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NHL Betting 2008 – Week 17 Tuesday Edition
Our Sportsbooks: New Jersey Devils (27-17-3) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (26-15-5)
Tuesday, January 22nd — Wachovia Center, Philadelphia — 7:00pm EST
Opening NHL Money Line: Philadelphia -125
The Devils have typically owned the Flyers outright, going 8-1 SU when playing Philadelphia. But this is a new Flyers team that is combining a high-impact style of physicality with an acumen for scoring. During their four-game winning streak, the Flyers have averaged 5.5 goals per game, while only allowing 2.7 per game.
The Devils are a stalwart defensive threat that relies on team defense and the savvy net minding of Martin Brodeur, undoubtedly one of the greatest goalies to ever play the game. The Devil’s overall defense is ranked second in the league, allowing only 2.3 goals per game. But the Flyers are lethal when they play at the Wachovia Center. The lead the league in home scoring with 3.7 goals per game, and are 13-11 SU as favorites.
Bet on the punchy Flyers as they begin to show that the new NHL is all about speed and offense, leaving the Devils dizzy in their dust. Antero Niitymaki has been incredible in since the turn of the new year. The Finland native is 5-1 SU in the month of January, with his only loss coming in overtime. The Flyers are scorching the scoreboard and burning teams, so strike with your NHL betting dollars while the iron is hot.
NHL Free Picks: Philadelphia -125
Atlanta Thrashers (23-24-3) vs. New York Rangers (22-21-6)
Tuesday, January 22nd — Madison Square Garden — 7:00pm EST
Opening NHL Money Line: New York Rangers -180
Everyone got moist about the Thrashers when they pummeled Detroit 5-1 last week behind a dazzling performance by Marion Hossa. But a 10-1 drubbing to Buffalo, followed by a 4-2 loss to Edmonton, proves that the Thrashers lack the heart to hang with the best of them. They are in the middle of the pack statistically with 2.8 goals per game, while allowing 3.4 against. Those who gambled on
Kari Lehtonen saving these dirty birds were dead wrong.
Meanwhile, the Rangers have had their own multitude of problems. Coming off back-to-back losses to the burly Bruins of Beantown simply exemplifies the unusual funk this star studded team finds itself in. The Rangers are near the bottom of the barrel, averaging only 2.4 goals per game, though their defense is ranked 8th with only 2.6 goals against. So far, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez have not been worth the price of admission.
When you’re staring at two teams like this who are in apparent tailspins, take the team with the more reliable goalie. In this case, it’s Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers, who has been struggling but can turn it around against the Thrashers. Lehtonen is playing like a drugged up sloth between the pipes and simply can’t be trusted.
NHL Free Picks: New York Rangers -180
Nashville Predators (24-20-4) vs. Colorado Avalanche (26-18-4)
Tuesday, January 22nd — Pepsi Center, Denver — 9:00pm EST
Opening NHL Money Line: Colorado -160
The Predators are the hottest team in the Western Conference right now. After a slow start, they have crawled out of the gutter salvaging a 10-12-2 road record on the season. As underdogs they are only 12-16 SU, but going 3-2 SU in their past five games should make the betting investor a little less queasy.
Colorado, however, has been on fire lately, going 4-1 SU in their past five games, including a shut-out of the Tampa Bay Lightening. The Avs rank 11th in the league defensively with 2.7 goals against, and also have the 15th best offense with 2.8 goals per game. The surprising element to all of this is that they are doing it without Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth. Don’t you dare sleep on Wojtek Wolski! He’s an actual player. I swear (God, I love the NHL!).
The problem for them is the red-hot Predators have been gunning down opponents. In their recent back-to-back conquests of St. Louis, they deployed the Blues by outscoring them 11-5 in two games. The Avs are pretty hot right now, but their four victories this past week have come against some pretty awful teams (TB, Florida, Columbus and Carolina). The easy money here is on Nashville, who should can match the fast skating of the Avs with their own solid pace. Cash in on the Preds now, before the lazy hockey oddsmakers catch up to their winning ways.
NHL Free Pick: Nashville +140
Columbus Blue Jackets (23-20-6) vs. Dallas Stars (28-18-5)
Tuesday, January 22nd — American Airlines Center, Dallas — 8:30pm Est
Opening NHL Money Line: Dallas -170
The Jackets have been sneaky lately, but are 11-17 SU as dogs and shouldn’t be trusted if you’re trying to be an underhanded hockey bettor. The Stars average 2.98 goals per game, with only 2.59 goals against. Lately, however, they have been finding the twine for 4.0 goals per game during their impressive three-game winning streak. This is a rematch of a game these two teams played last Saturday. Dallas won outright 3-1.
Columbus is a better home team by far. They are 4-2 SU in their past 6 games and are 1-4 SU in their past five games on the road. They average 2.51 goals for, while barely being edged by opponent defensively, allowing 2.53 goals per game. There’s a reason they’ve been chewing the collective dust of their Central Division rivals for the past few seasons. At home, Columbus is a very attractive 16-6-4, which is why they are a bettor’s best friend on occasion.
But with a 4-4-2 SU record against Dallas in their past 10 games with the Stars, Columbus is about as ugly betty as you can get on the road. Take Dallas with the handicap and reap the rewards. It may seem like a stiff price to pay for a favorite, but Dallas will reward the betting faithful that get behind them tonight.
NHL Free Pick: Dallas -170
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