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Columbus @ WINNIPEG
Columbus -105 over WINNIPEG

NHL Handicapping contest is now open for anyone to join. Details are in the HOCKEY CONTEST SECTION ABOVE 

BEST LINES: Pinnacle -105 Bet365 -110 SportsInteraction -110 5DIMES -106

Posted at 1:30 PM EST 

8:05 PM EST. OT included. The Blue Jackets are 4-1 and they’ve got the numbers to back up a great start to the season. Columbus is a top-10 puck possession team (8th in CorsiFor%, an advanced statistic used to measure shot attempt differential while at even strength play) and 6th in Fenwick For (like Corsi but does not include blocked shots) at 54.7%. The Jackets have outshot the opposition in four of their first five games and putting up more than 30 shots in each of those contest including 43 against the Rangers. Columbus actually outshot the Blackhawks in its only loss which came on the second half of a back to back with backup Joonas Korpisalo making the start. Starting goaltending Sergei Bobrovsky is 4-0 with 1.48 goals against average and a .952 save percentage, which is second to only Chicago’s Corey Crawford in both of those categories. Bobrovsky has played at an elite level to start the season which is more than we can say about his counterpart tonight.

The Jets have ripped off three wins in a row after making the switch to Connor Hellebuyck between the pipes.  You’d think that head coach Paul Maurice wouldn’t want to tinker with things too much but he is under pressure to play Steve Mason, who the Jets signed to a two year, $8-million deal in the offseason. We’ve got to wonder what the locker room thinks of a decision like this, as Hellebuyck has been around for a few years now, is well liked and has stood on his head to spark this winning streak and he gets rewarded by sitting tonight. There is no doubt who the better option in net is because everything is about money, the Jets aren’t going to sit a player they just signed foralmost $50-thousand a game to warm the bench and work the gate. Maurice has also been critical of his defense and while this team didn’t play well in front of Mason, they haven’t played well in front of Hellebuyck either despite the wins. The Jets are a poor puck possession team and rank 28th in Corsi For at 45.6%. The Jets inability to dictate the pace of play the majority of the time is an even bigger concern when you consider that they are dead last in offensive zone starts at just 39.2% a full 5% behind the next closest club. Winnipeg is spending way too much time in its own end. They’ve been outshot and out-chanced in four of their last five games with the only exception being their game in Edmonton when Hellebuyck still faced 39 shots. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again that the Jets are loaded with offensive talent but talent alone is not enough. The timing is off to start Mason. Really off and it can’t be sitting well with anyone in that Jets locker room. The Jackets are a difficult out on any day because of their work ethic, goaltending and talent and in an evenly priced game we’re thrilled to get the superior goaltending.

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Our Pick

Columbus -105 (Risking 2.1 units - To Win: 2.00)

Florida @ PHILADELPHIA
Florida +125 over PHILADELPHIA

NHL Handicapping contest is now open for anyone to join. Details are in the HOCKEY CONTEST SECTION ABOVE 

BEST LINES: Pinnacle +124 Bet365 +125 SportsInteraction +125 5DIMES +125

Posted at 1:25 PM EST 

7:05 PM EST. OT included. The Flyers stock is high after they whacked the Capitals 8-2 on Saturday night to run their record to 3-2. The Flyers opened their season with three games in California before playing in Nashville. A bizarre series of events cost them a game in Nashville, thus Philadelphia should have come home 3-1 instead of 2-2. Still, that last win has resonated in the market and now for the first time this year, the Flyers are overpriced. Look, we like the Flyers a lot. They have confidence and they roll out balanced scoring for the first time in years. However, they are a middle of the pack possession team that is worth getting behind offered a price. We’re not quite ready to trust them as the chalk but this one is more about getting behind the most undervalued team in the league. 

Enter the Florida Panthers, a team so talented and so dangerous that nobody is talking about. By the time the experts start talking about them, remember where you heard it first. The Panthers have played just four games so they are itching to get back out there. They played and lost in Pittsburgh on Saturday night because Matt Murray was better than Roberto Luongo but the Panthers fired away 46 shots and deserved to win. Against the then undefeated Blues last Thursday, the Panthers buried them 5-2. The Panthers own the biggest shot discrepancy per game in the league thus far. They are dominating everything except goaltending. They have had the puck far more than the opposition has thus far and have scored 16 goals in four games. We’re always concerned about Luongo in net when we’re backing the Panthers but we can’t worry about that, as there is too much value on a team that is very likely going to win the battle in all the key areas. Keep your eye on the Panthers and keep playing them, as there is nothing but profit potential in backing this extremely capable and dangerous bunch.

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Our Pick

Florida +125 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.50)

Toronto @ WASHINGTON
Toronto +111 over WASHINGTON

NHL Handicapping contest is now open for anyone to join. Details are in the HOCKEY CONTEST SECTION ABOVE 

BEST LINES: Pinnacle +111 Bet365 +105 SportsInteraction +105 5DIMES +106

Posted at 1:30 PM EST 

7:05 PM EST. The Leafs will face a familiar foe here when they play the team that knocked them out of last year’s playoffs in the first round. Five of the six games went to overtime and the other was a one-goal regulation decision. This year, however, the proverbial passing of the torch is about to begin, as it is Toronto that will likely finish ahead of the Caps in the standing for years to come, including this year. The Caps’ time has passed while Toronto’s is just beginning. Known for their stellar defensive play and balanced scoring, the Caps are not the same anymore, as several players left, few came their way and the team is a year older and slower too. Washington’s defense is a complete mess too. They are allowing an average of 24½ scoring chances against per game and only two teams are worse. The Flyers took advantage of that by burying eight goals on the Caps. The speedy Maple Leafs figure to get even more scoring chances. The blueprint to beat the Caps is not a difficult one. Just stay out of the box and make them beat you 5 on 5 and your chances improve greatly. The Caps are 3-3 but have been badly outshot and outplayed in five of their six games.

The Maple Leafs score goals and while their goals per game average is unsustainable, this is probably the weakest defense they’ll see so far this season. The Rangers defense may be considered worse but Toronto buried eight goals on the Rags. The experts are still going to insist that the Caps are a threat to win the Cup but we’re not in agreement with that. Mentally, the Caps don’t have that swag anymore because they are out of excuses. The goaltending is still solid but that defense is a total wasteland that can’t move the puck out anymore. Barry Trotz’s defensive system is too old school while Mike Babcock changes his strategies to play to the strength of his players. Toronto offers up great value when taking back a price because of their ability to score and get a lead while the Caps will remain overpriced well into the season regardless of their record because of their pedigree. We’ll look to take advantage of that here.

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Our Pick

Toronto +111 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.22)

Buffalo @ VEGAS
Buffalo +100 over VEGAS

NHL Handicapping contest is now open for anyone to join. Details are in the HOCKEY CONTEST SECTION ABOVE 

BEST LINES: Pinnacle +100 Bet365 -105 SportsInteraction -110 5DIMES -101

Posted at 1:30 PM EST 

10:00 PM EST. OT included. The Knights come into this game with a 4-1 record and now they’re favored because of that record. What that record doesn’t say is that when the Knights defeated Dallas in their season opener, they were running around for 60 minutes while allowing 46 shots on net. Two of their first four wins have come against the winless Coyotes and another win came against the rookie loaded Bruins. The Bruins managed just 22 shots on Malcolm Subban on Sunday but Subban, who starts again tonight and was claimed off waivers from the Bruins on Oct. 3, was making just the third start of his NHL career after compiling a 0-2 record and a 5.82 goals-against average with the Bruins. No expansion team in any of the major sports has ever started 3-0 or 5-1. The Las Vegas Golden Knights deserve credit for riding a wave of emotion into a strong start but it’s not going to last. While we may consider getting behind this team when they’re a significant dog, they must be faded when favored because that’s where the value lies, as they are going to lose far more games than they’re going to win when it’s all said and done. This is likely one of those.The first win is sometimes the hardest and now that the Sabres are finally on the board, a big weight has come off their shoulders. Buffalo was 0-5 heading into Anaheim on Sunday. They beat the Ducks 3-1 and can now get back to playing some hockey.  We were high on the Sabres most of

The first win is sometimes the hardest and now that the Sabres are finally on the board, a big weight has come off their shoulders. Buffalo was 0-5 heading into Anaheim on Sunday. They beat the Ducks 3-1 and can now get back to playing some hockey.  We were high on the Sabres most of last year and are high on them this year.

The young core of players ---Sam Reinhart, Zemgus Girgensons, and Rasmus Ristolainen—are heading into their third, fourth, and fifth years in the league and they should start playing with more intelligence and consistency. Kyle Okposo, Evander Kane, and standout center Ryan O’Reilly are still on the roster. Marco Scandella, a solid defenseman and former Buffalo legend Jason Pominville joined the team in a trade when Botterill shipped longtime Sabres Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis off to Minnesota. And then there’s Jack Eichel, who’s entering his third season after a second that was unfortunately truncated by a high ankle sprain. (He returned after missing the first two months of the season and managed to lead the team in scoring anyway.) This guy is good—a player with sick hands and sneaky speed whose skills transcend the eye test. The Sabres biggest problem this year has been weak goaltending but they rank 12th in puck possession time in the offensive end and should own that advantage here. Again, that first win is big and now a relaxed Buffalo team that gets Kyle Okposo back is wrongly being billed as the underdog here.

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Buffalo +100 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.00)

Tampa Bay @ NEW JERSEY
NEW JERSEY -1 +271 over Tampa Bay

NHL Handicapping contest is now open for anyone to join. Details are in the HOCKEY CONTEST SECTION ABOVE 

BEST LINES: Pinnacle -1½ +271 Bet365 -1½ +240 SportsInteraction -1½ +260 5DIMES -1½ +245

Posted at 1:30 PM EST 

7:35 PM EST. The Tampa Bay Lightning are 5-1 after six games and appear to have the look of a dominant team in the East. Are we buying it? No fu**ing way. Four of Tampa’s five victories were by one goal. The other, a 5-3 win over Florida was by two goals but the Bolts added an empty netter with 14 seconds left in the game. Essentially, each of their five wins have been by one goal. Winning by one goal is nothing but pure luck.

In the world of hockey analytics, the dominant theory has been that a team's record in one-goal games is almost entirely unpredictable. This was first established by Gabriel Desjardins of Hockey Prospectus after the 2008-09 season. He ran a regression analysis on every team's data from 1979-80 through 2013-14 and found that the season-to-season correlation of a team's record in one-goal games was an almost nonexistent 0.05. It is a proven luck driven result so the Tampa Bay Lightning could just as easily be 0-6 as they are 5-1 but the market only sees a 5-1 record. The Lightning have been outshot -- in some cases by significant margins -- in all but one of their games and rank 27th in expected goals for at 5v5, 25th in expected goals against, and 30th in expected goal differential (only Buffalo ranks lower).They played in Detroit last night and once again were the second best team on the ice. The Bolts are getting some early headlines because of their great record but don’t pay for it. They have been extremely beatable every night and only the goaltending of Andrei Vasilevskiy has prevented them from being in a hole. Incidentally, backup Petr Budaj is likely starting. The Bolts have this market fooled and if you bet them here, you are paying for their misleading record.

The Devils are 4-1 but the market isn’t buying into their success just yet and until they do, we’ll continue to get behind this legitimate playoff team. For one, Cory Schneider is playing great and he’s playing with a different mindset too, knowing that his team doesn’t have to win 2-1 games anymore. The Devils can win 5-4 if need be. The Devils now catch the Lightning in a perfect spot. Only two teams have taken more 5v5 penalties than the Lightning and chances are that they’ll be even more susceptible to penalties tonight in the latter half of a back-to-back, especially if the Devils attack and really use their speed. Nico Hischier ranks 27th in the NHL in 5v5 scoring chances/60 and ahead of notables like Evgeni Malkin and Steven Stamkos. If he continues to get good looks, it's only a matter of time before he pots his first goal. The Devils were not sharp on Saturday night against the Rangers but still won. Pavel Zacha was benched on Saturday for the last two periods but again, the Devils won. He took responsibility for it too, which is another good sign of leadership for this group. The Devils have a swag about them this year and while their .800 winning percentage is unsustainable, we're getting behind them here spotting -1½ pucks because the price is so sweet and the Bolts are about to get exposed. 

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NEW JERSEY -1 +271 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 5.42)

Montreal @ SAN JOSE
Montreal +110 over SAN JOSE

NHL Handicapping contest is now open for anyone to join. Details are in the HOCKEY CONTEST SECTION ABOVE 

BEST LINES: Pinnacle +110 Bet365 +105 SportsInteraction +105 5DIMES +106

Posted at 1:30 PM EST 

10:30 PM EST. OT included. San Jose starts the year with five straight at home so this is the last game of said home stand. The Sharks are 1-3 to open the year and in very much the same boat as the Canadiens in that Montreal has just one win also but that’s the only similarities between the two teams. The Sharks have only one solid 60-minute effort in four games so they deserve to be 1-3 while the Canadiens are outplaying everyone they face without the results. The Sharks did not get younger in the off-season and they did not get better either. It’s extremely rare an NHL team goes an entire off-season without making a roster addition, either through a trade or signing a UFA. The Sharks lost Patrick Marleau, David Schlemko and Mirco Mueller with draft picks coming back but the only fresh face with impact talent is Kevin Labanc, who played 55 games last year for San Jose. In four games, San Jose has scored eight goals and three of those games were against the Islanders, Philadelphia and Buffalo, not exactly the cream of the crop on defense or in goal. The Sharks may end up being a live dog but we want no part of this team right now as the chalk because they look slower than most and appear to be a fringe playoff team at best. 

The Canadiens opened the year with a home win over Buffalo but to fans and media in that hotbed, that must seem like six weeks ago because the Habs haven’t won since. Four straight losses to the Rangers, Washington, Chicago and Toronto have the Habs sitting at 1-4 after five games, which provides us with the opportunity to buy low on them. Montreal has been dominating time of possession. They outshot the Leafs on Saturday night, 34-22 and lost 4-3 in OT. They outshot Chicago 42-25 and lost 3-1. They outshot the Rags 34-25 and lost 2-0. They outshot Washington 39-23 and lost 6-1. Overall, the Habs have held a league high percentage in time in the offensive end. They’ve also created more scoring chances than any team in the league. The Montreal Canadiens are playing great hockey without the results. The good news about that is the market and media puts a high emphasis on results and not performance. Carey Price comes into this start with a .885 save percentage so a major correction to the good is forthcoming. A correction to Montreal’s shooting percentage and power-play numbers are also forthcoming to the good. Montreal now gets away from the media hounds on the East Coast and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The Habs have the ingredients to win, thus the positive returns will follow. Let’s hope it starts here.

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Montreal +110 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.20)

RangeWLP+/- (Units)
Yesterday240.00-3.78
Last 30 Days12180.00-3.84
Season to Date12180.00-3.84
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