Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 4:00 PM EST. Odds subject to change.
Calgary +135 over Toronto
7:07 PM EST. OT included. It’s Hall of Fame weekend in Toronto, and so that means there is much pomp and circumstance surrounding that event, but the Maple Leafs have work to do amid the distractions around them, and the job is not an easy one, as the Flames are a top-10 (seventh) puck possession team 5-on-5. The Leafs are doing their best with the players they have available to them, but it’s going to be a tough swim upstream every night with four regular defensemen on the injured reserve.
The Leafs have lost three of their last five games, and in those losses, they gave up four goals to Los Angeles, six to Buffalo, and six to Ottawa on Wednesday night. Perhaps if the Maple Leafs were at full strength, a price like this would be justified, but their backend is of AHL quality, and it cannot be trusted to spot a significant number to a fierce and undervalued invader.
The Flames are just 4-7-1, but they are so much better than their record would indicate. Calgary has struggled with its goaltending (again), but everywhere else on the ice, the Flames are firing on all cylinders. Calgary consistently outperforms its opposition, and it has outshot Dallas (47-to-30), Seattle (31-to-20), and Nashville (39-to-18) in their last three games before heading out on this Eastern trip. Forget the Predators because they stink, but the Stars and Kraken were both playoff teams last season and Calgary skated circles around both.
The Flames made a big move in advance of this weekend's set in Ontario that will see them play tonight in Toronto and tomorrow night in Ottawa, as they called up top goaltending prospect Dustin Wolf on an emergency basis, as Jakob Markstrom is dealing with some bumps and bruises and is not fully healthy. Markstrom was moved to the injured list this afternoon, and backup Daniel Vladar was named the starter for tonight’s game. Vladar has three starts this season, going 2-1, but his surface numbers are not pretty. That said, we cannot predict whether a goaltender will be hot or if he’ll be off his game. Regardless, the Flames are so good that even if Vladar plays poorly, they are still very capable of out-scoring the Maple Leafs and cashing this ticket.
Calgary +135 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.70)