Ducks vs Bruins – NHL Pick for January 30th
After going 4 nights without any meaningful games, the National Hockey League returns to action tonight with a bang.
12 games fill the Tuesday board on the first day of action following the NHL all-star break, which can always be a difficult one for bettors to navigate. The focus level of players is a bit of a guessing game after they’ve spent the weekend down south on the beach, and it’s tough to project whether teams will return to their tendencies or look completely different after a few days away from the rink.
If any team should be concerned about picking up where they left off, it’s the Boston Bruins. Boston entered the all-star break on an 18-game point streak, a torrid run that moved the B’s within 5 points of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. And tonight, their first game comes against a tough Anaheim Ducks squad that is currently on the fringe of the playoff hunt but is known for turning things on in the second half.
Oddsmakers list the Bruins as -148 favorites to resume their winning ways, while the Ducks pay +134 odds to pull off the upset. Let’s dig a bit deeper into this matchup to see if we can unearth some hidden value to help us pick a winner tonight.
Are Ducks Poised To Make Another Second-Half Run?
Boston’s not the only team in this matchup that went into the all-star break with some momentum. Anaheim won 4 of its last 5 games before the mid-season classic, including a 4-3 shootout win over Winnipeg in which the Ducks outshot the Jets 39-27.
If the Ducks are finally starting to hit their stride in January, it wouldn’t be the first time. Two years ago, Anaheim was 17-17-7 at the midway point of the season, then went 29-8-4 the rest of the way. Last season, the Ducks went into the all-star break with a decent 27-15-9 mark, but was even hotter down the stretch, finishing with a 19-8-4 flourish.
Anaheim’s also a better team than its current record indicates. They’ve lost the most man-games to injury in the NHL this season, and that doesn’t even take into the account the caliber of the players they’ve had to do without. Captain Ryan Getzlaf has been limited to just 26 of the Ducks’ first 45 games, two-way specialist Ryan Kesler has played just 13 games, defenseman Hampus Lindholm has missed 8 games and sniper Corey Perry has been sidelined for 7. Star netminder John Gibson always seems to be banged up as well, the most recent injury coming Thursday against Winnipeg (although he’s expected back in action tonight.) Considering all these injuries to important players, it’s actually amazing the Ducks are still within striking distance of the playoffs.
Can The Bruins Maintain Their Recent Pace?
Although Boston’s getting a lot of attention for its 18-game point streak, the Bruins have actually been one of the NHL’s best teams for a couple of months. Since falling to 6-7-4 with a 4-2 loss at Anaheim in mid-November, the Bruins have earned points in 27 of 30 games (23-3-4).
There’s nothing flukey about the way Boston’s been winning, either. The Bruins are doing it with offense (fourth in the league at 3.3 goals per outing) and with defense (first in goals against at 2.4 per game, second in fewest shots allowed per contest). Their power play makes opponents pay for their transgressions, humming along at 21.8% (7th in the NHL), and their 83.7% penalty kill (3rd) enables them to play a physical game without worrying about penalties.
But can they continue to collect points at this rate? No, I don’t think so. No team can, not in a sport with as much variance as hockey. Even the best clubs in the league go through slumps (Tampa Bay just recently went through one, enduring a stretch where they won 2 of 7 games), and regression is on Boston’s horizon in the near future.
With bettors so high on the B’s right now, that opens up a lot of value to go the other way. Especially now with leading scorer Brad Marchand out of the lineup as he serves a suspension. Marchand’s absence didn’t hurt Boston against Ottawa, but it should make a difference against a tougher opponent tonight.
Ducks vs. Bruins Betting Pick
I recommend attacking the Ducks moneyline. I also like the Over 5.5, but I like the Moneyline more.
I believe Anaheim will give the Bruins all they can handle tonight. The Ducks’ win over Boston earlier this season marked the eighth straight time Anaheim defeated the Bruins, and the Ducks have won 5 of their last 6 visits to Beantown. Anaheim is also in good form offensively, potting 10 goals in their last 2 games combined. Meanwhile, the Bruins are probably as vulnerable tonight as they’ve been in quite a long time, playing their first game since Thursday.
It all boils down to your comfort level in this game. If you think, like I do, that the Ducks stand a strong chance of pulling off the upset tonight, there’s more than enough value in the Anaheim +134 moneyline to pull the trigger. And if you understandably don’t like standing in front of moving trains like teams on 18-game point streaks, the Over 5.5 looks like a solid alternative.
This game promises to be competitive and as long as both teams score at least 2 goals, we stand a pretty good shot at cashing an Over ticket here, a bet that also pays plus-money at +104 odds.
$100 Stake Wins.....