Wednesday night is rivalry night in the NHL but tonight’s epic matchup between the Maple Leafs and Blackhawks is one in name only. The two teams have combined to lose 9 of their last 11 games which is why the 1/24 NHL free pick is really up for grabs. Oddsmakers have made Chicago slight favorites at home (-115) but have also listed Toronto as negative on the moneyline (-105). Toronto has 57 points on the season, which is good enough for 4th in the Eastern Conference. The Maple Leafs may need this contest more as Chicago hovers in 12th in the West.
Maple Leafs In the Midst of Struggles
Toronto has gone just 3-7 over their last 10 which is bad enough on its own, but even worse when you consider seven of those contests were at home. That streak includes losses in five of their last six games. Toronto has also dropped seven of 10 road games although they are a decent 13-10-2 away from their home ice on the year.
Toronto has a top 10 offense in goals scored, but that’s been an area of concern lately. The Maple Leafs have scored 2 goals or less in four of their last six – all games in which they were favored in. C Auston Matthews does have goals in each of the last two games and he could be in line for another big night considering Chicago’s goaltending woes. The Maple Leafs’ Frederik Andersen has some things to work out in net too however. Andersen has the loss in five of his last six games, allowing 3+ goals in all but one of those tilts. It could be the prescription to right the Chicago offense in the 1/24 NHL free pick.
— NHL (@NHL) January 24, 2018
What is Wrong With Chicago?
The Blackhawks have dropped four of the past five games – two of which were shutouts and all on their home ice. Chicago is just 12-10-2 at the United Center, which used to be one of the toughest places for the opposition to get a win. The Blackhawks are definitely hurt by the absence of goaltender Corey Crawford – but there’s no excuse for an offense featuring Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Brandon Saad, and more scoring just six total goals in the last five games. The ‘Hawks did score 3+ goals in five straight games before that so the potential is there at least.
Chicago will send rookie Jeff Glass in net for the 1/24 NHL free pick as Anton Forsberg is pretty much a lost cause at this point after allowing 5 goals in two of his last five starts. Glass has dropped three of four home starts this year, the worst of which was surrendering 4 goals on just 30 shots to the Red Wings on January 12th. It’s both teams goaltending concerns that have tonights O/U at 6 compared to the normal 5.5.
“Let’s get in that harder area to get rewarded. Let’s pay that price.”
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) January 24, 2018
1/24 NHL Free Pick Betting
There’s only two games on the NHL slate tonight and the Blackhawks are the most popular pick with 62% of the public taking the struggling home team. The trends for both of these teams are just awful:
- Maple Leafs 1-5 their last six overall
- Maple Leafs 1-4 their last five on one days rest
- Blackhawks 1-4 their last five overall
- Blackhawks 1-4 their last five home games
Chicago does have the advantage regarding head-to-head meetings though. The Blackhawks are 13-3 the last 16 meetings and have won 7 straight in Chicago. The home team is 8-2 the last 10 and that’s where the big advantage lies in the 1/24 NHL free pick.
Pick: Chicago Blackhawks -115