You have to give them credit, Chicago has continued to fight in their uphill battle in trying to make the Western Conference playoffs. Heading into the March 18th NHL free pick, Chicago has rattled off five straight wins to come within 5 points of Arizona for the 2nd wild card spot. With 11 games to play, the Blackhawks are in a must win vs. Vancouver on Monday and it shows as oddsmakers have listed Chicago as -230 favorites. We all know there’s no value in lines like that however.
Can Vancouver Pull Off the Profitable Upset?
There’s a definite upside in taking Vancouver in the March 18th NHL free pick as the line on the visitors is +190. The Canucks are 3rd to last in the Western Conference, but they’ve gone a respectable 4-4-2 over their last 10. This includes a 3-2 SO win in Dallas on Saturday as a +180 underdog and a 3-2 win over Toronto 12 days ago at +175. Of course, the Canucks are also a risk as evidenced by their 2-3 home loss to New Jersey on Friday as -176 favorites.
Vancouver has some offensive talent to pull off this upset, especially depending on who Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton puts in net Monday. Rookie Elias Pettersson is having a breakout season and has notched points in 4 of the last 5 games. 2nd line Center Bo Horvat has also been solid with 4 points in the past 4 games. Together they can help the Canucks’ #26 ranked scoring offense give some padding for G Thatcher Demko who gets the nod ahead of Jacob Markstrom. It’s a rough matchup for Demko in just his 6th career game vs. a streaking Chicago squad.
Chicago Finding Contributions From a Variety of Places
Patrick Kane has been the main story in Chicago this season, understandably as he is just a point away from scoring 100 for the 2nd time in his career. Jonathan Toews has quietly had a resurgence with what is already the 2nd most points in his career. Alex Debrincat looks like a bona fide star in just his second year. It’s players like Brendan Perlini (7 points last 3 games) and Dylan Strome (4 helpers last three games) that make Chicago a scary squad IF they make the postseason.
The Blackhawks have two nights off after the March 18th NHL free pick which means they’ll be able to put Corey Crawford out in net. Crawford is on a personal five game win streak and has allowed just 3 total goals the last four games. Monday’s O/U is still 6.5 however due mostly to the potential of the Hawks offense. The Blackhawks have three games of 5+ goals over the last three.
March 18th NHL Free Pick Betting
There’s no value on Chicago -230 and the +115 PL is tempting considering Chicago’s penchant for putting the puck in the net, especially against the very green Demko. You don’t know how the Blackhawks’ defense is going to recover after playing the last two games in Canada so therefore a high scoring affair could be very likely – even if it comes just from Chicago.
NHL Free Pick: Canucks / Blackhawks *Over* 6.5