After last night’s comeback by the Penguins over the Leafs, our record with the featured selections improves to 24-13 on the year. Though it’s a relatively quiet Friday night slate of games, there is one game in particular where notable value stands out as the struggling Detroit Red Wings head to Alberta, to take on the Oilers.
Detroit Red Wings (-110) @ Edmonton Oilers (-110)
Plain and simple, this game should not be listed at a pick’em price. The Red Wings, despite their recent slump, remain one of the better teams in the Western Conference and should prove too much too handle for an overrated, and inexperienced Oilers squad.
Edmonton has won two straight, but return home following a 9-game road trip. Traditionally teams returning home after long road trips tend to struggle in their first games back, and expect that to be the case on Friday night. Though the Oilers are fresh off routing the Avalanche, the Red Wings are a better team and looked poised for a late-season run in order to secure yet another playoff berth.
Detroit has lost their past three games, but this team is getting healthier and their fortunes should change. Jimmy Howard returns to the net tonight, and he is a much better option than their back-up Jonas Gustavsson, who was atrocious in their latest defeat to the Flames. The speed and skill of the Red Wings’ forward group should dictate the pace of the game, and put pressure on an inexperienced and over-matched Oilers defense. Edmonton has loads of talent up front, but their defensive deficiencies are often exposed by the opposition. Expect the likes of Datsyuk, and Zetterberg to take full advantage, and pounce on what should be a weary Edmonton squad.
Detroit is also 10-0-1 in their past 11 starts against the Oilers, and should continue that dominant trend tonight. Expect the Red Wings to roll, and do so at a very generous price.
PICK = Detroit (-110)
Though it’s a small card in the NHL, the other games on the board also provide some solid value. Bonus selections are listed below.
Bonus Pick #1: Calgary (-135) The Flames have seemed to get healthy of late and as a result of played some solid hockey recently. Though you’d think the pending Jarome Iginla trade discussion would be a huge distraction for this squad, they’ve played exceptionally well at home. They’ll face a Predators team that enters in a back-to-back situation with a plenty of difficult injuries to overcome. While Calgary likely won’t play well enough to fight their way back to post-season contention, the Flames defend home ice as well as anybody right now, and should over-match an undermanned Nashville team.
Bonus Pick #2: New Jersey (+135) The value here on the Devils is simply too great to pass up. Though they have struggled mightily in the absence of star goalie Martin Brodeur, the Devils have been playing better of late, and definitively much better than their Friday night opponents in the Flyers. Philly enters simply a mess. Ilya Bryzgalov was brutal in his last game, and their defense seems comparable to an AHL team’s. For all their talent up front, the tight systems New Jersey employs and their depth on defense matches up well with Philadelphia, and expect their slide to continue Friday night. Consider the value New Jersey provides tonight.