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Chris Wassel's picks for today's NHL action

The NHL gives us just two games today, so there is no use wasting time. Let’s dive into this mini-slate on Wednesday night.

Here are Today’s NHL Picks:

Detroit Red Wings @ Ottawa Senators

- Detroit and Ottawa have split the last four matchups. Ottawa took the first two games in 2018-19 and Detroit the last two.   

This game looks like a pure sludge matchup. Detroit just played last night and laid an egg against the Vancouver Canucks – losing at home 5-2. As for Ottawa, they played better against Dallas the other night but still lost 2-1. Ottawa has come close to winning the past few games. Unfortunately, moral victories do not work when it comes to the National Hockey League.

According to Statschecker, Ottawa is the worst in the league on the moneyline at 1-6-1 but 3-5 against the spread and versus the over. That is a hair better but of little comfort. Detroit is 3-6 on the moneyline but a downright goofy 4-2-3 versus the over. That is right. The over has pushed a league leading three times from the Red Wings’ end. They are 4-5 against the spread by the way.

It is what makes picking short slate games difficult and this may be arguably one of the worst matchups this season. However, there is no shying away here. The projections suggest somewhere around six goals being scored as Detroit will try to keep this game as low-event as possible. Ottawa may be able to do much the same. The question comes down to goaltending. Jonathan Bernier probably starts versus Craig Anderson. Both are capable of very good performances in a sludge type of matchup such as this.

The best bet is to take a higher over/under 6.5 at -125. Both teams have scoring talent but after the top-six, the expected goals drop to a fraction less than one. That is a low number. Also, move on the Ottawa moneyline before the number starts to rise a bit.

1u – Under 6.5 Total Goals @ -125

1u - Ottawa Senators ML @ -117

Pittsburgh Penguins @ Tampa Bay Lightning

- Pittsburgh’s lack of depth finally came back to bite them in last night’s 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers.

The expectation was that Pittsburgh had one last magic trick in their arsenal on Tuesday night but that was not the case, as they fell flat as the game went on against the Panthers. Quickly, Pittsburgh heads to Tampa Bay tonight for a game against the Lightning who face must-win games early.

Statschecker shows us that Tampa Bay is just 4-3-1 on the moneyline in the early going. Part of that may be the fact that Tampa opened last year with a home-heavy schedule and this year they have played just two games at home (six on the road). Part of it is also the goaltending and team defense have been a touch off as well. Also, Tampa’s special teams have not been as good. They were a top-three team on the power play. They rank 11th currently at just under 23%. Their penalty kill was in the top half of the league. They rank 28th right now at 70%. Pittsburgh, despite their injuries, has held together for the most part. The Penguins are 6-4 on the moneyline but just 4-6 ATS and 4-5-1 on the over/under. Tampa Bay has seen the over connect in six of their eight contests this year. The spread is at a dead even .500 (4-4).

Pittsburgh is the tired team, and no one is ever quite sure what to expect of them. However, there is value in the numbers for Tampa tonight for the first time since the opening week of the season. Taking the over and Tampa Bay’s puck line is the move.

1u – Over 6.5 Total Goals @ +110

1u - Tampa Bay Lightning -1.5 goals @ +140

By Chris Wassel


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