (-105)
Under 5.5 (-105)
Blues vs. Oilers NHL Pick
It’s a Western Conference matchup from Rogers Place in Edmonton tonight as the Blues and Oilers butt heads for the first time this season.
For the Blues, tonight marks the tail end of a back-to-back set that begin successfully with a 2-1 overtime win over the surging Canucks in Vancouver. The win marked their third straight overtime victory after edging the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in overtime on Friday before knocking off the Minnesota Wild 4-3 in overtime on Saturday to kick off this four-game road trip that continues tonight in Edmonton before ending in Calgary on Saturday.
The Blues have now won five straight overall and seven of their last eight entering this one tonight. As a result, they now sit first place in not only the Central division but also the Western Conference, one point ahead of these Oilers which makes tonight’s contest quite interesting from that standpoint.
Clearly, St. Louis has been good both at home and on the road where they have gone 5-2-1 so far this season. Their road offense and power play both rank 11th in the NHL, however their road defense has uncharacteristically softened to 17th with 3.25 goals against per game. Receiving an .895 Sv% from their goaltenders on the road seems to be the culprit, and all signs point towards backup Jake Allen getting the nod in goal tonight after Jordan Binnington made 33 saves in the win on Tuesday night.
It’s been a rough go this season for Allen in three starts. He’ll carry a 3.72 GAA and .855 Sv% into this one, however the Blues have still managed to win two of those three starts. His best outing from a statistical standpoint came in the aforementioned 4-3 overtime win in Minnesota in which Allen turned aside 20 of 23 shots. While the results haven’t been there from a personal stats standpoint, let’s keep in mind that Allen owns a 2.55 GAA and .911 Sv% for his career. Even his 2.83 GAA and .905 Sv% from a season ago would suggest big-time positive regression for the six-year NHL vet.
For the Oilers, they’ll look to continue their home dominance this season after beginning the year 5-1-1 at Rogers Place. Interestingly, they’ve done so while posting rather mediocre numbers in most facets of the game. Their 3.57 goals per game at home is a good number and it’s tied for 12th in the league, however it’s not a dominant number. Their 3.29 goals against per game at home is a rather perplexing number as well given their 5-1-1 home record. Their home defense checks in tied for 25th alongside the Los Angeles Kings. While their penalty kill is roughly middle of the pack at 18th with an 81.8% mark at home, their home success has largely been on the back of their seventh-ranked home power play with a 27.8% clip. It might be tough for the Oilers to continue such success tonight against a Blues team that ranks ninth with an 85% mark killing penalties away from home.
At the time of this writing, we aren’t sure who is getting the starting nod in goal for the Oilers. Mike Smith notched a pair of consecutive wins on the road over the Blue Jackets and Penguins – posting a .974 Sv% in the process – before Mikko Koskinen took the 3-2 overtime loss to the Coyotes on Monday. It would appear that Smith would be in line to get this start, and while he’s been good overall, he’s struggled at home. Smith owns a stout 1.31 GAA and .957 Sv% on the road in six starts, but has struggled to the tune of a 4.21 GAA and .872 Sv% at home in three starts. He’s allowed eight goals over his last two home starts in roughly four periods of work. Koskinen, on the other hand, has very even splits and owns a 2.57 GAA and .917 Sv% in four home starts and five home appearances.
To me, I don’t see a ton of value in the Oilers here despite the Blues playing a tough back-to-back with Allen in goal. It seems they have overachieved at some despite posting pedestrian home numbers as a team. To recap, their home offense is tied for 12th, their home defense is tied for 26th, their home power play ranks 7th and their home penalty kill ranks 18th. The Blues, on the other hand, have a road offense and power play that both rank 11th, their road defense slips to 17th but their road penalty kill ranks 9th to help combat that productive Oilers home power play.
Furthermore, the Oilers back been on the losing end of the possession game at home as their 48.56% Corsi For% at 5v5 play at home ranks 28th. I just don’t see all these numbers adding up a 5-1-1 mark at home. I’ll admit I’m not liking the Blues’ 30th-ranked 43.25% Corsi For% on the road at 5v5 either, but I’m also considering the odds.
The Blues are medium-sized road dogs here at +128 while the Oilers and their pedestrian home numbers are -141 favorites. I’m also realizing the Blues are white-hot right now and currently the best team in the west.
Give me the road underdogs here to come into Edmonton and knock off what appears to be a mediocre Oilers home team.