NHL Opening Night – Free Picks
The 2017-2018 NHL season begins tonight. The first four games of the season start and the excitement of the hockey season is just beginning. I will offer some of my favorite bets from this evening’s games using odds from Bovada Sportsbook (Full Review).
Calgary Flames +135 at Edmonton Oilers -155
At Bovada, the Oilers are a -155 favorite. I believe this is a great pick. Last season these two teams met up a total of four times during the regular season, with all four games going to the Edmonton Oilers. In this four-game series, the Oilers won three of the four matchups by two or more goals.
Both teams made the playoffs last year, with Calgary losing in four games to the Anaheim Ducks in the first round, and Edmonton losing to Anaheim in seven games in the second round. Both teams set out in the offseason to add some depth and fix some holes in the lineup.
Calgary’s biggest addition to the lineup during Wednesday’s game will be goaltender Mike Smith. The Flames picked him up in a trade with Arizona in the offseason. They also added Travis Hamonic in a trade with the New York Islanders. These additions will help with last year’s 14th place finish in goals-against average (only three playoff teams were worse). Calgary also finished this preseason with a 2-5 record, going 0-3 on the road.
Edmonton will start the season with the biggest addition to the lineup being Ryan Strome and Kailer Yamamoto. The Oilers picked up Ryan Strome from the Islanders in exchange for Jordan Eberle. Yamamoto was drafted with the 22nd overall selection in this past year’s draft. Yamamoto impressed with seven points (five goals and two assists) in the preseason and earned a spot on the opening day roster. Edmonton jumped out to an impressive 6-2 record during this year’s preseason.
While both teams both gained helpful assets in the offseason, they stayed relatively equal to each other as last season. If this has any indication, we could see another multi-goal win from the Oilers on opening night.
Pick: Oilers -155 at Bovada
Philadelphia Flyers +130 at San Jose Sharks -150
At Bovada they have Philly as a +130 underdog, which I believe to be a steal. Last season the Flyers missed the playoffs and ended up with the second overall draft pick. San Jose lost in the first round in six games to the Edmonton Oilers.
The Flyers are inserting second overall draft pick Nolan Patrick into the lineup and many believe he could compete right away at a very high level. Many believed Patrick would go first overall to the New Jersey Devils, but when he fell to second the Flyers made no mistake by picking him up right away. The Flyers will also be led by new goaltender Brian Elliott. Philadelphia added Elliott in free agency to help the loss of Steve Mason. Elliott had a down season with the Flames last season but could thrive once again with a strong young defensive core in front of him.
San Jose had a quiet offseason that had them signing Joe Thornton to a one-year deal and letting long-time Shark, Patrick Marleau, go to free agency. This team is still similar to the one who went on to the Stanley Cup two years ago, but many players did not perform at the same level last season. It is important to note that the Sharks have won their last six home openers.
Last season these two teams split the season series at one apiece. Each team winning on its home ice. With the new additions on the Flyers, they have a legitimate chance to upset San Jose on the road. The Flyers could prove early that they are a competitive hockey team once again.
Pick: Flyers +130 at Bovada