Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:30 AM EST.
N.Y. Rangers -½ +170 over WASHINGTON
7:38 PM EST. Regulation only. Welcome friends to another NHL season. This season we’re sticking to our regulation wagers, thus providing us with tremendous value on teams to win in regulation as opposed to including OT. The price is usually around 70 cents higher (+180 instead of +110 for example) and over time, it’ll pay off more because only 20% of NHL games end up being tied in regulation.
It’s safe to say that every year the Capitals have been projected to regress because they are older and slower than most and every year they exceed expectations. Last year for example, the Caps went 36-15-5 (how can that be) before being wiped out in the first round of the playoffs again. In fact, they haven’t won a playoff series since they won the Cup (how can that be) in the 2017-18 season. Eventually, Washington’s regular season luck will run out too. Point is, they’re as beatable as they looked in last year’s playoffs and the year before that and the year before that.
As for the Caps off-season, well frankly, they didn’t have one:
Free Agent Additions: Matt Irwin
Free Agent Subtractions: Brenden Dillon (trade to Winnipeg), Zdeno Chara, Michael Raffl
Washington’s point leader from last year, Nicklas Backstrom is on the rack. OV may or may not play, as he’s nursing an injury and we can’t think of one reason why the Caps would run him out there if he wasn’t 100%. The Caps lack depth, their goaltending is questionable and we have to trust that they’re going to be a great fade when they’re favored or until further notice.
In all NHL season previews, we’re reading or hearing that the Rangers are ready to make a big leap. While we’re on the fence about all those lofty expectations, we take a wait and see approach. What we know for sure is that the Rags had a busy offseason:
Free Agent Additions: Barclay Goodrow (trade from Lightning), Ryan Reaves (trade from Golden Knights), Patrik Nemeth, Dryden Hunt, Sammy Blais (trade from Blues), Jarred Tinordi.
Free Agent Subtractions: Pavel Buchnevich (trade to Blues), Tony DeAngelo (buyout), Colin Blackwell (Kraken expansion draft), Phillip Di Giuseppe (Canucks), Brendan Smith (Hurricanes), Brett Howden (trade to Golden Knights).
We don’t see how those moves make the Rangers better but if grit and muscle makes you better, then the Rangers got better. If the Rangers were looking for someone to hit Tom Wilson over the head with a hockey stick, yeah, they succeeded but regardless, the Rangers have offensive talent in spades so perhaps parting with Buchnevich will turn out well, as both Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere are both breakout candidates.
Give a big edge to the Rangers in goal, also give them an edge with a defense that can move the puck out much better than the Caps. Offensively or up front, it’s not even close. As long as the Rangers don’t lose their heads and take dumb penalties in an attempt to fuck Tom Wilson up, they have a better chance of winning than the Caps do.
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N.Y. Rangers -½ +170 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.40)