Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:30 PM EST.
10:05 PM EST. Regulation only. This is very simply the perfect setup for the road favorite. While we don’t like to buy high and sell low, there is nothing in stone in this business and therefore exceptions will be made from time to time and this is one of those times.
Aside from having won nine of 10, the Penguins will play the first game of a five-game West Coast trip that will continue in Los Angeles, San Jose, Arizona and finally Vegas after this one. This five-game trip will take the Penguins right to the All-Star break, at which point they’ll have nine days off between games. It’ll be all hands on deck for this trip in an attempt to finish strong going into the break. We’re also strongly suggesting that despite winning nine of 10, the Pens cannot be feeling complacent. Much of their success during this run has been because of the flawless goaltending of Matt Murray and not because the Pens are dominating. Over the past 10 games, the Penguins metrics have dipped but their save % and shooting % (PDO) has skyrocketed. In other words, these are smart and very talented players that understand they have to be better. The first game of an important trip is often the best game, as the team tries to set a tone.
By contrast, the reeling Ducks will play their final game of a six-game homestand, which must feel like two months to these Ducks because they are 0-5 thus far. What we especially like is that the Ducks will head out on a five-game trip that starts in Winnipeg on Sunday and then they’ll play in Detroit, Minnesota, New Jersey and finally Brooklyn. Getting out of California and into some hockey climates for 10 days is something the Ducks are surely looking forward to. It also gets them away from home in the midst of a nine-game losing streak. That trip for Anaheim players and coaches can’t get here soon enough and it would surprise us not if they were mentally checked out already. Losing takes its toll both physically and mentally and one would be hard pressed to find a team team in the NHL that is better than Pittsburgh at smelling a wounded prey. Penguins are thrilled to be in California and Ducks can’t wait to get out. That’s the setup here.
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Pittsburgh -½ +123 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.46)