October 5 Hockey Bets and Picks
October 5 has a total of eight NHL games on tap. For this article I will be using BetOnline for the online sportsbook.
Nashville Predators (+118) at Boston Bruins (-130)
The defending Western Conference Champions step onto the ice for the first time Thursday against the Boston Bruins. I believe the Nashville Predators are a great pick as an underdog at +118.
Nashville will be on the ice without star defenseman Ryan Ellis as he is still healing up from an offseason knee surgery. After losing both James Neal and former Captain Mike Fisher in the offseason, the Predators will hope to have offseason acquisitions Scott Hartnell and Nick Bonino step up.
Nashville gets Kevin Fiala and Ryan Johansen back from injury after they went down during the playoffs last year. They will likely jump into the top two lines of the forwards and will have a good chance to contribute right away.
Since the 2010-2011 NHL season Boston has a record of 12-19-1 at home in the month of October. This is surprisingly disappointing for a team that in that span has made the playoffs five times, missing out only twice.
Patrice Bergeron and David Backes missed practice Wednesday and both could miss Thursday’s game. Defenseman Torey Krug will miss the game with a fractured jaw. These injuries will require rookies Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, and Charlie McAvoy to step up.
The Bruins are coming into this season after a first round exit to the Ottawa Senators in six games. The Bruins entered the playoffs as the third seed in the Atlantic division. Last season the teams split the series at one apiece and it will be interesting to see how the opening night game will go this season.
Montreal Canadiens (-126) at Buffalo Sabres (+114)
Buffalo enters the night as an underdog to Montreal on home ice. These two teams split the series last season 2-2. Montreal is coming off a disappointing first round exit to the New York Rangers in a six-game series. Buffalo failed to qualify for the playoffs for the sixth straight year.
Montreal strengthened up its forward core with the addition of Jonathan Drouin in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning during the offseason. It is not certain how well Drouin will fit in to start the season. He was productive with 5 points (1 goal and 4 assists) in three preseason games, but this sample size is too small to analyze.
Buffalo enters this season with high hopes of making the playoffs for the first time since 2010-11. They made many offseason moves to strengthen their depth such as picking up Jason Pominville (who played for Buffalo from 2003-2013), Benoit Pouliot, Marco Scandella and Nathan Beaulieu. They also brought back goaltender Chad Johnson, who played with Buffalo during the 2015-16 season.
The 2015 second overall draft pick Jack Eichel enters this game after finalizing his 8-year $80 million contract extension. Eichel is poised to break through this season, some experts in Buffalo say he is playing better than ever. Eichel has already taken his game to an elite level, so if he can continue to improve, he can turn Buffalo into a competitive team once again.
Pick: Buffalo Sabres (+114)
Minnesota Wild (-135) at Detroit Red Wings (+122)
Detroit enters this season after missing out on the playoffs for the first time in the last 25 years. Minnesota comes in after a first round exit to the St. Louis Blues in five game series.
Thursday night’s game marks the first regular season game at Little Caesars Arena. Detroit has won their last five home openers in the month of October. Little Caesars Arena will be loud and hostile on opening night and it will be no walk in the park for the Wild to come in and spoil the first game of the season.
Detroit enters the season not changing much after last season’s disappointment. The Red Wings added Trevor Daley to help out the back end, but many do not think this will be enough to make the Red Wings competitive again. Although the Red Wings enter the season not likely to be a Stanley Cup contender, they will come out with fire trying to win in front of the devoted fans of Detroit.
Minnesota lost some important players in the offseason, but they added Marcus Foligno, Tyler Ennis and Kyle Quincy to fill out depth roles.
These two teams split the season series at one apiece last season. The Wild will be fighting hard throughout the season in a highly competitive Central Division, but it will take a lot to take down the Red Wings on opening night.
Pick: Detroit Red Wings (+122)