Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 5:00 PM EST.
Carolina -½ +121 over NASHVILLE
7:08 PM EST. Regulation only. The Predators are a team that’s been about as average as any team could be in a season. However, an idea of average like this misses their absurd positive shift in both shooting and save % between the first and second half of the season. That was the only reason these dregs edged out the Stars and grabbed 4th in the Central. The Preds’ skater group in the past has been one of the best, supported by a consistently excellent top-4 D group but they have also been on a three-year decline. This season they’ve been much more unstable. Still decent, their D corps has taken a step back, while their forwards have been pure garbage. Their forward group lacks a true elite talent, and is likely the worst in the playoffs this year and perhaps the entire league. Goaltending proved to be their one saving grace and is the only reason they don’t get destroyed.
The Hurricanes are one of the best three teams in the playoffs. Possibly the best top-4 D in the league to go along with one of the more underrated forward groups in the league, including a revitalized Nino Niederreiter, young darlings Sebastian Aho and Evgeny Svechnikov, and a very consistent Vincent Trocheck. It doesn’t stop there, however, as Carolina’s third line is superior to Nashville’s top line. Not unlike how they’ve played over the last few years, their team EV numbers are still among the best (both shot attempts and xG). This season’s Hurricanes team, however, has found a gem in Alex Nedeljkovic in net. The first two games of this series was a massacre. It looked like one of the biggest playoff mismatches in the history of playoff series and now the supremely superior ‘Canes have an opportunity to go in for the kill against a wounded prey and take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series. How can that not happen? Win or lose, this is a steal of a price on Carolina to win in regulation, as this series is like a bunch of 16-year-olds playing their 11-year-old little brothers in a game of road hockey. The Nashville Predators have two games left this year and then they’ll thankfully be walking out of Bridgestone Arena for the final time in their blue suede shoes.
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Carolina -½ +121 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.42)