Free Picks: Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders

Capitals vs Islanders NHL week 16
Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders, NHL, Capital One Arena

The Washington Capitals (31-13-4) have owned the New York Islanders (29-14-5) this season in a tight race for atop the East Division with the Pittsburgh Penguins (32-14-3). The Capitals lead the head-to-head series with the Islanders 5-2. This will be the last meeting between the teams as the 56-game regular season comes down to the final few games. Can the Islanders rebound? Which market offers the best value for punters?

Classic battle between offense and defense

For my BetPicks, I take a look at Washington and the injury to forward Alex Ovechkin. He didn’t practice on Monday and remains day-to-day. But without him, the Caps didn’t miss a beat in their 6-3 defeat of the Islanders on Saturday. Daniel Sprong replaced Ovechkin on the top forward line and scored twice.

This should be a classic battle between offense and defense. Washington ranks second in goals scored per game (3.48) while the Islanders rank second in goals allowed per game (2.31). The Caps also own the league’s second best power play (26.7%).

For my NHL picks, I predict this score to be Washington 4, Islanders 2. Washington is 14-6-2 at home. The Islanders are 10-11-2 on the road and 0-3 in Washington.

Ilya Samsonov (.903 save percentage) and Vitek Vanecek (.908) are the Washington goaltenders. The Islanders counter with Semyon Varlamov (.926 save percentage) and Ilya Sorokin (.914 save percentage).

The NHL odds favor the Capitals. Here are the early lines.:

Puck Line; The safest bet is taking the underdog Islanders (+1.5) on the Puck Line (-288). The implied odds suggest there is a 74% chance they win or won’t lose by more than a goal.

The riskiest bet (25% implied odds) is taking Washington (-1.5) on the Puck Line (+228) where a $100 bet wins $228, but the Caps would have to win by at least two goals.  Three of Washington’s five wins have been by at least two goals, or 60% of the time.

Money Line: Betting Washington on the Money Line (-120) is a good value play (implied odds at 54%). If you like the Islanders to rebound (+105) taking them on the Money Line is just slightly more risky.

Total goals: Two of the games have been 1-0 affairs, with each team winning one. Four times, the total has tilted toward the Under. The odds favor the Under (5.5) with 10Bet (-129). In the six occasions when projected starter Semyon Varlamov has been in goal in this series, four times the total has been five or less, or 66% of the time.

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  • The Islanders are 2-5 SU in their last seven against Washington.
  • Washington is 3-7 SU in their last 10 games at home against the Islanders.
  • Washington is 10-12 ATS at home this season.
  • The total has gone Over in nine of Washington’s last 11 games this season.

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I live in the land of ice and snow in Toronto, Canada's largest city. I can't skate very well, but I know sports, especially hockey, after a long career writing about the Toronto Maple Leafs and other teams at the country's largest newspaper, the Toronto Star. Betting on sports can be a rewarding experience when you understand the trends and underlying characteristics of the teams and players before laying down a bet. That's how I hope to point you in the right direction.