The Flames are favored over Nashville (CAL -130) in the December 8th NHL free pick due largely in part to the fact that Calgary is on an impressive 8-1-1 run over their last 10. There’s good value on both sides in this contest however as the Predators sit atop the Western Conference and are a solid 8-4-1 on the road this season. Both teams come into tonight’s game with a days rest after playing Thursday night but does Calgary’s 9-3-1 record at home give them the edge?
Predators Usually Love Spots Like This
What has doomed Nashville lately is losing against teams they’re supposed to beat. The Predators dropped a 0-3 contest to Arizona as -265 favorites to close out November that was preceded by another home loss to Colorado as -160 favorites. Nashville usually likes spots like they’re in tonight in the December 8th NHL free pick vs. the 18-9-1 Flames. The Predators are 7-1 in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a home winning % above .600. Peter Laviolette’s team has also won 4 of the last 5 in Calgary despite the fact that Nashville has dropped 5 straight on the road.
Nashville sits just a point up on Calgary for 1st place in the Western Conference but they’ve gone just 3-4 over their last 7. The offense has been held to 2 goals or less in four contests over that same span and Saturday marks Nashville’s 2nd road game in three nights. Pekka Rinne allowed 4 goals on 25 shots vs. Vancouver last game but Juuse Saros is expected in net tonight. He’s allowed 4+ goals in each of his last three starts including surrendering 5 goals on just 15 shots two outings ago vs. St. Louis. Calgary scored 9 goals two games ago vs. Columbus so it could be a long night for Preds backers.
Calgary Continues To Get it Done
The streaky Flames are on a run, winners of four straight games. They’ve outscored their opponents 18-9 over that span. Johnny Gaudreau has a point in six straight games and has tallied two assists in three consecutive contests. The absence of Mikael Backlund (Q-upper body) would hurt the Flames but 7 different Calgary players scored in a 9-6 win on Tuesday. The Flames are a top 7 team in goals and SOG but they’re also up against one of the best defenses in the NHL as Nashville is #1 in goals allowed and 4th in SOG.
The December 8th NHL free pick is shaping up to be a low scoring affair as the Flames also feature a great defense, ranking 10th in goals/against and 3rd in SOG allowed. Calgary has allowed 2 goals or less in 5 of the last 7 games and feature Mike Smith in net tonight. Smith has won 5 straight starts and has allowed 2 goals or less in four of those contests. Smith is coming off a SO vs. Minnesota but did allow 4 goals on 30 shots in the loss to Nashville in October. Even so, you have to give Calgary a huge advantage in net tonight.
December 8th NHL Free Pick Betting
The Predators have some value winning 4 of the last 5 in Calgary and for the fact that the road team has won 5 straight in this matchup. The Flames are just a point back from Nashville in the West however and would love to climb into first in front of a raucous Saturday night crowd. The’ve got the goaltending edge to do just that tonight.
NHL Free Pick: Calgary Flames -130