Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Columbus +195 over Florida
7:07 PM EST. OT included. The Panthers are 5-4-1, but when you are coming off a Stanley Cup Finals run, you are going to have a high profile in the market. With a high profile comes a premium that one must pay to back such a team, but we'd be remiss if we didn't point out that the Cats are not the same team they were a season ago. Scoring is down in Florida, as the Panthers rank 25th in Goals Per Game (GPG) at 2.60, which is down big time from last year when they potted 3.51 GPG. The Panthers are coming off a 5-2 loss to Chicago, on a night when goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky took the night off, but "Bob" is back tonight, which serves us well because we've been fading that stiff for years. There is a perception in the market that the Panthers are better tonight with "Bob" than without but even if that is true, it only means that the backup is a bigger stiff.
Throughout a long season, there will be nights when the best of the best have an off night or play a stinker. Just look at the Bruins, who are 9-1-1, and sport the best record in the Eastern Conference. The B's are racking up the wins, but if you look under the hood at their analytics, you will see that there have been "off" nights where they picked up the win despite not being the better team on the ice. Hell, even Vegas, who posts the league's best record has had a few "stinkers," but still got the wins. Wins hide blemishes, while the losses show all the warts and more.
Enter the Blue Jackets, who are 4-5-2, but rarely lack the effort needed to win a hockey game. The Blue Jackets have been a tough out all season, and rarely do they get outworked. Ironically, the Jackets' "worst" effort of the season was actually a 5-3 win over the Rangers way back in the second game of the season, but since then, Columbus has brought their lunch buckets to work, dominating the play against the likes of Calgary, Minnesota, Anaheim, and Washington, but only going 2-2 in those games. When the Jackets aren't dictating the pace of play, they are consistently going stride for stride with everyone they match up with. When a team is taking back inflated prices as the Blue Jackets are and putting in the effort needed to win, that team is going to be on our radar. Better days are coming in C-Bus, but most importantly, the prices don't reflect how competitive they are. They're priced like they're San Jose and it's absurd.
Columbus +195 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.90)