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NHL Free Pick: Sharks vs. Wild Betting Odds & Handicapping Preview

NHL Lines: San Jose vs Minnesota Pick

Western Conference opponents will square off on Tuesday night when the San Jose Sharks (21-14-5) take on the Minnesota Wild (18-5-4). Cappers Picks will provide free NHL picks all season so check back in often.

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San Jose vs Minnesota
When: Tuesday Jan. 6 at 8:00 pm EST
Where: Xcel Energy Center
TV: Local
NHL Gambling Line: San Jose +135/Minnesota -149
NHL Gambling Over Under Line: 5
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The first half of the season is wrapping up and it has been less than stellar for these two clubs who were both playoff teams a season ago.

The Wild are struggling to score goals with any consistency while the Sharks have had their own struggles and have dropped a number of games against weaker opposition (two losses to Buffalo, two losses to Columbus and a loss to the Oilers).

Sharks

This is the second time this season that the Sharks will visit Xcel Energy Centre. The first trip into Minnesota wasn’t a successful one as the Sharks were downed 4-3 by a team that isn’t really that prolific at scoring goals. Such has been the case for the Sharks for much of this year where they just haven’t been able to put it all together for long spans.

San Jose came out of the gate like gang busters, rolling the Stanley Cup champions 4-0 in their season opener and didn’t allow a goal until their third game of the season, amid a three game win streak. They promptly followed that up by dropping four of their next five and that’s how things have been going for the Sharks all year, win a few lose a few. Their last win streak of three or more games was a five gamer back in December but they followed that up by dropping three straight against division opponents.

The Sharks got a hard fought win on Monday against the Jets in the lone game on the NHL schedule. The travel from Winnipeg to Minnesota isn’t drastic so the team shouldn’t be over tired and Minnesota doesn’t play a high tempo style so the Sharks shouldn’t be in too tough tonight.

Wild

With the amount of talent this team seems to have on paper you’d think they would be scoring bundles of goals. The likes of Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Tomas Vanek, Mikko Koivu and Nino Niederreiter suggests that offense should come easy for this team but that hasn’t been the case so far. Despite some talent and depth up front the Wild still play the style we’re used to seeing and that’s slowing the tempo down and being opportunistic when chances present themselves.

The Wild are currently averaging 2.76 goals for per game, which puts them right in the middle of the NHL at 15th. The surprising statistic is that the normally stifling team ranks 22nd in the NHL at 2.84 goals against per game, which is why they find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture, sitting sixth in the Central Division and 11th in the West.

This team is however very strong at home and have earned points in 14 of 18 home games this season with a record of 10-4-4.

Darcy Kuemper is likely to get the call in net for the Wild this evening, the 24-year-old netminder has a record of 1-1-1 against the Sharks in his career and will be looking for a bounce back game after getting shelled his last time out for four goals on 21 shots against Dallas before getting pulled midway through the second period.

NHL Betting Trends

* Under is 8-0-3 in SJ last 11 road games.
* Under is 5-2-1 in SJ last 8 games following a win.
* SJ are 7-3 in their last 10 games following a win.
* MIN are 2-7 in their last 9 overall.
* Over is 6-2-2 in MIN last 10 overall.
* Home team is 20-6 in the last 26 meetings.

Sharks vs. Wild 4* Free Pick

This is a tough pick any way you slice it. Most teams have a knack for bouncing back after a very poor showing. The Sharks were annihilated 7-2 by St. Louis on Saturday and bounced back with a 3-2 win over Winnipeg. Minnesota was laughed off the ice to the tune of 7-1 by Dallas in their last game and this is their shot at redemption.

Go with San Jose.

This should be a hard fought, tight and low scoring affair. I think San Jose edges Minnesota in OT in this one though.

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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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