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2014 NHL Betting – Picks For Saturday, November 15

Posted by Don Melrose on 11/14/2014 8:11:19 PM

The National Hockey League season is nearing the 20-game mark, or the one-quarter milepost for the long journey toward the playoffs in April. What’s on tap for this Saturday?

Game 1: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Buffalo Sabres – Saturday, November 15

There are so many uncertainties in hockey – the bounce of the puck and the province of injury luck both have a lot to say about the way a season develops. Yet, it seems pretty clear already that in the 2014-2015 NHL season, the Buffalo Sabres aren’t very good and aren’t going to stop being that way. Buffalo is 3-13-2 in its first 18 games. The Sabres have already piled up a minus-42 goal differential, far worse than any other team in the league. They have lost five straight games. They have scored two of their wins in shootouts, meaning that they’ve won only one game this season in either regulation or the five-minute overtime period which precedes a shootout. When you’re looking at a track record that awful, how can one not bet on the opponent? Toronto just happens to be a decent team so far, accumulating 20 points on the strength of a 9-5-2 record. This is not a hard call. The Maple Leafs should win.

NHL Betting Pick: Toronto

Game 2: New York Rangers @ Pittsburgh Penguins – Saturday, November 15

These teams have not stumbled out of the gate, and they’re separated by only four points in the standings, so it might seem that they’re entering this game in the same position. However, when you look at point totals in the NHL standings, you have to look at games in hand. Pittsburgh might lead the Rangers by only four points, but the Rangers have played 16 games this season, while the Pens have played only 14. Pittsburgh, if given the chance to catch the Rangers in games played, might be a team that’s seven or eight points better. When you do more looking underneath the surface numbers, you’ll find that Pittsburgh has a plus-23 goal differential, the best in the NHL to this point in the season. New York’s differential is in the red, at minus-3. That’s the kind of statistic which should jump out and get somebody’s attention. Pittsburgh should be the choice at home, no matter what Henrik Lundqvist might be able to do to help the Blueshirts.

NHL Betting Pick: Pittsburgh

Game 3: San Jose Sharks @ Columbus Blue Jackets – Saturday, November 15

The final game on this slate is one in which there’s a risk that a long streak will come to an end. There are always two schools of thought on betting in the face of a streak. One is that you bet on the streak until it’s broken. The other one is that you should bet against a long streak when you realize that no streak is going to last forever, especially during any of the long regular seasons in North American sports (NHL, MLB, NBA). The thought process here is that the Columbus Blue Jackets have been so bad during their nine-game losing streak that they don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. Choose San Jose here, with Columbus floundering the way it is. San Jose has 20 points and has not deserved to be distrusted in a situation such as this one.

NHL Betting Pick: San Jose

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