The NHL season gets started tonight, and of course, we get a matchup that features the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens. Before I go any further, though, I’d like to do a brief intro. This will be my first season doing NHL picks at The Sports Geek, but have previously done work on the NFL and MLB here. You can currently find my MLB picks at http://mlbpredictions.org and NFL at http://nflbettingpicks.org. I would like to forget my 2013-2014 NHL results, as it was a down season for me. However, that was the first year I was down in the NHL after a number of years of handicapping the NHL. I rarely lose money over the course of a season, as many of you can testify that have followed my other picks. So, anything less than money in the bank from the NHL this season would be a shocker to me. You may also follow me on twitter @NFLSportsGeek.
Montreal Canadians @ Toronto Maple Leafs
It pains me to say that I am a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. It is the same old rhetoric every year with the Leafs, plenty of hope and promise at the start of the season, and then it all comes crashing down late. I think Leafs’ fans have learnt by now not to trust early season success. Perhaps the biggest move they made this season was off the ice by acquiring Brendon Shanahan. Shanahan will assume the role of President with the team. He will oversee operations of the Leafs, and hopefully, guide the team in the right direction. On the ice, though, I feel like it is going to be more of the same this season. The Leafs will get their goals, scoring should continue to be up, but defensively they are going to have issues, again. The Leafs scored an average of 2.71 goals, but were 26th in the NHL in goals against, allowing 3.07. Sloppy miscues, coughing the puck up in their own really was the story of the Leafs’ season.
The Leafs and Canadiens play each other aplenty every year, and what I like about it is it gives a big sample size to generate research from. Any researcher will tell you that the larger the sample size, the better your conclusion will be. And while the Habs are known as a defensive team, they have struggled on defense against the Leafs. In their final three meetings last season, the Leafs scored 11 goals. In the last five meetings between the Leafs and Canadiens, the Leafs scored more than 3 goals four times. Likewise, the Canadiens scored 11 goals on the Leafs in their last three games as well. The last five games in 2014 all went OVER the total. Additionally, the OVER is 8-2 in their last ten matchups. This is a series that notoriously has plenty of goals in it. Early on in the season is where we’ll find some shaky goaltending (Leafs’ defense is always shaky), and OVER bets usually hit at a good rate. I’ll take the OVER 5.5 at plus money to open the NHL season.
Pick – OVER 5.5 GOALS (+104) @ 5dimes.eu (Best Odds)