Yesterday’s results: 3-3
The winning percentage might be .500, but yesterday was still a winner due to 3 puck line victories. A brief recap:
The Panthers squandered two different leads and in turn, my money line bet. The Predators got out to an early two goal lead despite getting losing the possession battle but then settled in. They let up two in the final minute which made me sweat a bit, but the Preds held off for a puck line win (+190). Joonas Korpisalo was a brick wall for the Blue Jackets but Toronto finally broke through and sealed another puck line win (+170). The Flames capitalized on some bad mistakes by Winnipeg in their defensive zone and cruised to a third straight puck line victory (+175). Things were looking up.
But this is 2020, and chaos must reign. I broke a cardinal rule and placed a bet before knowing the starting goalies: the over/under for Rangers/Canes. Not only did both New York and Carolina make goalie changes, but the Hurricanes skaters decided they would play in net as well.
Despite a spectacular goal by Sebastian Aho and another via the empty net, the over was not to be. In the late game, the Canucks scored before I could find the game on the USA Network (apparently on the first shot of the game) and then Minnesota went on the power play. I figured the under was toast and Pierre McGuire was on the call so I went to bed. I woke up to a 4-3 finish. Validated.
The offense has picked up a bit. Dom Luszczyszyn runs analytics for The Athletic and is a must follow, IMO. He runs daily percentages on games and probability of future success. He’s a great resource, tremendously talented, and the person I blame whenever my picks are wrong. With his advice below in mind, let’s make some picks.
Islanders v. Panthers – Noon ET, Islanders lead series 2-0
The Islanders are going for the sweep. I’m betting on the Panthers coming out desperate. They had two leads in game 2 but ended up losing 4-2. Look for them to clean up the defensive end this time around. PICK: Panthers money line (+110)
Predators v. Coyotes – 2:30 ET, Series tied 1-1
I have no idea what to do with this game, but I predicted the Coyotes would pull of the upset. I would avoid this game if I could, which I technically can if not for a totally healthy dependency on the action. PICK: Coyotes money line (+120)
Lightning (1-0-0) v. Bruins (0-1-0) – 4:00 ET
I’m too lazy to check, but I’m fairly sure I bet the Bruins puck line in both their exhibition and first round robin games. They haven’t inspired much confidence, but can turn it on if they need to, so I’m avoiding a game prediction on this one. Both teams feature a lot of offensive talent, though. PICK: Over 5.5 (-110)
Avalanche (1-0-0) v. Stars (0-1-0) – 6:30 ET
Nazem Kadri’s buzzer beater over the Blues got Colorado out to a good start in the round robin. Dallas had a good start to their first game, but screwed the pooch in the third period, losing to the Golden Knights. I think Colorado will find more offense, while Dallas’s will drop off. PICK: Avalanche puck line -1.5 (+195)
Penguins v. Canadiens – 8:00 ET
I don’t know how many times I need to mention it: the Montreal Canadiens went 0-4 against the 2019-2020 Detroit Red Wings. Just a head’s up: I’m going to continue to bet their opponent’s puck line until the Habs are eliminated or win the Cup. PICK: Penguins puck line -1.5 (+155)
Oilers v. Blackhawks – 10:30 ET, Series tied 1-1
To no one’s surprise, this has been an incredibly entertaining series. I have no problem setting aside my defensive-defenseman bias when this amount of (offensive) skill and scoring is on display. I figured this would go 5 games and the Blackhawks had a pretty good shot at an upset. After two very different performances from Chicago, I’m a bit stumped on what to do here. The two games have averaged 9.5 goals per game. Everyone and their cousin will be on the over, which has understandably been raised. PICK: Under 6.5 (-115)