Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Calgary -½ +115 over Montreal
7:07 PM EST. Regulation only. The Canadiens have gone 2-2 in their last four games, with their wins coming in overtime against both Boston and Detroit, with their losses occuring to Tampa Bay and Vancouver, the latter of which was on Sunday. We’re not going to rip on the Habs because expectations were low this season, but we must point out that this is still one of the most popular hockey teams on the planet, and their fan base is the most passionate in the league—all due respect to those in Toronto, Boston, or other supposed “hockey” cities. When a team is more popular than they are talented, there are going to be opportunities throughout the year to strike. This game fits that bill, as on the surface, it’s going to look very appealing to back the Canadiens as an underdog on their home ice against a struggling visitor, but we are here to warn you that if the Flames results matched their talent and efforts, the price to get behind them here would be much steeper.
The Flames continue to be the “best” “bad” team we have seen in quite some time, as they continue to lose despite being a top-10 puck possession side. For a little more perspective on just how unfortunate the Flames have been to not win more games, we are going to look at the PDO, or “puck luck,” which is an underlying metric that combines a team’s Shooting% and Save% to determine if that team is “getting the bounces.” Well, Calgary has the third-worst “puck luck” in the league, with only New Jersey and San Jose behind them. The Sharks are so putrid they shouldn’t count, but we digress. Just ahead of Calgary is Edmonton, who just fired its coach (as is tradition). We don’t think Ryan Huska is going to get the hook just yet, but it goes to show you that this is 100% a results-based business. The coaches don’t make the rosters, and neither the Oilers nor the Flames did anything about their issues in net. That’s on the GM, not the coach.
The Flames are tied to the bloated contract of Jacob Markstrom, but the big man is on the sidelines at the moment with an upper-body injury, so there is an opportunity for either backup Daniel Vlader or top prospect Dustin Wolf to take the reins. Unfortunately for our bankrolls, neither was capable of that feat in losses at both Toronto on Friday night and Ottawa on Saturday, as we ripped up tickets with wagers on the Flames on back-to-back nights. It would be easy to give up here and abandon ship, but we are not going to do that. Instead, we are going to come right back on the Flames once again because they are grossly underpriced in this spot.
Calgary -½ +115 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.30)