Capitals betting favorites, hosting Blackhawks on Wednesday night

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With their star forwards skating together again, the Washington Capitals and Alex Ovechkin are back to winning ways.

The Capitals are a -135 moneyline favorite with the Chicago Blackhawks coming back at -122 and a 5.5-goal total for Wednesday’s game at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Washington is 5-1 in its last six games, and the total was 6.0 or more in four of those six contests. The Blackhawks have lost four in a row coming into this inter-conference matchup.

Chicago is 12-10-5 on the season, which includes a decent 4-3-3 record as an underdog and 6-5-3 on the road. Goalie Corey Crawford is on injured reserve, which means backup Anton Forsberg is expected to start, which is a dicey proposition for a team that is allowing 33.7 shots per game, third-highest in the NHL.

One reason to believe that the Blackhawks might have some spark is that coach Joel Quenneville is shaking up his lines, as most recently RW Patrick Kane and LW Artem Anisimov are flanking Brandon Saad, while captain Jonathan Toews has new linemates. Chicago’s hot hand is rookie Alex DeBrincat, who has 10 goals in 15 games in a role that shields him from facing opponents’ top defense pairing.

Washington is 16-11-1 on the season including an 11-8 record as a favorite and a 10-5 home record at Verizon Center. Ovechkin has six goals over his last five games since being reunited with C Nicklas Backstrom. Washington will not have RW T.J. Oshie (upper body injury) in the lineup, C Evgeny Kuznetsov also has a hot stick with three goals in four games.

A red flag in this matchup comes on special teams. Washington’s power play is a lethal 37.5 percent over its last 10 games, and the Chicago penalty kill is a below-standard 62.5%. Everything evens out in hockey, but that sample would seem to favor the Capitals.

It is too early in the long haul of the 82-game NHL regular season to read too much into statistics, but defensively the Capitals and G Braden Holtby have one of the biggest home/road splits in their goals-against average – a tidy 2.27 at home when coach Barry Trotz has the last player change, and an unsightly 3.85 on the road.

The total has gone under in seven of Chicago’s last nine games as an underdog on the road, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. The total has gone under in six of Washington’s last 10 games as a favorite at home.


Bruins Small Betting Favorites at Blues for Wednesday NHL Matchup

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Some great offensive talents will be spectators for an interconference NHL matchup that was already imbued with some strong under trends.

The Boston Bruins and star left wing Brad Marchand are slim -115 favorites on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, while the St. Louis Blues come back as -105 underdogs for Wednesday’s matchup. There is a 5.5-goal total for the contest.

Boston is likely to be minus center Patrice Bergeron (foot), left wing David Backes (leg laceration) and defenseman Zdeno Chara (upper body), while left wing Rick Nash (upper body) might be a game-time decision. St. Louis is expected to be without leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko (upper body).

The depleted lineups could lead to a defensive affair. Coincidentally, the OddsShark NHL Database shows the total has gone under in six of the Bruins’ last nine road games against the Western Conference. The total has gone under in eight of the Blues’ last 10 home games against Eastern Conference teams.

Injury woes notwithstanding, Boston is 45-17-9 on the season, including a solid 20-10-4 road record. That said, the Bruins have lost all three of their road games against Central Division teams this season (two as the favorite) and improving that small sample might rest on having young right wings David Pastrnak and Ryan Donato (just signed from Harvard University) cover the absence of proven scoring if Nash is a no-go on Wednesday.

The Bruins are on the first leg of a five-game road swing as they try to chase down the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is aiming for a bounce-back game after allowing five goals in a game for the first time in more than two months during Boston’s defeat against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

While their organization appeared to cut bait on this season when it traded Paul Stastny within the division (to Winnipeg) at the trade deadline, the Blues are 39-28-5 and are hanging around the Western Conference wild-card playoff race. St. Louis has won two games in a row and the re-jigged Brayden Schenn-Jaden Schwartz-Alex Steen first line has helped cover for not having Tarasenko.

The Blues are 6-3 in their last nine home games against the Atlantic Division, but that includes three recent wins against teams that are far out of playoff contention.

St. Louis, which is a home underdog for only the second time all season, is providing better support to goalie Jake Allen. Allen has allowed only 15 goals across his last six starts with a decent save percentage, as Alex Pietrangelo and the Blues defense corps has thrived at limiting the volume of shots their goaltender faces. That’s another reason why this shapes up as a low-scoring game.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.


Flyers, Penguins Set for Pick’em Matchup on Wednesday NHL Odds

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The Philadelphia Flyers are expected to have Wayne Simmonds back to help their attack for a big Metropolitan Division matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. The Flyers and the Penguins are both pegged at odds of -110 in this pick’em matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with the game’s total set at 6 goals.

The teams are dead-even at 5-5 in their last 10 meetings at the Wells Fargo Center, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. The Flyers are just 4-6 in their last 10 games when they also play the following day, while the Penguins are 4-6 in their last 10 road games.

The two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins are 38-25-4 overall, including a 7-3-0 mark over their last 10 games. With Crosby, fellow center Evgeni Malkin and right wing Phil Kessel aboard, the Penguins are seldom an underdog on the NHL odds. The main concern with the Penguins, though, is their defending.

With goalie Matt Murray (concussion) sidelined, Pittsburgh has been counting on backup Tristan Jarry and has wound up in some scorefests of late. Pittsburgh is 2-0 against Philadelphia this season, even though the starting goalie left each game due to an injury.

The Flyers are 34-21-11 in the Metropolitan Division standings but have sagged of late with a 3-6-1 mark over the last 10 games. Adding Simmonds is expected to give Philadelphia, which is 4-4 in divisional home games this season, a more bona fide three-line attack, as he’ll play on Valtteri Filppula’s line. Center Sean Couturier is also emerging as one of the NHL’s most complete forwards.

Goalie Petr Mrazek, who can be inconsistent from period to period, never mind game to game, will likely start for the Flyers since Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth are both on injured reserve. Backup Alex Lyon has not played in more than two weeks.

The total has gone over in five of the Penguins’ last six road games. The total has gone over in eight of the Flyers’ last 10 matchups when they were also playing the next day.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.