Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:00 AM EST
8:05 PM EST. OT included. PPG Paints Arena will be loud and appreciative for this opener, as the Champs will raise another banner for their Stanley Cup victory for the second year in a row. The first game of the year is always a motivating one but don’t be surprised if the Penguins aren’t as motivated as the visitors. The Penguins have nothing to prove and they might not kick into gear until January. Aside from that, the Penguins lost a handful of significant pieces from their Stanley Cup roster, including Marc-Andre Fleury, Chris Kunitz, Trevor Daley, Ron Hainsey and Matt Cullen but the Nick Bonino departure may have the greatest impact. He was an effective two-way pivot, a gritty clutch scorer in the playoffs and capable of flourishing in a scoring role, too, as he did the season prior with Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin on the ‘HBK’ line. The Penguins, crunched against the cap as always, made no major summer additions, leaving the No. 3 center spot unfilled. While Fleury, Kunitz and Cullen are all at the tail-end end of their careers, that Pens’ dressing room will not be the same with that trio gone.
The Blues are the Blues are the Blues. St. Louis will probably hover around the 40-50 win mark and will, in all likelihood, chisel out a playoff berth in a deep and competitive division like they have been doing for years now. However, a sudden deluge of pre-season injuries to critical players has forced St. Louis to stuff its roster with unproven prospects. Fabbri, Berglund, Bouwmeester, Sanford, and Steen are all going to spend some time in the press box but to that we say, “so what”. The media and market is making too much out of those injuries. To us, Fabbri is the only one that really hurts but this price makes it seems like the Blues are screwed. They’re not. The acquisition of Brayden Schenn was brilliant. Jake Allen caught fire towards the end of the regular season last year and stole a playoff series against the Wild. St. Louis had a terrific penalty kill last season, and the re-addition of Vladimir Sobotka should solidify it even further. Colton Parayko’s (Colt-55) is arguably one of the best, if not the best young, puck-moving defenseman in the NHL. Parayko's got size, speed, and a wicked clapper from the blueline. The Blues have a superstar in Vladimir Tarasenko, a potential breakout talent in Vladimir Sobotka, and a roster full of solid vets that include Paul Stastny and Jaden Schwartz among others. St. Louis rarely sees takebacks like the one we’re being offered here and it’s all becausre the market is putting way too much emphasis on injuries. We’ll look to take advantage of that.
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St. Louis +170 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.40)