Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:35 PM EST.
7:35 PM EST. OT included. We’re getting a tremendous takeback on the Coyotes here for several reasons. One, they’re the Coyotes. Two, they played last night so this will be their fourth game in six days, third game in four days and tail end of back to backs. Three, Montreal is rested, having been off since Saturday. Four, the Coyotes lost Oliver Ekman-Larsson to a lower body injury and so he’ll be out. As a result of all the above, Montreal looks pretty good on paper but we’re not so sure. Being off since Saturday is not beneficiary and this layoff is somewhat unique becomes waiting in the wings is a 10-day break. Furthermore, Montreal has been a serious Jekyll and Hyde team this year, which is notable because they’re coming off a weak effort against Philadelphia on Saturday night. To be fair, the Habs came out strong in the first but looked like a different team (Jekyll and Hyde again) in the final two periods. Through October, November and December, Montreal’s longest winning streak was three games. They recently snapped a four-game winning streak, which turns out to be their longest thus far. The Habs also have a four and a five game losing streak mixed in but mostly they have alternated between wins and losses. The Montreal Canadiens are just as likely to lose on any given day as they are to win, which makes them very appealing as a dog but very risky as a favorite. That said, this wager is more about getting behind the Coyotes.
Don’t look now but Arizona is two points out of a Wild Card spot after winning in Toronto on Sunday and Ottawa last night. Yesterday’s game in Ottawa looked like a trouble spot for the ’Yotes as it was sandwiched between Toronto and Montreal but they came out with just as much fire and that’s significant. The “fatigued” team angle will be faded here by many in this market but we’re not buying it because winning provides more than enough energy and Arizona has been saving up that energy for years. It’s been a long wait for this franchise to be in a position to make the playoffs so one can only imagine the euphoria, confidence and good vibe that suddenly surrounds this team after picking up 13 out of a possible 16 points over their past eight games. Leading the way is rookie Conor Garland and if you have not seen this kid play yet, you should make plans to.
In less than six weeks since making his NHL debut, the Coyotes’ 22-year-old rookie has already begun capturing the hearts of hockey fans with his hard-nosed style of play and penchant for scoring unorthodox goals. A fiery competitor, he’s the type of player who doesn’t need a stick to score goals. The type of player who seems to bleed as much as he sweats. The type of player whose work ethic can and does have a positive impact on his teammates. The Coyotes have been energized by this kid and now with one more game left before the break, the Coyotes can actually pull into a tie for that final Wild Card spot heading into the break. Tired? We think not, as the ‘Yotes for the first time in a very, very long time cannot wait for that puck to drop in Montreal’s cathedral hockey palace. Nice overlay here.
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Arizona +197 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.94)