Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:30 AM EST.
7:05 PM EST. OT included. The Blue Jackets are coming off back-to-back losses to the Capitals in a home and home series that John Tortorella called beforehand “the two biggest games of the year”. Columbus has now dropped five in a row but trust us when we inform you that the Jackets deserved much better against Washington, as they were clearly the better team in both games. However, a loss is a loss and it’s frustrating as hell to lose when you outplay the opposition. At some point, one’s will and confidence or lack thereof sets in. The Jackets are simply unable to put the puck in the net and that means that every player is gripping his stick a little bit tighter. The last time the Jackets score more than three goals in a game was 16 games ago against Ottawa. Since then, the Jackets have scored two or less in regulation 13 times in 16 games. Sergei Bobrovsky has been very beatable lately and we’re not even sure if he’ll get the call here after giving up four goals on 17 shots last night.
Over its last 22 games, the Jackets have successive wins just one time. The Jackets are minus-13 in goal differential for the season but perhaps the most remarkable thing about their struggles is that its last two-goal lead in a game came in late December. Do you know how bad a team has to be playing to not have a two-goal lead or more at any time for well over a month? That means they’ve been in jeopardy of losing every game since then and the metrics back that up. Since December 23, a span of six weeks, the Jackets rank 24th in 5v5 Score and Venue Adjusted Corsi For % and they rank 24th in Corsi Against/60 over that same span. That puts them in the same range as the Panthers, Canucks, Red Wings, Oilers and Sabres. Over that same span the Jackets rank 25th in Scoring Chances For, 29th in Goals For/60 and 25th in xGF/60.
The Devils have dropped two in a row and six of nine. Combine that with Cory Schneider still being on the rack and New Jersey’s stock is low. However, the Devils are still playing at a very high level without the results. They have outshot nine of their past 12 opponents and out-Corsied their opponents during 5v5 play in eight of their past 12 opponents. New Jersey also dominated many of those games by winning the shots on net and Corsi For % by wide margins. The Devils have extra incentives here too. During the first two years under Coach John Hynes, the Devils ran dads trips and the Devils were 2-0-0 in those games. For the first time ever the team will run a moms trip and that starts right here. We don’t have to go into how motivating that will be. Furthermore, the Devils are 3-2-0 with Kinkaid in net following the All-Star break and the team on its own is playing really well with the analytics to back it. Aside from being the superior team, there is enough working in the Devils favor to get behind them here at a price against this stale and mentally fragile host.
Open an account today at Pinnacle Sports and take advantage of their -104 style pricing on sides and totals, which is 60% better than other sportsbooks.
New Jersey +109 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.18)