Does it feel like the beginning of the NHL season? No, not at all. Am I complaining? I can’t say I am. The 2017-18 NHL season starts on Wednesday night with four games on tap. Like I’ve said before, October has to be my favourite month of the calendar. All of the major sports are up and running, including the MLB postseason. The only thing I’m waiting on now is the beginning of the regular season in the NBA and college basketball.
I am not the best of college basketball handicappers, so I tend to stay away from that betting wise, though. I had a very good year on the ice a year ago, turning a profit and looking to do it again in the 2017-18 season. Like betting in baseball, it’s good to be patient and maintain solid bankroll management. That goes for any sport, but more so in sports that have multiple games everyday. One dreadful day can wipe you out if you’re throwing darts at a wall recklessly and hoping it finds its spot.
I will personally be providing one pick a day in the NHL. It all starts in Edmonton where the Calgary Flames and Oilers meet up for another edition of the Battle of Alberta. The Flames and Oilers get their rivalry going again right out of the gate.
They may be enemies, but the Flames and Oilers are sharing some of the same characteristics. For instance, both are looking to breakthrough and become a force for the foreseeable future. No doubt, the Oilers are ahead in that regard, but the Flames had a nice season themselves a year ago.
The Flames were supposed to have a big breakout campaign two years ago but fell flat. They made up for it by having a nice year for the 2016-17 season. Calgary went on to finish 45-33-4 and reach the playoffs. In the playoffs, the Flames met an opponent that they haven’t had ANY success against, the Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks swept the Flames and added to their domination over Calgary. Edmonton won their 1st round matchup against the Sharks, and then were taken down by the Ducks in the next round. I hope you can join us all season long for our NHL picks. To find our first of the season, head below for the Flames vs. Oilers pick.
Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers Pick
The Oilers will of course be led by superstar Connor McDavid. McDavid will be with the Oilers for the foreseeable future, as the Oilers locked him in for eight years with a $100 million deal. Not a bad deal for a guy who could be the best player in the league during that time. McDavid played a full-year in 2016-17, notching 30 goals and 70 assists. He can do it all. The Oilers also have some unsung talent on their roster, too. Notably, goaltender Cam Talbot played great hockey for the Oilers a year ago. He finished with a GAA of 2.39 with a record of 42-22. He’s expected to do a repeat performance.
For the Flames, they need a big year out of newly acquired goaltender Mike Smith. The Brian Elliott experiment didn’t go so well, and they’re hoping to get some solid production out of the 35-year-old Smith. He didn’t get much recognition playing in Arizona, but he can be a good goaltender. However, his numbers slipped last season, going from a 2.64 GAA to 2.92 the following year.
He hasn’t had a season with a GAA below 2.50 since 2011-12. Success is really going to hinge on the success Smith has, and I am not so sure he’s going to deliver. I expect the Oilers, who are turning into Stanley Cup contenders to come out on fire at home against the Flames. -150 may look a tad pricey, but you are going to see them much more expensive at home as the season progresses against opponents like Calgary. The Flames should offer some resistance, but not enough, as the Oilers secure a 4-2 or 3-2 win on opening night.
PICK: OILERS (-150)