It’s time to get to our NHL Friday picks at BetRivers.com, and while the first half of the 2021 regular-season has been anything but normal there are a few things that we can count on regardless of how bizarre this season has been. Long-time sports broadcaster David Tuchman is here to preview his NHL Friday picks and break down the latest odds and trends that impact his betting decisions.
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If you blink, you’ll miss the latest trends. The NHL is very much a “what have you done for me lately” type of league. The St. Louis Blues celebrated New Years a few months ago in last place, but anyone watching them play realized they were far more talented than that. They went on a historic run that ended with them hoisting the Stanley Cup. Imagine, betting on them to win the cup when they were in last place? (I know a few guys who did)
One year ago, the Philadelphia Flyers looked to be a team on the rise. They were in first place, had a stud young goaltender, and looked to be Stanley Cup contenders. On Thursday night, the Flyers suffered their tenth loss in the month of March against only four wins. And they’re not just losing, they’re being humiliated. They’ve lost the last two games to the Rangers by a combined score of 17-3. Now, I’m not here to tell you the Rangers aren’t a talented offensive team, but c’mon?!? What the heck is going on in Philadelphia?
So my point is simple. Pay attention to the NHL – as Ferris Bueller once said, “Life Moves Pretty Fast. If You Don’t Stop And Look Around Once In A While, You Could Miss It.”
Before we get to our NHL Friday Picks, lets take a look at ten trends that will make an impact down the stretch.
NHL FRIDAY PICKS: TUCK’S TEN
- The Colorado Avalanche are on a tear. They are regularly outshooting teams by large margins and last night beat up on a team that most think is a Cup contender in the Vegas Golden Knights. Things can change quickly, but until they do, it’s hard to bet against Colorado regardless of the odds you’re getting.
- If you want to win money, you need to pay attention to who’s in net. Backup goalies in the spot light: He was run out of Edmonton, but Cam Talbot quietly been fantastic for the Minnesota Wild. He and Kaapo Kahkonen have quietly formed one of the best goalie tandems in the league. Out on the island, New York Islanders rookie Ilya Sorokin is on an 8-game winning streak and playing like the star he was in the KHL (Russia’s top pro league)
- Speaking of goaltenders, Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury more than held down the fort in Vegas while Robin Lehner was injured. In fact, people considered him a Vezina candidate, but Fleury hasn’t been his stellar self the past week or so. His last 3 games have been mediocre – at this point, I’m wondering if he’s been overused a bit. I might be looking to fade Vegas when Fleury is in net.
- Carter Hart was once considered the next great Philadelphia Flyers goalie. Now, he could be demoted to the AHL. He’s been that bad. Couple that with a lackluster effort from the team and things are ugly in the City of Brotherly Love.
- There is a goalie in Florida making 10 million a year. He was brought in to be their GUY. Sergei Bobrovsky has been inconsistent and we’re fading the Florida Panthers anytime he’s in net. Their “backup” goalie Chris Driedger only makes $850,000 a year and has been lights out.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs‘ best goalie right now is named Jack Campbell.
- The Calgary Flames got a nice shot of adrenaline with the coaching change, but they are still terribly inconsistent and abjectly awful in the 2nd game of a back to back.
- The Buffalo Sabres are worse than awful – 16 straight losses. I’m willing to bet they won’t lose every game the rest of the year, but I won’t bet on them on a nightly basis – at least not until their nightly odds start creeping into the +320 range.
- The Winnipeg Jets are not really built to win the cup in my not so humble opinion. That said, they have one of the best netminders in the league, Connor Hellebuyck. A hot goalie can take you far come playoff time. They’re currently tied for first in the relatively weak Northern Division. While Toronto is certainly the favorite to come out of the North, they’ve choked many times in the past. Would it shock anyone to see the Leafs underachieve again? If they do, Winnipeg might be the team that gets into the final four. Also, with the Jets playing so well, they may look to acquire a defenseman at the trade deadline to address their one glaring weakness. The Winnipeg Jets at +2400 to win the Cup look like a good dart to throw.
- Don’t listen to me when I bet on the Vancouver Canucks. I’ll continue to do it because I’m stubborn, but 23 out of my 45 losses this season are when I bet on the Canucks. (I’m exaggerating, but only slightly)
Now, let’s look at the NHL games tonight.
NHL FRIDAY PICKS:
NEW JERSEY DEVILS (12-15-4, 28pts) at WASHINGTON CAPITALS (21-7-4, 46pts), 7 p.m ET
MONEYLINE: Capitals -220 ML, Devils +185 ML
PUCK LINE: Capitals -1.5 (+116), Devils +1.5 (-137)
OVER/UNDER: 6 goals (-112/-107)
Click here for the full list of Capitals-Devils odds.
Washington is 5-0 against the Devils, but their last three games were all of the one-goal variety. While Buffalo (and Philadelphia) have thrown in the towel, I’ve been impressed by New Jersey. They aren’t a good team, but they aren’t awful. They work hard and they’ll compete on most nights.
At +185, there’s a lot of value. The Pick: Devils +185 ML.
WINNIPEG JETS (20-11-2, 42pts) at CALGARY FLAMES (15-16-3, 33pts), 10 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Flames -127 ML, Jets +108 ML
PUCK LINE: Flames -1 (+130), Jets +1 (-155)
OVER/UNDER: 6 goals (+100/-120)
Click here for the full list of Flames-Jets odds.
The Flames are infuriatingly inconsistent. This is playing along my Winnipeg Jet to win the Cup thesis. I love what the Jets are doing and when Connor Hellebuyck is in net, I’m happy to bet on them if they are dogs.
Tonight, we can get the Winnipeg Jets +110 which represents some nice value.