NHL Betting Picks for November 3, 2010
Wednesday night offers a big slate of hockey action and Oddsbay's NHL betting experts have three plays on tonight's card. Make Oddsbay your home for the best sports handicapping insight available anywhere!
BOSTON BRUINS AT BUFFALO SABRES--NOVEMBER 3, 2010 4:00 PM PACIFIC
The Buffalo Sabres are something of a mess this year and they've got bigger problems tonight as they'll play this game without starting goaltender Ryan Miller. Veteran Patrick Lalime will get the start here--he's allowed 8 goals in two games. The Bruins have been playing stout defense all year, but Buffalo hasn't which is a remarkable change in form from recent years when they've been one of the best defensive teams in hockey. They're currently #23 in scoring defense allowing 3.17 goals per game. Boston, meanwhile, is the best in the NHL in that category limiting opponents to a stingy 1.38 goals per contest. Not surprisingly, the Bruins have played a lot of UNDER games this year--in fact they've only gone OVER once this season and that was their first game of the year against Phoenix in Stockholm, Sweden.
So we'll play this game UNDER, right? Not so fast--it never hurts to be a contrarian in sports betting and we're thinking that the Bruins defense will produce a lot of scoring opportunities against a porous Sabres team. Buffalo has allowed 14 goals in their last three games with Miller in the net, and although he's not been in great form this year he's a better goalie than Lalime. Public is backing the UN in this game and we never mind it when we're going against the 'squares'. Four of the last five games between these teams have seen 5 or more goals scored--and that was last year when the Sabres were much better and the Bruins' offense was the worst in the NHL. We don't think that Buffalo is capable of playing well enough in their own end to beat Boston who hasn't lost on the road this year. We're working with a low total so we'll look for Boston to continue their winning ways and for this game to go OVER the total.
PLAY BOSTON BRUINS -130 OVER BUFFALO SABRES
PLAY BOSTON/BUFFALO OVER 5 -125
ATLANTA THRASHERS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS--NOVEMBER 3, 2010 4:30 PM PACIFIC
It's still early in the NHL season and there's a number of teams who aren't as good as their record would suggest. Florida is just the opposite--they're 4-5 on the season but we've been impressed with their overall work ethic and scrappy play. They've played six of their first nine games on the road and against a very tough class of opposition. The Thrashers, in our opinion, are a perfect example of a team that isn't as good as their record. They don't play good defense and while they score a decent amount of goals they'll find the going much tougher against a solid Panthers defense. Aside from their opening night victory over Washington their wins have come against fairly weak teams. They can get away with simply 'outscoring' opponents like Buffalo and Anaheim, but that's not going to work when they step up in class. The Thrashers have the #4 scoring offense in the NHL but are tied for dead last in scoring defense with Colorado allowing 3.55 goals per game. Florida is tied for #8 in that category--a ranking made all the more impressive by the number of good teams they've played on the road. They've won 4 of the last 6 meetings against Atlanta at home and we're confident that they'll outwork the Thrashers here. We're getting a decent price based on the teams' records but the Panthers are just the more solid hockey team with a tandem of solid goaltenders in Tomas Vokun and Scott Clemmensen. Ondrej Pavelec is the Thrashers' best goaltender but the team is working him back into the mix slowly following his scary on-ice collapse opening night. He's got a 3.50 goals against average and the rationale in using him here is that he'll be good enough to stop a Florida team that's had trouble scoring goals. That could be a 'two way street', however, and his substandard form could give Florida the opportunity to generate some offense.
PLAY FLORIDA PANTHERS -135 OVER ATLANTA THRASHERS