NHL picks for today
The Blues are coming off a roller-coaster loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, a game in which they were outshot 38-17 and outchanced 17-11. The Blues were lucky to score four goals against an ice-cold Marc-Andre Fleury and managed just one goal in their first game versus the Avs. St. Louis could face Dallas back-up goalie Anton Khudobin as the Stars’ No. 1 netminder, Ben Bishop, was “unfit to play” on Wednesday.
It will be four days between games for Dallas, who has allowed nine goals in two games which equates to a 87.67 SV%. They were shut out 4-0 on Wednesday and blew a 3-1 third-period lead to the Knights on Monday. Every Western team that wins their qualifying round series is crossing their fingers that they play the Stars in the first round, as we feel Dallas is the weakest of the top-four teams in the West. St. Louis has also dominated the season series 4-1 SU with the Over hitting in two of those five matches.
PREDICTION: Blues moneyline (-125)
The Bruins and Capitals have yet to win in each of their two round-robin games, with neither team scoring more than two goals in each game. Both offenses have yet to find their scoring touch, but Washington’s is struggling worse. Averaging just 26 shots per game, Washington isn’t getting enough quality scoring chances in the early goings, which is a common theme in the round-robin games. A possible factor in the lack of scoring could be the long breaks between games, as Boston is playing its first game since Wednesday while Washington last played on Thursday.
The Bruins will be starting Vezina candidate Tukka Rask, who has a 1.90 GAA when on three-plus days of rest to go along with a .937 SV% and four shutouts in 25 games. However, the Bruins netminder is 3-11-5 lifetime against the Capitals while his counterpart, Washington goalie Braden Holtby, is 18-4-0 lifetime against Boston with a 1.98 GAA, .939 SV% with four shutouts.
Through the first eight round-robin games, the first-period Under 1.5 has hit five times with Eastern Conference games going 0-4 O/U on full-game totals heading into Saturday. Lastly, the usually-dominant and automatic Bruins powerplay has yet to score a goal in the restart, going 0-for-7.
PREDICTION: First period Under 1.5 (-115)
Toronto’s miraculous comeback — three goals in the final four minutes to send the game to O.T. — has forced Sunday’s deciding Game 5. Physical fitness will be a big factor in this game, as the Jackets and Leafs played back-to-back on Thursday and Friday, with both of those games going to overtime. Both teams’ average age is 26 years old, so it’s hard to find an edge here. We do know that Columbus’ starting rookie goalie, Elvis Merzlikins, will be making his first elimination game start ever, while the Leafs’ Freddy Andersen has played in eight do-or-die games, going 3-5 SU.
Each of the four games has hit the first-period Under 1.5, with a total of just two first-period goals being scored. Interestingly, the full-game total has gone Over in back-to-back games, with seven goals being scored in each, creating great value on in-game plays on the Over once the first goal has been potted. We like a timid first period on Sunday night with neither team wanting to make any mistakes early. Elimination games are 4-4 O/U so far in the restart.
PREDICTION: First period Under 1.5 (-120)
NHL Betting card for August 9
- Blues vs Stars - Blues ML (-125)
- Bruins vs Capitals - first period Under 1.5 (-115)
- Blue Jackets vs Maple Leafs - first period Under 1.5 (-125)