Free NHL Picks Feb 21st, 2008
By: Our Staff
CappersPicks.com NHL Handicapping Staff
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NHL Betting – Furious Free Picks
San Jose Sharks (31-21-8) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (30-24-6)
Thursday, February 21st — Wachovia Center, Philadelphia — 7:00pm EST
NHL Betting Line: Philadelphia -120
Does somebody want to tell the Sharks to stop floundering like this? San Jose has gone belly up in the past five games, losing all of them while going 1-6 ATS in their past seven games. They’ve been sitting ducks in the road and are a drowning in a sea of their own futility. They’re also causing me to drain the vast pool of my nautical analogies!
Thankfully their opponents haven’t been fairing much better. The Flyers have been shot down in the past five games, while also getting their wings clipped to a 1-5 SU record in their past six home games. So who do you take? The swan diving Flyers, or the dead-in-the-water Sharks?
Considering how both teams have been playing, I would urge you to consider this a stay-away game. But the truth is that you’re probably going to bet on it anyways, and my job here is to make picks.
Both teams boast exceptional special teams. Philadelphia’s power play is second best in the league, but that will be offset by San Jose’s league leading penalty kill. While I like the fact that the Flyers have been losing to higher quality opponents over their own five-game losing streak, they still allow the third most shots on net with 32.3 allowed per game. The Sharks, transversely, allows only 24.4 shots per game.
In a tight game in which one team will have to turn down the suck, the Sharks will allow fewer scoring chances. They have been a road-friendly team this season, so bet on the Sharks to win in the money line. The Flyers will continue to tailspin out of the air and in to the jaws of the Sharks, who are hungry for a win on the road.
NHL Free Pick: San Jose +100
Buffalo Sabres (29-23-8) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (25-27-9)
Thursday, February 21st — Air Canada Centre, Toronto — 7:30pm EST
NHL Betting Line: Toronto -130
Don’t look now but these Leafs aren’t ready to turn over and continue their free fall. Toronto has won 7-of-10 over the past two weeks including a decisive victory over Detroit. Vesa Toskala has been a beast in net, allowing only 2.4 goals against in the last five games. That’s not a lot considering the high scores in NHL games this season.
Buffalo, meanwhile, has gone 9-4 SU in their past 13 games, including a 5-2 SU record in the past seven road contests. They rifle in 2.95 goals per game off of 30.35 shots, but continue to allow too many shots with 28.37 reaching Ryan Miller. Toronto is one of the best at getting quality shots on net, which is why they average 2.75 goals per game despite a weak roster and a losing record.
But Toronto is beginning to show signs of life, and Sundin is playing at an incredibly high level considering the mileage on his legs. Although Buffalo is 4-2 SU in their past 6 road games against Toronto, the Maple Leafs betting faithful should stick by their boys at home. They are 7-3 SU in their past 10 home games, which can’t say enough about their quality of their fan support.
NHL Free Pick: Toronto -130
Pittsburgh Penguins (34-21-5) vs. Montreal Canadiens (33-19-9)
Thursday, February 21st — Bell Centre, Montreal — 7:30pm EST
NHL Betting Line: Montreal -160
I was fortunate enough to be sitting right besides the visitors bench when the Rangers were unable to stop Alexei Kovalev and Michael Ryder in a thrilling 6-5 comeback victory for the Canadiens. It was easily the best hockey game I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing live. Plus I got to sit next to Jaromir Jagr for pretty much the entire second period, which my buddy Lujo wasn’t thrilled to hear about over the phone considering he was sitting on the side of the road with a broken down Mustang.
But the point here is that Montreal feels –and looks – invincible at home. Even down by a huge margin in the third period, the fans never gave up hope in this band of upstarts. Goal after goal after goal, the crowd was like a pack of rabid dogs surrounded by hemophiliacs. Pittsburgh has easily been one of the best teams in the new calendar year, with 2.95 goals per game and only 2.68 goals against, but Montreal at home is a tough team to bet against.
The Canadiens are 6-2 SU in their past eight home games and are 16-7-1 SU when playing Pittsburgh over their last 24 meetings. Pittsburgh got a shutout victory the last time these two met, but Montreal has a whirlwind of momentum behind them after that rousing victory over the Rangers. They will reward their betting investors tonight with another huge momentum building triumph over the Penguins, who have gone 2-4 SU in their past 6 road games and enter a building that is becoming more and more difficult to win for road teams.
NHL Free Pick: Montreal -160
Vancouver Canucks (30-22-8) vs. Nashville Predators (32-23-7)
Thursday, February 21st — Sommet Center, Nashville — 8:00pm EST
NHL Betting Line: Nashville -125
The Predators continue to stalk their prey while averaging a solid 2.92 goals per game. With a 4-2 SU record over their past 6 games, they are climbing the rankings in the Western Conference and a victory over a struggling Canucks team on the road is enough to get their thirst for blood at its peak. Nashville is 7-2 SU in their past 9 games at home.
Nashville’s special teams has been outstanding. Their penalty kill allows only 0.6 goals per game on 85.8 percent. Vancouver can usually only score when it has the man advantage, and puts itself in to trouble far more than it should. The Nucks have rectified their recent losing ways by also going 4-2 SU in their past 6, but that still doesn’t change the fact that they are 3-8 SU in their last 11 road games.
The loss of Lukas Krajcek means that an already thin blue-line for Vancouver will have trouble keeping up with the ferocious speed of Nashville’s pressure tactics. They move the puck incredibly well and distribute the puck evenly, never counting on just one main man. That’ll prove difficult for even Roberto Luongo to match as Nashville strikes with Vancouver’s paltry third and fourth lines on the ice.
Bet on Nashville to win this game at home and dent Vancouver’s playoff chances even further, while cementing theirs in the process. Vancouver is a pretty good team at home, but on the road they are one of the worst. No reason to get behind them here with your betting dollars.
NHL Free Pick: Nashville -125
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