Xam’s Daily Gems:
Avalanche Money Line -170
The Avalanche are one of the best teams in the league and have been powered by an elite offense all year. They have scored a whopping 196 goals this year, good for most in the entire league! The Capitals have been polar opposites this season, struggling all year to put the puck in the net. The last time these two teams played, the Avs were their usual dominant selves on the way to a 6-2 victory. The key here is what kind of defensive effort the Avs will bring. They have been inconsistent on the defensive end which is why they’re the 3 seed in the Western Conference. Simply put, this game comes down to whether or not Colorado brings their A game. The Avs are one of the best teams in the league for a reason. If Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Artturi Lehkonen can bring the energy, the Avalanche should be able to score enough and get the job done tonight.
Bruins Money Line -154
The Bruins have been the best team all year, pairing good offense with great defense. The Bruins have been downright dominant at TD Garden this year, coming into the game with a 17-6-3 record in front of the home crowd. The Lightning, for all their success this year, have been a bad road team. They’re 11-15-2 away from home this year. The Bruins will come into this game focused and ready to go after completely no-showing against the Capitals in their last game. The Rangers are also hot on their heels, just 2 points behind them for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins have been great defensively this year, giving up just 135 goals on the year. However, they’ll need to score goals if they want to win this game. The Lightning are tied for the 4th most goals against this season in the Eastern Conference, so Boston should be able to do some damage. If David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Jake DeBrusk can get it going in the offensive end, the Bruins should be able to get back on track tonight.
Thunder Money Line -144
The Thunder have been one of the biggest surprises of the NBA season thanks in large part to a dominant offense scoring 120 points a game. That spells bad news for the Magic, who have lived off their defense this season. They’re currently 6th in the East despite scoring just 111 points per game this season. OKC has been really good defensively too, allowing just 113 points per game. It should be noted that Orlando has been solid at home this year and the Thunder are only slightly over .500 on the road this season. However, the Thunder have the better team. They have elite shooters and offensive playmaking ability that Orlando simply can’t match. The key tonight will be OKC’s defense. We know OKC will score points like they always do. If they can slow down Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero, the Thunder should be able to do enough to keep up the pace for the 1 seed in the West.
Celtics/Nets Over 228 Points -108
The Celtics have arguably the best offense in the league, led by the trio of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kristaps Porzingis. They’re averaging 120 points per game and have scored 125 or more points in 4 of their last 6 games. The Celtics are also coming into this game well rested, as they have only played one game since February 9th. This spells trouble for a Nets team giving up 115 points per game this season. The big concern coming into this game is what Brooklyn can do offensively. They’re averaging 114 points per game this year, but the Celtics are surrendering just 111 points per game on the year. Given the spread of this game, and the Celtics being rested, there is some blowout potential here. We need the Nets to play consistent offense so that the Celtics stay engaged. While the Celtics have been historically dominant at TD Garden this year, they’re only 16-9 on the road. For the Nets to win, they’ll need to score points. If guys like Cam Thomas and Mikal Bridges can knock down some shots and keep this game close, Boston should be able to do the rest against a weak defensive team.
Islanders Money Line -154
The Islanders are coming into this game with a big rest advantage, as they have only played one game since February 8th. The Kraken are coming off a game last night and this will be their 3rd game in 4 nights. They’re also 2-7-1 in their last 10 games. The key tonight will be what kind of defensive effort the Islanders bring. They’ve given up a ton of goals this season, at 175. However, the Kraken haven’t shown a consistent ability to take advantage. They’re averaging just 2.75 goals per game this year. The Islanders are currently tied for the 9th spot in the East, so every game is important for them if they want to make the playoffs. They have the talent to do so, and they’ve been good at UBS Arena this year, coming into the game with a 13-7-7 record in front of the home crowd. As is usually the case with the Isles, the key is their defense tonight. Seattle doesn’t score a lot. If they can play good defense for a change, Bo Horvat, Mathew Barzal, and Brock Nelson should be able to lead the team to victory. This is a game the Islanders absolutely need. They’re the better team, more rested, and at home tonight.
Stars Money Line -118
This is a matchup of heavyweights with goals of a Stanley Cup Finals run. The Stars are coming into this game fully rested, having only played one game since February 7th. The Stars are the 2nd seed in the Western Conference because of a dominant offense. They have scored 192 goals this year, good for 3rd most in the West. The Hurricanes have been good offensively, but have been really good defensively as well. However, despite their 30-16-5 record, they’re just 13-10-1 on the road. This game will likely feature a fair amount of scoring. Stars goalie Jake Oettinger will likely be the key tonight. He’s been a little inconsistent this year but has been better in his last couple of games. If Oettinger can keep his recent play up, Dallas shouldn’t have issues scoring and notching another win as they race to be the top seed in the Western Conference.
Predators Money Line -126
The Devils are coming into this game with a massive rest disadvantage. The Devils are on the 2nd night of a back-to-back, their 3rd game in 4 nights, and 4th game since February 8th. The Predators have played just one game since January 31st, and their last game was February 10th! The Devils both score and give up a ton of goals. They’ve given up 178 goals this year, which is the 3rd most in the Eastern Conference. The Predators are fighting and scratching their way for a playoff birth, and this is the type of game they need to win if they want to have a shot at the playoffs. If they can play some defense and not like the Devils get going offensively, they should be able to find holes in a weak defensive team. Nashville’s defense is the key to the game tonight, and they will need to bring their A game to beat a quality team like the Devils.
Timberwolves/Trail Blazers Under 215 Points -110
The Timberwolves have been an elite defensive team all year, and that shouldn’t change against Portland, who has struggled all year to score. They’re averaging just 108 points per game. They’re arguably the worst offense in the entire league. However, just as big an issue for them has been their horrific defense. They’re giving up 116 points per game. Fortunately for them, Minnesota is on the 2nd night of a back-to-back. The entire key to this game is what Portland can do defensively. They’ve been bad all year, but Minnesota is only scoring 113 points per game. They’ve been better recently, but if Anthony Edwards has an off night, they can be bad offensively. Portland has been a little bit better defensively in their last 10 games, giving up 113 points per game. If they can keep that defensive intensity up tonight, we may be in store for a defensive battle!