Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:00 PM EST.
7:30 PM EST. OT included. This is another one of many games today in which a playoff-bound road team is overpriced against a non-playoff team. Frankly, we could not care less who the Capitals were playing today because what matters most is that Washington is not close to being good enough to be priced in this range on the road. The truth about the Capitals is that they are a defensive mess and their offense is heavily reliant on a small number of players. You could break down any portion of the season and come up with the same results or damn close to it but we like to break the season up into five week sections, as it gives us a good idea of current form. Five weeks usually equals 12-16 games. Since February 15, a span of five weeks, the Caps rank 24th in Corsi Against/60, 29th in xGA/60, ahead of only Edmonton and New York (Rangers), 20th in xGF/60 and 20th in High Danger Chances Against. All of Washington’s metrics put them in the same range as all the teams that are going to miss the playoffs. The Caps 42-24-7 record is an absolute mirage, as their extreme puck luck has held up in many games this season but if one were to look up their results, one would also find plenty of disturbing losses among other disturbing facts. The Caps are one of the most penalized teams in the NHL, which is a sign of a team chasing the puck. Among their disturbing losses is an 8-2 loss to Philly, 6-2 loss to Vancouver, 6-3 and 6-2 losses to Nashville and Colorado respectively in back-to-back games, a 6-2 loss to the Kings, a 7-1 loss to Chicago and a 4-0 loss to Anaheim. Now, we understand that teams’ lose games but these aren’t just losses. They are blowout losses that legit teams do not suffer from so frequently. The Capitals are not a legit anything. They are a weak team with a good record that will get exposed in the post-season.
The Red Wings finally broke a nasty losing streak (10 games) with a 5-4 OT win over Philadelphia last game out. That often follows a win to snap a losing streak is another win, as a big weight has been lifted. While the Red Wings are not having a good year, they are still a tough out with balanced scoring and a determination to win. That said, this one is so much more about fading the Caps as a road favorite in this range than it is about backing the Red Wings.
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DETROIT +149 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.98)