The variability of hockey all came at once last night with all of the dogs barking for a terrible result. Worst night of the season for me going 3-7, losing 24.32 units. Luckily I’ve been up a ton since the Christmas break without having even one day losing more than a unit, so it all came crashing at once. It happens. Re-analyzing all of yesterday’s games, I still would’ve made those same picks. The results of yesterday’s games were so unexpected that a parlay of the Sens/Sabres/Jackets all to win in regulation would’ve paid a ridiculous +11122. No one saw that coming and those three losses were the keys to my night. I can’t even knock myself for going that heavy on one night. That’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re playing on house money, press it on plays you’re confident on. Can’t focus on that, have to have a short memory to bounce back or you won’t be able to deal with all the swings of this shit. Let’s bounce back on tonight’s three game NHL slate with a winning night!
Panthers vs. Stars (7:00)
Both these teams have been playing great hockey. Florida is 24-7-5 and they’re the best team in the league in their home arena with a 19-3 record at home. Since coming back from the Christmas break, they have a 6-0-1 record with the only loss coming in a 6-5 shootout against the same Dallas Stars that they’re playing tonight. On the season, the Panthers are averaging a second most in the NHL, 3.92 goals per game and they’re allowing an average of 2.92 goals per game. Dallas has been also playing very well with five wins in their last six games (the only loss came on the road to St. Louis). They have an 18-13-2 record on the season, but they’re significantly worse on the road than they are at home and only have a 4-10-1 record on the road. They’re averaging 2.88 goals per game themselves and allowing 2.88 goals per game. When these teams played last week on January 6th, it was a high scoring electric game, with both teams trading goals all the way to Dallas’s 6-5 shootout win. I’d expect Florida to keep it hot at home with a win here to answer back for last week’s loss. They should be able to get it done in regulation and I’ll take that for a unit. I like the over here, expecting both teams to light the lamp and I’ll go with the alternate over 5.5 for 1.5 units along with 2 units on the Florida TT over 3.5.
Wild vs. Ducks (8:00)
Minnesota comes into this game tonight with back to back wins against the Caps and Bruins after losing five straight missing a bunch of guys from their lineup, including their best players. The Wild are 21-10-2 on the season with an 11-3-1 record at home. They’re averaging 3.58 goals per game, third most in the NHL. They haven’t been great defensively though, allowing an average of 3.03 goals per game. With Karill Kaprivoz activated off the IR this morning, he should be back in the lineup tonight along with Brandon Duhaime and Jordan Greenway. The Ducks are having a solid season at 19-13-7, but have struggled lately, with just two wins in their last eight games, both coming at home against weak competition from Philly and Detroit. This will be the third and final meeting this season between these two teams. Earlier this season, the Wild won the first matchup 2-1 in Anaheim on October 15th and the following week, won 4-3 at home in overtime on October 23rd. I like the Wild to sweep the Ducks on the season with a win at home tonight, especially with the Ducks starting Anthony Stolarz against Minnesota’s high powered offense and will take them for a unit here.
Avalanche vs. Coyotes (9:00)
The Arizona Coyotes shocked the hockey world (and were the start of an all time mush for me) on Wednesday night when goaltender Karel Vejmelka (3.17 GAA, .910 save percentage on the season) shut down the Leafs offense with a 2-1 win where the Yotes got outshot 46-18. That was the 8-23-3 Coyotes second win in their last three games but only their third win in their last twelve games. That game was clearly a defensive outlier as on the season, they’re allowing the most goals in hockey, an average of 3.71 per game. They haven’t been able to score either, averaging a second fewest in the NHL, 2.18 goals per game. Colorado is 22-8-3 and come into this game off a 5-4 loss in Smashville on Tuesday night, their first loss in their last six games. Ironically the last one came in Nashville too on December 16th, the only two losses the Avs have in their last twelve games. The Avalanche have the best offense in the NHL, significantly, averaging 4.3 goals per game. They haven’t been great defensively though, allowing 3.3 goals per game on average, eleventh most in the NHL, and they just rely on that high powered offense to outscore teams. They’re also still missing Landeskog and Byram. They’re also starting backup goaltender Pavel Francouz tonight for the third time in their last four games. Obviously I love Colorado to win this game. It just sets up perfectly for them especially with them coming off a loss and the Yotes coming off that insane win. This is the heaviest priced ML of the season, with the Avs coming in at an insane -700 on most books. Even the regulation line is completely ridiculous at -480. No matter how much a game looks like perfect free money, as we know from the last two days, any team can beat any team on any given night. No way in hell are either of those lines worth betting. In the sport of hockey with some much random variability, those bets aren’t worth it. Neither are the puck lines with even the alternate ones having stupid prices. I considered the Avs TT here, but that’s at 4.5 and even buying it down to 4 isn’t worth doing with that at -220, and I don’t like the idea of needing that fifth goal. I considered the game over as well, but even with Francouz starting for the Avs, I don’t trust the Yotes to be able to score against the Avs good defense for the game to get over the 6.5, which is also pretty heavily juiced. To have a taste of action in this game, I’ll stray a little bit from my take the prop for Nathan MacKinnon to score over 1.5 goals for 0.2 units at +650, to hopefully get a nice extra unit win tonight. The Nate Dogg’s the best player on the Avs lineup and with Lande out, he’s got to take control of the offense and shoot instead of pass. He’s got 35 points on the season with only six goals, but has three of those goals in his last four games. In their last six games, he’s averaging an insane 6.83 shots per game, so asking him to light the lamp against the worst defense in the league isn’t the most to ask and is worth the minuscule 0.2 unit bet to win 1.3 units, so let’s roll with that and have some fun.
2u Florida TT over 3.5 (-120)
1u Florida in regulation (-135)
1.5u Florida/Dallas over 5.5 (-160)
1u Wild ML (-175)
0.2u Nathan MacKinnon over 1.5 goals (+650)
Record (Regular Season Total): 290-213-12 (+5.42 units)
Regular Season Pregame: 290-212-12 (+5.99 units)
Regular Season Live: 0-1 (-0.57 units)