Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:00 PM EST.
7:00 PM EST. OT included. We once again point out how results and not performances influence both the line and market and this is another perfect example of that. Buffalo went into the break on a three-game winning streak on the West Coast against Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver while outscoring that trio 11-1. As a result, Robin Lehner was awarded one of the three stars of the week but chances are that after all that adulation, Lehner will go back to being the liability that he usually is. Buffalo got some hot goaltending but let’s not forget they lost 7-1 to Dallas before that lucky spurt and had lost nine of 11 prior as well. Reports are that Phil Housley is over his head. Furthermore, Buffalo will be back home, where there is more pressure than on the road on the West Coast, where nobody gives a shit what they do. The Sabres are a metrics mess and they’ll now play a team that they are vastly inferior to on their best day.
New Jersey has lost four in a row for the first time this year. They have scored three times over their past four games, which also looks ugly on paper and also influences the market. Pay no attention to results because they mean nothing. Fact is, the Devils are playing better now than they’ve been all season long without the results. Over their past 15 games, the Devils are a top-five possession team and a top-5 Corsi Against team during 5-on-5 play. Prior to the break, they dominated Boston while outshooting them 39-24 but lost 3-2. They did the same to the Stars as well. The Devils have been outshot once over their past 12 games and have several dominating performances over that time. The Devils have also thrived in 5v5 Score and Venus Adjusted Corsi for % by winning that battle in 10 of its last 13 games. The market trusts that the Devils are regressing but they’re not, as bad luck has hit them hard. They’ll now get Taylor Hall back and will very likely come out firing on all cylinders in an attempt to get back on track. The Devils are playing at an elite level and we see no reason not to back them here at this very short price. Incidentally, Keith Kinkaid is 2-0-0 with a 1.00 and a .964 save-percentage in his career against the Sabres.
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New Jersey -105 (Risking 2.1 units - To Win: 2.00)