Sure there are two rather important NFL games today, but why not throw some NHL bets down as well? I do have previews and predictions for both of the NFL games on the site, so check those out HERE. But there is still hockey to be played, and after three straight days of posting NHL picks, I’ve decided to keep it going.
Season Record: 12-5
Tail or fade with caution!
Sabres @ Capitals
Pick: Sabres ML (-125)
These two teams have played three times already this season, and the Capitals have won all three. They won the season opener 6-4, then followed that up with a 2-1 win the next day. Their last matchup came on Friday night with the Capitals winning 4-3 in a shootout. The Caps have clearly shown they can handle this Buffalo team, but I think the Sabres will be able to pick up the win in this one. For starters, the Caps will be without four players who are out because of covid-19 protocols. Superstar Alex Ovechkin, No. 1 center Evgeny Kuznetsov, starting goaltender Ilya Samsonov, and top-four defensemen Dmitry Orlov all missed the previous game, and will miss at least three more. Sure the Caps won without them already, but expecting back-to-back wins against the same team without those top players is a tough ask. Buffalo’s top line of Taylor Hall, Jack Eichel, and Sam Reinhart was held pointless in Friday’s matchup, and the game still went to a shootout. I think that line will be able to make things happen in this game. The Sabres have not won in Washington since November of 2014, but this is their best chance to end that streak. In addition, after a 1-3-1 start, I have to think that the Sabres will come out with an increased intensity. One win in the first six games of the season is not going to cut it, so I think they find some extra motivation to get into the win column on Sunday afternoon.
Predators @ Stars
Pick: Over 5.5 (-105)
The Stars finally played their first game of the season on Friday, and man did they come out firing. I foolishly took the Predators ML, thinking the Stars would be a little rusty, but that was not the case. The Stars dominated and won 7-0, and instead of Dallas looking like the team playing their first game of the season, it was Nashville. Big ole swing and a miss from me there. In Game 2, I like the Over. The Stars offense showed just how explosive they are with seven goals, and they made sure to capitalize on the power play by scoring five (!!!) goals on the man advantage. That has to give them a boatload of confidence. On the other side, Nashville was completely shutout, but I think they will be able to have a better performance in this one. The Preds managed to have the edge in shots, putting 34 pucks on net compared to Dallas’ 28, and they are 4th in the league in shots per game with 33.75. I think they will be able keep those chances up in order to find the back of the net. Combine that with Dallas’ explosive and confident offense, and I think we see an Over here.
Sharks @ Wild
Pick: Sharks ML (+135)
The Sharks fell to the Wild 4-1 on Friday, but the game was much closer than the final score indicated. The Wild were able to score two empty net goals in the final minute and a half of the game, which made a rather competitive game look one-sided in the end. Although they got just one goal, the Sharks had the right pieces in place to get a win. They won 38 faceoffs compared to Minnesota’s 28, while shots were even at 29. The Wild committed four minor penalties, but the Sharks were not able to take advantage. However, their power play unit is scoring on 23.84% of their chances thus far, and Minnesota has just one power play goal on the season, with a percentage of 4.35%. The Sharks’ power play started out hot, but is now 0-for-its-last-10. If given the opportunity, I think they will get things figured out on Sunday. I think that could be the difference, and Minnesota is not quite sure who their goalie will be. Cam Talbot left Friday’s matchup after the first period, and Kaapo Kahkonen replaced him. Kahkonen played well, stopping all 17 shots he faced, but I think the Sharks will put an emphasis on getting pucks on net early and often, and I think they’ll be able to break through. Defensively, the Sharks allowed just one goal to the Blues on Wednesday, then allowed just two to the Wild before those empty netters. I think they do enough defensively to hold Minnesota in check, while their power play gets them the goal or two they need to make the difference and come out on top.
Devils @ Islanders
Picks: Islanders ML (-150) and Islanders Puck Line -1.5 (+170)
The New York Islanders are off to a fantastic 3-1 start, and their trademark defensive-minded approach is serving them well so far, as they have allowed just six goals in four games. They have posted two shutouts already, and most recently held this New Jersey team to just one goal on 31 shots on Thursday. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov is 3-0 with a 0.33 GAA and a .988 SV% this season. That is about as good as it gets, and with him in net again on Sunday, it might be another tough night for the Devils. For his career, Varlamov has had success agains New Jersey, going 4-2 with strong 1.61 GAA against them. I think that continues on Sunday. New Jersey is off to a 2-2 start, which is somewhat surprising, but I think they will have their hands full with the Isles in this one. In net, the Devils will be without starter McKenzie Blackwood, as he has been placed on the covid list, so Scott Wedgewood will get the nod. In his lone start this season he gave up four goals on 35 shots (.886 SV%) to this Islanders team, so that doesn’t give me a whole lot of confidence. Even though the Islanders are 27th in scoring so far this season, they should have a better day against Wedgewood. The Isles are 22-8 the last 30 games in this series, and I’m rolling with them on the ML and puck line for good measure.
Golden Knights @ Coyotes
Pick: Over 5.5 (-120)
Both of these teams have been hitting Overs at an impressive rate so far in this young season. The Over is 4-1 for Arizona, and 5-0 for Vegas. The three games that these two teams have played against each other have all seen at least six goals scored. The Coyotes were able to pick up a win in their last matchup on Friday after dropping the first two games. They have a chance to even the season series at two games apiece, and I think they will come out firing. They might have to, because Vegas has been one of the best goal-scoring teams so far this season. The Knights have gotten tremendous production from Mark Stone (8P, 2G, 6A), Shea Theodore (6P, 3G, 3A), and Max Pacioretty (4P, 3G, 1A), and only one of their games has not gotten to six total goals. Their power play has not been as effective as they want it to be (11.1%), but they have the players in place to turn that around. They were held to just two goals on Friday, so I think we will see some added motivation from this Vegas team. Overall, both of these teams have hit the Over a ton so far this season, and I don’t see a whole lot as to why that would change in this one.
Oilers @ Jets
Pick: Over 6.5 (+100)
Edmonton’s offense has not quite lived up to what we thought they would be so far this season. The Oilers have two of the most talented players in the league with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and yet the team is only scoring 2.5 GPG thus far. The season is still young, and this team is capable of a lot more. They are still putting up 32 shots per game, which is 11th in the league, and since the second game of the season, Connor McDavid hasn’t had more than two points in a single game. He is due for a big night. The Jets defense is allowing 31 shots per game, which is 17th in the league. I think the chances will be there for Edmonton. Winnipeg goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is one of the best in the biz, but he had a less than stellar performance last night against the Senators. Hellebuyck allowed three goals on just 21 shots (.857 SV%), but the Jets offense scored four unanswered goals in the third period to give them a 6-3 win. Hellebuyck is one of the most durable goalies in the league, although it is not know if he will be back in net for the second night of a back-to-back, even if he is, I like the Oilers chances at getting some pucks past him. Winnipeg’s offense is off to a great start, scoring 3.8 GPG which is 3rd in the league. They scored six last night and four each in their previous two games before that. Edmonton is not known for their defense, and they have allowed over 33 shots per game so far. I think the chances will be there for both teams, and with as much offensive talent as we will see in this game, I think this one sails Over. Keep in mind, the Over is 4-1 in the last five meetings between these two teams, and 6-1 in Winnipeg’s last seven games when playing the second game of a back-to-back. I’ll take the Over.
Best of luck. Cheers.
Title Photo: Jeff Vinnick / Getty Images