Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 3:00 PM EST.
7:05 PM EST. OT included. The Devils went through a bit of a rough patch recently but they have their swag back and are being sold very short here because of the market perception on both these teams. These two are close in points so far with the Wild having accumulated 71 points in 59 games while the Devils have racked up 70 points in 60 games. When the Devils played in Minnesota last month, the Wild closed as a -180 favorite, which is not an indication that the market trusts these two are even. Teams like Boston are a -180 over teams like Detroit or Buffalo, which is justified but the market’s perception of these is not. New Jersey is the superior team, especially when Minnesota has to travel but the price does not reflect that.
After losing four straight, the Devils have picked up eight out of a possible 10 points over their last five games with four wins and a loss. That loss occurred in their last game to Columbus but it was undeserving. The Devils took it to the Jackets, which not many teams have been able to do lately. New Jersey just keeps getting better. Taylor Hall has turned into a superstar. He’s that good. New Jersey's leading rookie scorer Nico Hischier is heating up and was named the NHL's First Star of the Week for the week ending Feb. 18. He has four goals and three assists in his last five games. Devils' blueliner and 2017 Hobey Baker Award winner, Will Butcher, leads or is among the league leaders in multiple rookie and league-wide offensive categories. Over the past five weeks during 5v5 play the Devils rank 5th in the NHL in xGF/60 while the Wild rank 17th, the Devils rank 11th in Corsi For % while the Wild rank 26th and the Devils rank 5th in Corsi Against Per 60 while the Wild rank 23rd. Those are some key metrics but there are plenty others in which the Devils hold a significant edge. Finally, Minnesota’s metrics are even worse on the road. In fact, they drop to 27th or worse in several key metrics when they hit the road, which makes the Wild one of the NHL’s worst performing teams on the road.
We should note that Eddie Lack is in goal for New Jersey, which deflates the Devils value in the market for sure and we understand that. However, Lack was sensational in his last start against Tampa Bay. Lack set new career-highs in both saves (48) and shots-against (51) during his first-ever win for NJ, in his second start. That’s one game but perhaps a change in scenery was needed, as Lack was very good in Vancouver before his awful years in Carolina. At the end of the day, Minnesota CANNOT be favored in New Jersey.Detroit on the Red Wings best day and again, the Red Wings are not close to being good enough to be priced in this range.
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NEW JERSEY +100 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.00)