Decemeber 17th 2013 Expert NHL Picks

Decemeber 17th 2013 Expert NHL Picks

We couldn’t get a winner last night despite a goal being scored in the first minute of the Pens/Leafs game (and plenty of scoring chances that looked like certain goals), and the Ottawa/St.Louis game ending 1 goal shy of going over the total.We look to rebound tonight with these two picks that provide excellent value:

Winnipeg Jets @ Buffalo Sabres: UNDER 5 Goals 2.03

The Buffalo Sabres are still struggling to score goals, continuing to sit dead last in the NHL for goals per game with 1.54 goals per game. Over their last 10 games, the Sabres have only been able to score 1.20 goals per game. They are the only team to score less than 2 goals per game right now. The Sabres aren’t getting enough shots on goal either, they are the 2nd last team for shots per game (behind the Devils: 25.4 shots/game) with a mere 26.1 shots per game.The Sabres defense has been better than usual as of late, allowing only 2.40 goals against per game over their last 10 games, compared to their overall goals against of 2.91 GA/G. The Winnipeg Jets offense is nothing spectacular, currently sitting at 20th overall for goals per game with 2.51 goals per game. The Jets played last night in a 3-2 victory against Columbus, and when playing on no rest this season the Jets have gone 1-2 over/under. On two days rest the Sabres have gone 1-6 over/under. Also note that the Sabres have had 19 games stay under the total this season, while only 8 games have gone over the total. The Jets are also an “under” team, going 13-18 over/under this season. These two teams share a similar power play, penalty kill, and penalty minutes per game. The Jets have a 13.3 PP% (26th overall) and a 82.9 PK% (15th overall), while the Sabres have maintained a 13.1 PP% (27th overall) and an 80.4 PK% (23rd overall). The Jets take 10.1 penalty minutes per game while the Sabres are taking 11.0 PIM/G. Ryan Miller continues to be bombarded with shots against him, taking the 3rd most shots against of any goalie in the NHL (831) while making the 2nd most saves (765) and has maintained a .921 SV% (15th overall) which is a great save percentage especially in Miller’s situation. This game will likely be a close, low scoring game. The Jets played last night and the Sabres simply can’t score goals. We’ll grab this UNDER tonight for a good price.

Colorado Avalanche @ Dallas Stars: AVALANCHE 2.03

The Avalanche were stuck in a slump for the start of December, which all began with an 8-2 pounding by the Edmonton Oilers. The Avs scored only 12 goals in 6 games (average of 2 goals per game) between Dec.5 and Dec.14. That all changed last night, when the Avs came back in a 6-2 victory over the Dallas Stars. The Avalanche managed to get 48 shots on goal last night while allowing only 33 shots against. We are not taking the Avalanche tonight simply because they won last night, we are backing them because they are the better team on paper, and we are getting them for a plus-money price tonight. The Colorado offense is scoring 2.88 goals per game, compared to the Stars offense that scores 2.78 goals per game. The Avalanche defense is significantly better than the Stars, allowing only 2.31 goals against per game compared to the Stars 3.00 goals against per game. Over their last 10 games, the Stars have allowed 3.20 goals against per game. The Avalanche have a better power play unit that has a 13.8 PP%, compared to the Stars 11.3% power play unit. Note that the Stars home power play numbers are embarrassing, as the Stars can only convert on 2.1% (yes, you are reading it right, 2.1%) of their power play attempts when playing at Home. The Avalanche have an 81.2 PK% overall, and have an 81.1% road penalty kill. The Avs will likely look to goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere tonight, as Varlamov played last night. Giguere has incredible numbers this season which includes an exceptional 1.84 goals against average and a .940 SV%. This is another advantage for the Avalanche, as they have 2 solid goaltenders they can rely on, while the Stars will likely have to look to Kari Lehtonen again tonight. Lehtonen is bound to be exhausted after facing 48 shots last night, and making the trip back to Dallas to play again tonight. If the Stars decide to rest Kari, they must rely on either Dan Ellis (3-3-0, 3.19 GAA, .901 SV%) or Jack Campbell (0-1-0, 6.00 GAA, .872 SV%). This is a great price on the Avalanche tonight, they are the better team and are equipped with better goaltenders; we will gladly back them for this great price tonight in Dallas.

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