Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 4:10 PM EST.
7:05 PM EST. OT included. The Caps are coming off a 3-2 victory over the Canucks in a game that was very evenly played. The time of possession, chances and shots on net were all close so this is one of those rare games where the score reflected how close the game was. However, that was also a rare game in which the Caps didn’t get outplayed by a significant margin. We faded the Caps on Tuesday with a takeback of +193 on Vancouver and the analytics boxscore confirms there was great value on the Canucks but just because the value is great doesn’t mean the bet will cash. What we know for sure is that there is great value fading the Caps when they’re favored because they continue to be one the league’s most beatable teams, thus, we’ll stick with it.
Since January 1, a span of six weeks, the Caps rank 24th in Corsi For % during five-on-five play. Over that same span, the Caps rank 29th in High Danger Scoring Chances Against (HDCA) and 31st or dead last in Scoring Chances Against (SCA). The real key to beating the Caps is staying out of the box because five-on-five, they’re a bottom-3 team. Playing the 26th ranked strength of schedule in the NHL, the Caps are 10-18 against the top-16 teams in the NHL and if not for luck, they would likely be closer to 5-23.
Meanwhile, the unlucky Avs just completed a four-game homestand in which they lost the final three games while allowing four goals or more in each. Colorado is 2-7 over its last nine games but what that doesn’t tell you is that they have been one of the NHL’s most dominating teams over the past five weeks or even the past seven weeks. It may surprise you to learn that Colorado ranks 2nd best in Corsi For % during five-on-five play during that span. The Avs have absolutely dominated play in six of its last seven games but they have not been able to overcome the shaky goaltending of Semyon Varlamov. Colorado was hot to start the year but there is no question that it is playing better right now than it has been in over five years and a correction to the good is coming. In the first game of a brief three-game trip, the Avs will be the better team on the ice and we’ll hope that they get adequate goaltending to support the effort.
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Colorado +135 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.70)