Toronto hosts the Caps while the Sharks head to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins in two of the top matchups we need to focus on in NHL Thursday Free Picks.
Check out analysis and picks on those two as well as analysis and picks for 3 under-the-radar matches worth checking out.
[Thursday, Feb. 21]
Washington Capitals +145 at Toronto Maple Leafs -165
Defending champion Washington heads to Toronto to battle the Maple Leafs with a lot still to be decided. Washington’s 3 points behind the New York Islanders in the Metropolitan Standings. Their odds to win the Stanley Cup have gone to +1800, putting them behind second choice Toronto at +800. The oddsmakers underestimated the Caps heading in to the post season last year, so this matchup is as much of a statement game for Ovechkin and company, as it is for their long-term value.
Toronto heads into this match off a couple of losses. The last was tough, 2-3 in a shootout to the St. Louis Blues. But, the Leafs dominated the Caps 6-3 in the last match. The trends most definitely favor Toronto: they’re 5-1 SU in their last 6 versus a team with a winning record, and 4-0 SU in their last 4 at home after a road trip of 7 days or more.
NHL Thursday Free Picks: Maple Leafs -165
San Jose Sharks -105 at Pittsburgh Penguins -115
The odds changed in the BetAmerica sportsbook overnight with San Jose dropping from +100 to -105. Makes sense since the Sharks dominated the Pens 5-2 in the last matchup. Not only that, but the hottest trends favor San Jose: 5-0 SU in their last 5 road games, 5-1 SU in their last 6 as a road underdog, and 5-1 SU in their last 6 versus the Metropolitan. Not only do the signs point to San Jose taking this, they also offer a strong value as a road play. This is a hot, streaking team right now so get on board until the wheels fall off the bus.
NHL Thursday Free Picks: Sharks -105
Carolina Hurricanes -115 at Florida Panthers -105
(7:00 pm ET)
Like San Jose, Carolina offers excellent odds to beat a team they had no trouble dropping in the last head-to-head matchup. The Hurricanes beat Florida 4-1 in the last meeting. Florida’s not a pushover though. The Panthers are a terrific 7-2 SU in their last 9 as a home dog. They’re also 5-1 SU in their last 6 after a day of rest. Finally, Florida’s gone 8-of-11 on the moneyline in their last 11 versus a team with a winning record. Oh, it helps that they’re 3-0 SU in their last 3. The home team all the way.
NHL Thursday Free Picks: Panthers -105
Ottawa Senators +110 at New Jersey Devils -130
(7:00 pm ET)
Senators odds dropped a full +10 since they were set at +120 yesterday. That’s a sign most NHL handicappers are all over Ottawa. On the flip side, it’s a sign that if you like the Devils straight up, they’re close to an overlay.
Neither squad, as we might expect, has an edge in the overall trends. In the head-to-head, though, this one looks like New Jersey’s to lose. The home team is 4-0 SU in the last 4 meetings while Ottawa is 6-13 SU in the last 19 meetings in New Jersey. Waiting to see if we can squeeze even more value out of NJ before the first puck drops, might be the way to go.
NHL Thursday Free Picks: Devils -130
Philadelphia Flyers +115 at Montreal Canadiens -135
(7:30 pm ET)
Montreal hosts the Flyers having gone 1-3 SU in their last 4. The Canadiens dominated Philadelphia 5-2 in the last matchup. That will give Montreal backers some hope. However, Philadelphia is 5-0 SU in their last 5 road games, 6-1 SU in their last 7 versus a team with a winning record, and 5-0 SU in the last 5 meetings. They’re worth a shot at the decent above even money odds.
NHL Thursday Free Picks: Flyers +115