Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Calgary -104 over Seattle
10:07 PM EST. OT included. The Flames are on a six-game losing streak, which has dominated the headlines in Calgary, as this time of the year, the "Flaming C" is the brightest light in the Stampede City. There is no sugarcoating a run of losing like that, but aside from the Heritage Classic played outdoors in frigid temperatures last Sunday, the Flames have been playing some damn good hockey without getting anything close to a positive result for their efforts.
The perceived problem the Flames are experiencing is a lack of quality in their net, as Jacob Markstrom has struggled mightily the last two seasons, where he has posted a sub .900 Save%. This season, Markstrom is allowing a bloated 3.03 goals per game as well, which is his highest Goals Against Average (GAA) since 2014-15. It's easy to point the finger and put all the heat on Markstrom, but we'd like to talk a little bit about how the Flames overhauled their entire defensive system in the offseason. Calgary switched to a zone defense, a system that Markstrom has had to adjust to, saying, "It makes all the difference in the world. If you're changing something, it changes how the game is coming to me. I'm the last resort back there, and how the guys move in front of me, that changes things, for sure."
When it comes to the analytics, take away that circus show that is the Heritage Classic, and what you have left is a Flames team that is dictating the pace of play, but is not getting rewarded for their effort. Calgary has controlled the puck in all but three of their games this season. They also outshot Dallas badly on Wednesday night (47-to-30), which might be the game that sparks this team to turn this around. The mood in the room was positive despite the loss, and the Flames were upbeat about their play in that game.
The Kraken were off to a slow start to the season, but they have now won two straight games over the Lightning and the Predators. We faded Seattle in their game against Nashville as the Kraken was coming home from a four-game Eastern road trip, and unfortunately, we ripped up that ticket despite a spirited effort by the Preds. The Kraken were not flat in that game, but now they have been at home for nearly a week, and they've been sitting idle since Tuesday night. Furthermore, the Kraken have two more days off after tonight before they have to head back out on the road next Tuesday. If the Kraken are flat here with so much free time, the Flames are going to be in a position to torch them, and even if Seattle brings its "A" game, man-for-man, the Flames are the superior side, and they are playing better hockey at the moment. Calgary’s stock is low, but positive returns are coming, and we're buying in on the ground floor.
Calgary -104 (Risking 2.08 units - To Win: 2.00)