Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:00 PM EST.
4:05 PM EST. OT included. We generally don’t play totals but we see a pretty good opportunity if our math is correct. Of course, nobody can predict whether or not a goaltender is on fire but what we know for sure is that the league’s average shooting percentage is right around 10%. That suggests that one out of every 10 shots on goal will find the back of the net if all things were equal. Therefore 60 shots on net would result in six goals. Of course, it would be unreasonable to trust one out of every 10 shots will go in but it’s a baseline from which to start.
Now we take the two teams involved and note that Chicago’s goaltending has been absolutely awful since Cory Crawford went down weeks ago and that has put the Blackhawks in a mindset that they’re going to have to score some goals to win because they’re not likely to win 3-2 games anymore. The Blackhawks buried five on the Kings yesterday. San Jose buried seven on them on Thursday. When the Blackhawks beat San Jose, 3-1 on Feb 23, there were 79 shots on net combined. The Blackhawks are constantly firing away 35 to 40 shots on net or more recently and rank second in the league behind the Maple Leafs in Scoring Chances For this season. The Ducks rank 5th worst in the league in xGA/60.
The Ducks are very similar to the Blackhawks in that they create a lot of chances and allow a lot of chances. If we look at the Ducks last few games, we see they combined with the Jackets last game for 71 shots on net in a 4-2 win. The game before that, the Ducks and Oilers combined for 88 shots on net. The last time these two played each other was very recently in Chicago on Feb 15 in a game that the Ducks won, 3-2. There were 76 shots on net and 36 good scoring chances in that game, which is not unusual for either one of the these teams no matter who they are playing. For this game to stay under, both goaltenders will need to be hot and Chicago has a hot goalie once every 15 games these days. There are lots of games with totals of six these days because scoring is up in the NHL. When you think of Anaheim/Chicago in the past, you think a low scoring, physical game because that is what they played to for years. They are not like that anymore and we get a beatable number here without having to pay heavy vigor.
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CHICAGO/Anaheim over 5½ +102 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.04)