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NHL Free Pick: Predators vs. Jets Betting Odds & Handicapping Preview

NHL: Nashville vs Winnipeg Pick

NHL action this week will feature the Nashville Predators (2-0-1) and the Winnipeg Jets (1-2-0). Cappers Picks will provide free NHL picks all season so check back in often.

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Nashville vs. Winnipeg
When: Friday, Oct 17 2014 at 8:00 pm ET
Where: MTS Centre
TV: FSSM
NHL ATS Gambling Line: Jets -1.5
NHL O/U Line: 5.5
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Two Central Division foes who were on the outside of the playoff picture a year ago will collide on Friday night as the Nashville Predators trek north to take on the Winnipeg Jets who will finally get their home opener nearly 10 days after the start of the NHL season.

These teams stack up quite evenly and it should make for a good game, especially with both teams coming off losses. The MTS Centre is always a tough venue for opposing teams as the Winnipeg crowd is very loud and loves to get on opposing players and goaltenders in particular.

The Preds will have their work cut out for them as the Jets have been off since Sunday after starting their season with three games on the road.

Predators

It’s been a somewhat surprising start for the Predators who are likely to finish out of the playoffs again this season as a middle of the pack team in the very tough Central Division. Nashville seemed eager to buck that opinion however, opening their season with a pair of wins against the Ottawa Senators and division rival Dallas Stars.

Nashville suffered their first loss of the season on Tuesday in a shootout defeat to the Calgary Flames in a game that was by all accounts winnable. Some timely saves by Flames netminder Karri Ramo kept the game deadlocked and the Preds failed to score in the shootout but still earned a point to sit at five points and tied atop the Central Division with the Chicago Blackhawks.

This is a team that has a lot of new faces this year, and considering the roster overhaul they’ve settled in quite well this early on. Normally seen as a fairly defensive minded team under longtime coach Barry Trotz who is no longer with Nashville, the Preds have turned up the offense a bit under new bench boss Peter Laviolette, scoring nine goals in their first three games.

Additions like James Neal, Mike Ribiero and Derek Roy have given this team a little more flash and flair on the attack and they should be a more exciting team to watch this year. Add to that group, a defense that is anchored by one of the best in the league in Shea Weber and a solid goalie in Pekka Rinne, this team will hang around in the Central.

Jets

The Jets opened their season like gang busters, hammering the Arizona Coyotes by a 6-2 margin.

They were promptly reminded that they’re still just a run of the mill team out West however in losses to the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings where they were outscored by a combined score of 7-1.

Winnipeg is another one of those teams that isn’t terrible but just flat out isn’t good enough to play with the big boys in their conference like Anaheim, San Jose, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Chicago. If this team has any hope of sniffing the playoffs they’re going to have to be dominant over teams in their realm like Nashville.

The Jets had a setback early, losing arguably their best player when Evander Kane went down with a knee injury after colliding with teammate Mark Scheifele in their first game. Speaking of Scheifele, he is one of a number of players that needs to bust out this year if this team is to have success.

The 21 year old was the Jets first pick (7th overall in 2011) and his time is now if he’s going to show he’s a true NHL talent.

The Jets have a forward group that features a strong top six in Bryan Little, Andrew Ladd, Michael Frolik, Blake Wheeler and Schiefele but the talent level dips off severely in the bottom six. On defense it’s not a whole lot better as Tobias Enstrom is about the only Dman that could be considered a legitimate top pair defender, with the rest of the group filled out with young players like Jacob Trouba and Zach Bogosian.

In net, it’s bad, not much more to say there. Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson had better have some thick skin as they’ll likely be the target of criticism for a lot of the Jets’ losses this season.

Predators vs. Jets 4* Free Pick

This is a tough one to pick. Without their most dynamic forward Evander Kane, the Jets will need to lean heavily on Wheeler and Schiefele to carry the offense, and they’ll likely have to do it against Shea Weber. Both teams will be well rested coming into this game and the Jets will certainly be happy to be back home.

That being said, the home opener isn’t always a great advantage as there’s a long celebration that delays the game’s start.

I think Nashville spoils the party, pushing Winnipeg’s losing streak to three. Take the Preds on the moneyline paying +100

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About Matt Durnan

A (self-proclaimed) fantasy sports guru since 2004 and a journalist since 2007. He has been offering unsolicited sports gambling advice to his circle of friends for years and has now put himself at the mercy of online readers everywhere. "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how much fun you have"... His hockey coach told him that when he was 7. His team lost every game that year.


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