Wednesday brings us another dose of Wednesday Night Rivalry in the NHL, and we have a four-game slate to pick through and discover some best bets. So be ready to make some wagers and let's cash. BetQL subscribers can see more betting trends and all of our best bets with star ratings for every pick.
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We'll start things off in an Atlantic Division showdown between the Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings. The Sabres enjoyed an early season high, going on a nice winning streak and looking like a franchise on the rise, until they hit the proverbial brick wall of reality. Buffalo isn't a bad team, they just weren't as good as their record indicated early on. Where they have struggled the most is with goaltending and defense, as the Sabres are allowing 3.59 goals per game and 31.9 shots. They have made up for it with a pretty good offense that is taking 32.5 shots of their own per game and scoring 3.68 goals. Still, they have lost three of their last five games, and will be looking to right the ship tonight.
Detroit has been a roller coaster so far, starting out of the gates on fire and then cooling off, and now are back on fire. The Red Wings have won four of their last five games, and they seem to have found a bit of a groove. You just never know with this team though. If you look at the stats, they are actually a really average hockey team. They score 3.19 goals per game and take 30 shots per contest, both very close to league average. They allow 3.05 goals per game and 30.9 shots, also both very close to league average.
MY PICK: I imagine the Sabres will be getting plus money here as the underdog, so if that is the case, I would sprinkle them to win this game. I think +1.5 is the safer play, but that will probably be juiced.
Our second game brings us to the Windy City, where the Chicago Blackhawks will face off with the Edmonton Oilers in a battle that most would think to be one-sided, but I wouldn't be so sure. Edmonton should have lost to the Florida Panthers on Monday night, but a miracle goal with five seconds left on the clock took them to OT, where they scored the game winner. Still, this is a team that really hasn't impressed me. They are allowing 3.55 goals per game and 33.4 shots, both numbers being well below average. Once again, the defense and goaltending really hold this team back in many ways. Offensively, we know what they are capable of with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
We picked the Hawks against the Stars last time at huge plus money, and they were up 4-1 with under 10 minutes to go in the game. They lost 6-4. Quite unbelievable really, but there is simply nothing you can do. Except bet on them again, of course. Chicago will be getting very enticing plus money numbers all year long, and there are games where you will have to at least take a nibble against teams that are bad or perhaps overrated. This is one of those occasions, as was the Stars game.
MY PICK: Take the Blackhawks as a large home dog here, just a sprinkle.
Lastly, let's head to Canada, where the New York Rangers will travel to Ottawa to take on the Senators. One of the more disappointing teams to start the year has to be the Rangers, as they have barely won more games than they have lost, and that is excluding their OT losses. It's very odd honestly, because they actually dominate puck possession in most games, and outshoot a majority of their opponents. They just can't seem to get the puck to the back of the net more than the average number of three times per game. The goaltending and defense have been great, allowing just 28.9 shots per game and 2.87 goals, but the offense just can't score enough. They have lost three of their last five games, and are on a three game losing streak.
Ottawa also has really struggled as of late, losing three of their last five games, but they are on a two game win streak. They struggle the most on defense, allowing 33.6 shots per contest and 3.38 goals per game, both numbers being mediocre. They have sort of the same problem as New York, where they are taking 33.5 shots per game, but scoring just barely over league average at 3.14 goals each time out.
MY PICK: The Rangers are certainly the better team here, and we might get a bit of a discount on them with how they have struggled recently. I'll take them here on the ML if the juice isn't higher than -135, and take a shot with -1.5.