Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:15 PM EST.
7:05 PM EST. OT included. By now you've read the feel-good story of accountant Scott Foster moonlighting as the Blackhawks emergency goaltender last night in Chicago. Foster was signed after Anton Forsberg was injured in the morning practice and he was forced into action when that games' starter, Collin Delia had to leave with 14 minutes remaining in the third period after an apparent injury. The number-cruncher made 7-of-7 stops in helping the 'Hawks secure a 6-2 win. Chicago's woes in goal this season aren't the only reason for its mighty fall, but it's a big one, as the analytics love what the 'Hawks have been up to otherwise. This season, the Blackhawks have been a top side in Corsi For% (4th) and Scoring Chances For % (4th), but they can't seem to get a bounce, as the 23rd ranked team in PDO at 0.991. The Blackhawks stock hasn't been this low in the decade since Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane resurrected this team from the dark days of the late 1990s and early 2000’s. This is a quality team without wins but with opportunity.
The Avalanche are in "must-win" mode which makes them an easy play for the pick sellers and pundits. Here is a sample from one such individual in case you're wondering what you would be paying for:
"The Chicago Blackhawks remain one of the more unbackable teams in the league, as they haven't won two straight in over a month...The fact we're getting less than a -200 line in this game, I have to side with the Colorado Avalanche."
If you're comfortable spotting a price like this with an Avs team that ranks 26th in Corsi For % on the season, more power to you. However, non-playoff teams such as Vancouver, Arizona and Detroit all rank ahead of Colorado in so many key metrics. The Avs took a trip to the Windy City just 10 days ago and walked away with what looked like a dominant 5-1 win on the scoresheet but a closer look shows that they were outplayed badly by the Blackhawks after getting outshot and out-chanced. The difference was between the pipes, as is usually the case. If the 'Hawks had a 'tender, they'd be in the thick of things just like the Avalanche. Chicago hasn't taken back a price like this in Denver since the days of Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg. Misery loves company and with the Avalanche desperately trying to make the playoffs, the role of spoiler can be a great motivator. At this price, we'll take back the superior side in Chicago, as we have a big analytics edge, which often produces some sweet upsets. Frankly, the Avs priced in this range over Chicago is preposterous.
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Open an account today at Pinnacle Sports and take advantage of their -104 style pricing on sides and totals, which is 60% better than other sportsbooks.
Chicago +180 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.60)