Free Picks: Arizona Coyotes vs. Vegas Golden Knights

Coyotes vs Golden Knights NHL week 16
Arizona Coyotes vs. Vegas Golden Knights, NHL, Gila River Arena

The Golden Knights are battling the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the West Division, but Vegas has already clinched a playoff spot. The game on Saturday will be the second game in a back-to-back set to conclude the season series. Vegas has been dominant all season while the Coyotes’ hopes to make the playoffs are slim and none.

The Golden Knights ran into a determined pack of Coyotes

For my BetPicks, I think there is reason to doubt the Golden Knights and lean toward Arizona on Saturday. The Golden Knights, who lead the West Division over Colorado, came into this two-game set with the Coyotes on Friday as the hottest team in the league. They were rolling on a 10-game winning streak, but the Coyotes upset them 3-0 with a strong defensive effort.

The NHL odds favor Vegas, but the Golden Knights are missing a physical force in Ryan Reaves and a key scoring threat in  Jonathan Marchessault. The loss of Marchessault is a blow because he had picked up six points over his last three games.

Going into the opener of the two-game set on Friday, Arizona had won only once in six head-to-head meetings and that was back in January when they beat Vegas 5-2. Over the six games, Vegas outscored Arizona 20-13.

The Golden Knights have scored as many as seven goals against Arizona, and have shown they can win defensive battles too. They have beaten the Coyotes 1-0 twice already in April.

In goal, the Coyotes went with Adin Hill Friday night. Darcy Kuemper is projected to start on Saturday. Vegas started Robin Lehner, which means they will likely go with Marc-Andre Fleury on Saturday.

Heading into this two-game series with Vegas, the Coyotes were 2-8-0 in their last 10 and were outscored 38-24. The Coyotes are near the bottom of the league in both goals scored and goals allowed.

The best sports bet today is taking Arizona (+1.5) with the Money Line (-152) with 10Bet. The implied odds give Arizona a 60% chance of covering the 1.5 spread and, based on their great defensive play on Friday, I think they can play Vegas close and cover at home.

The riskiest bet is taking Arizona with the Money Line (+165) with a $100 bet paying $165. That would imply 37% odds to win and if you think Arizona can win two in a row against Vegas, this would be a big payday, but a pretty big hunch. Maybe go lightly on that one if you think the Coyotes can wear down the Golden Knights with defense and win again.

I have no feel on total goals because scoring in this series has been all over the map. So I’m going to pass on this market.

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  • The Coyotes are 12-2-0 when leading after the second period.
  • The Golden Knights are ranked No. 3 in goals scored per game.
  • Vegas has the No. 1 defense in the league for goals allowed per game.
  • The Coyotes are near the bottom of the league in goals allowed per game.

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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.