Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Chicago +174 over Nashville
2:00 PM EST. OT included. The Predators are rat s**t and have been for years, and if not for Jusse Saros, they would be so far down in the standings that you would not be able to find them. That said, Saros is just one man, and he may finally be cracking, or fatigue just might be catching up with him, as the Preds are just 5-10, and they have lost four straight games. As for Saros, he’s 4-9-0 with an .892 save percentage and a 3.23 goals-against average this season. It’s ugly, but in Saros’s defense, he’s surrounded by pylons.
Much like their young phenom, Connor Bedard, the Blackhawks are an enigma. That’s not a criticism or an insult; it’s what comes with being young and talented in a complex game played by grown-ass men. When a prospect like Bedard comes into the league, the excitement is palpable, especially in a passionate Original Six market like Chicago, which, by the way, is the third-largest media market in the United States.
In the very early going, the ‘Hawks were on TV more than “Leave it to Beaver” reruns, with high-profile games against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in Pittsburgh on opening night, then Boston to play the President’s Trophy winners from last season, then Montreal, Toronto, and Colorado before playing their first home games against Vegas and Boston before heading out to Vegas for a rematch with the Stanley Cup champs to round out the first eight games of the season.
We’ll pause here just to catch our breath and mention Chicago’s disastrous 8-1 loss in Arizona on October 30, but we only do that to point out that not only had the Blackhawks been on a hell of a run up to that point, but they also got to spend a full free weekend in Vegas before playing that Monday night game in Arizona. Who could blame them if they were still a little tipsy?
As for the last four games, the ‘Hawks have picked right up with their playing of playoff performers from a year ago with games against the Devils, Lightning (twice), and Panthers. If our point wasn’t made, the Blackhawks have played the toughest schedule in the NHL thus far. This team is battle-tested, and their young players will be better for it. The Blackhawks take a big step down in competition here and that the Predators are nearly a 2-1 favorite is impossible to justify.
Chicago +174 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.48)