After just five NHL games last night, there are eight games to choose from tonight. Here are the gambling picks I am rolling with.
Season Record: 32-21
Tail or fade with caution!
Stars @ Blue Jackets
Pick: Stars ML (-110)
The Blue Jackets are back at home after a two-game road trip to Chicago where they split with the Blackhawks. They are back in Columbus to face a Dallas team, who after reeling off four straight wins to start the season, lost back-to-back games in Carolina. One was a 4-1 loss, and the other as a 4-3 shootout loss. However, I think the Stars can get back in the win column tonight. Their trip to Carolina was their first road trip of this funky 2021 season, and they came out flat in the first game, but looked a lot better in the second game. In addition, Carolina has been a much better defensive team than Columbus so far this season, as the Canes are giving up the second-fewest shots per game (23.3), while the Jackets are giving up the fourth-most (33.5). This Dallas offensive attack was one of the best last season, and it helped propel them to the Stanley Cup Final. So far this season, through six games they are averaging the second-most goals per game (3.83), and have scored 7 goals in a game twice already. I think the Dallas offense will be too much for Columbus, and I see the Stars getting back into the win column.
Hurricanes @ Blackhawks
Pick: Under 6 (-120)
As mentioned, the Hurricanes were able to hold the high-flying Stars offense in check for their two-game series, and I think they have a good shot at doing that to the Blackhawks. The Hurricanes are giving up the second-fewest amount of shots per game (23.3), and the Blackhawks are 16th in shots per game (30.7). Carolina really puts an emphasis on their defensive play, and they lead the league with a goals against average of just 1.67. The Hawks have some talented offensive players, but I think Carolina’s stout defense will give them some problems. Chicago does have a very good power play (5th – 33.3%), but Carolina has one of the best PK’s (2nd – 91.3%). If Carolina stays disciplined, and makes this a five-on-five game, I think it will be very low scoring. Even if they do find themselves shorthanded, they have what it takes to kill off power plays. Petr Mrazek is out with an injury, but James Reimer is a formidable backup who has a 3-0-0 record this season along with a 1.99 GAA and .918 SV%. With the possibility of Mrazek out long-term, Reimer will want to show he is capable of a No. 1 spot for the time being, and I think the defense will increase their intensity in order to help him out. I’ll take the Under.
Wild @ Avalanche
Picks: Avalanche ML (-160) and Avalanche Puck Line -1.5 (+145)
Beating the Avalanche is tough, but beating them twice in a row is even more tough. The Wild were able to take down Colorado 4-3 in overtime on Sunday thanks to a Jonas Brodin goal just 18 seconds into the overtime period. The Wild outshot the Avs 33-25, and picked up a big win. But can they do that twice in a row? In addition, can they do that on the road this time? That win on Sunday was at home in Minnesota, but now they head out west to play this one in Colorado. Even with Nathan McKinnon currently listed as questionable, I give the advantage to the home team here. This Colorado team is too well-rounded and has a lot of depth, so even if McKinnon can’t go, I think they will still have enough to get the win. Mikko Rantanen is second in the league with seven goals, and Philip Grubauer is second in the league with six wins. His 1.75 GAA is also one of the best in the league, coming in at No. 5. Colorado’s power play was deadly at home all of last season, and if given the opportunity, I think they will be able to convert their chances. Minnesota has the worst power play in the league so far this season (5.1%), and I am not too confident in their ability to pick up back-to-back wins over this Avs team. After losing their home opener, Colorado has won three home games in a row, while outscoring their opponents 18-3 in those games. I’m taking the Avs ML and Puck Line.
Senators @ Oilers
Picks: Over 6.5 (-130) and Oilers Puck Line -1.5 (+105)
Well I foolishly took the Under 6.5 in the first matchup between these two teams, and they promptly tallied eight total goals in the first period. Not ideal. I have learned from that endeavor and will be taking the Over tonight. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are both cheat codes and playing out of this world right now. They lead the league in points, and got some help from their supporting cast on Sunday against Ottawa. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a three-point night, and James Neal added two goals. The Senators are not a good defensive team, as they are allowing a league-leading 4.89 goals against per game. The Oilers should be poised for another big day. However, Edmonton is allowing the third-most goals per game with 3.73. Goalie Mikko Koskinen has a GAA of 3.75, and much like Sunday, this game might not feature a ton of defense, thus leading to an Over. In addition, I think the Oilers offense led by McDavid and Draisaitl will be too much, and Ottawa won’t be able to keep up. I’m taking the Oilers Puck Line as well.
Coyotes @ Blues
Pick: Blues ML (-165)
The Blues have won three road games in a row, and return home after taking two games from the Ducks in Anaheim and outscoring them 10-2. Jordan Binnington has been great in net, posting a 5-1-0-1 record with a 2.49 GAA and .918 SV%. He will face an Arizona team that has had some trouble lighting the lamp this season. The Coyotes are 24th in goals per game with 2.50, and 25th in shots per game with 28.1. I think this matchup sets up nicely for St. Louis. The Coyotes have yet to win a road game this season, and they are 8-20 in their last 28 games against St. Louis. The Blues have some serious confidence after those three straight road wins, and now they are at home where they have won seven of their last 10 meetings against the Coyotes. I’m taking the Blues.
Best of luck. Cheers.
Title Photo: The Canadian Press