It was a real nice night with my free NHL picks last night as I went 3-1 and notched some quality profits in the process.
Ill start with my losing pick with the Oilers as slight home underdogs against the Hurricanes. Carolina jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead and while the Oilers managed to score the next three goals to tie it, the Canes went on to score another trio of goals and deserved the win in a 6-3 disposing of the Oilers.
However, it was all gravy otherwise.
I had the Sabres as +121 home underdogs to upset the visiting St. Louis Blues and that’s precisely what happened. The Sabres led 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 in this game before adding a couple of empty-net goals to hit us a winner with a 5-2 victory.
At about the same time, the Canadiens and Penguins were playing to a low-scoring affair. It was 1-0 Pittsburgh for quite a while until the Canadiens scored three goals in the second half of the second period to put out pick in some danger. However, a Brendan Gallagher empty-net goal in the third was all the scoring the rest of the way and the under 6.5 hit at -117 with a 4-1 Habs win.
Finally, the Maple Leafs were able to go into Vancouver, build a 2-0 lead and never look back in a 4-1 win at -117 odds. We can largely thank Frederik Andersen as he stole the show for the road side and we don’t win this pick without his outing, although a red-hot Andersen was certainly part of my criteria in picking the Maple Leafs.
All told, it was a great night and I’ll now turn my attention to tonight’s three-game NHL schedule!
Season Record: 47-40-1
Let’s take a look at this cross-conference free NHL pick featuring the Flyers vs. Avalanche from the Pepsi Center in Colorado!
Flyers vs. Avalanche Betting Odds
- Flyers (+141)
- Avalanche (-156)
- Flyers +1.5 (-180)
- Avalanche -1.5 (+160)
- Over 6 (-113)
- Under 6 (+102)
Flyers vs. Avalanche NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at each of these clubs before I get into my final pick!
General manager Chuck Fletcher had an underrated offseason. He made a couple of low-key trades to bring in Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun as shutdown defenders, re-signed veteran backup Brian Elliott and added center Kevin Hayes to lengthen his depth down the middle.
The moves have paid off as the Flyers have surged into a top-three spot in the difficult Metropolitan Division while they’ll enter this one having won six of their last seven games and seven of their last nine.
The Flyers have improved dramatically at both ends of the ice this season from a disappointing playoff-less season a year ago. Their 3.10 goals per game ranks 14th, but more importantly their defense ranks seven after finishing last season at 29th.
However, the concern tonight is that both of these numbers regress dramatically on the road.
The Flyers enter this one sporting the NHL’s 20th-ranked road offense with 2.57 goals per game, but their defense goes from second at home with 2.13 goals against per game all the way to 19th with 3.29 goals against per game on the road.
The advanced numbers fully support a big drop in play on the road, as well.
The Flyers are near the top in the league in most advanced numbers at home, but their simply plummet on the road.
Needless to say, the Flyers have made things difficult on their goaltenders away from home, and it shows in Carter Hart’s numbers as he gets the nod in this one tonight.
Hart enters this one sporting a 2.39 GAA and .909 Sv% on the season, thanks exclusively to a 1.62 GAA and .940 Sv% at home to go along with an 8-1-2 record.
On the road, however, Hart has been pummelled to the tune of a 3.78 GAA and .849 Sv% on the road across seven starts and eight appearances to go along with a 2-4-1 record.
Truth be told, I expect both numbers to regress and his home/road splits to narrow as the season moves along, but for now those are some awful numbers everywhere but the Wells Fargo Center this season.
The Avs saw their six-game win streak snapped at the hands of the Calgary Flames on Monday in a 5-4 overtime loss on home ice.
The Avs had previously allowed just four goals over their three-game road trip through Toronto, Montreal and Boston, but their uninspiring home defense cost them in this one.
The Avalanche enter this one ranked just 25th while allowing 3.08 goals per game at home this season while their 75.6% home penalty kill has hurt them and ranks 28th league wide.
However, the home offense also showed up in the loss.
The Avs enter this one as the NHL’s highest-scoring home offense where they average 4.08 goals per game while their 24.5% mark on the power play at the Pepsi Center checks in at ninth.
The Avs have now scored 15 goals over their last three at home.
The Avs’ advanced numbers are pretty good at home where their 52.07% CF% ranks 12th, their 54.39% SCF% ranks 11th and their 57.58% HDCF% mark ranks seventh. The latter could be a big factor against a Flyers team that’s been dominated the high-danger chances game on the road this season.
At this point, it looks like Pavel Francouz will once again get the start in this one tonight as Philipp Grubauer continues to heal from a minor groin ailment, although Grubauer is likely going to be backing up tonight.
Francouz had a tough night against the Flames as he allowed five goals on 33 shots (.848 Sv%), although he’s been excellent on the whole this season.
He enters this one sporting a 2.50 GAA and .923 Sv% on the season, although his splits favor the road side as he’d posted a 2.99 GAA and .901 Sv% in five starts and six home appearances.
Still, Francouz has been reliable in the Avs crease for the most part and will look to bounce back from Monday’s loss in this one.
The Flyers enter this one with a decent 7-6-1 record on the road this season, but I’m having a hard time trusting them away from home.
For one, both their offense and defensive raw numbers plummet on the road. Most of their advanced stats do as well.
I’m also worried about the fact that the Flyers get some heavily out-chanced in the high-danger chance department while the Avs control that area at home along with their league-best home offense.
I’m going to need to see improvements from the young Hart before I can trust him on the road as well.
I’m not entirely comfortable with taking the Avs on the moneyline here at those -156 odds. What I’m doing to do is lower my risk and maintain the same reward by taking the Avs to win this one in regulation at more reasonable -105 odds.