All eyes in the Boston sports world will be on the February 3rd NHL free pick when the Bruins try to snap a 3-game skid when they visit Washington. OK, so maybe there’s a football game this afternoon that might garner a little attention as well. Oddsmakers have set Sunday’s line at the Capitals -118 which seems very low – a trap play even. Are the Bruins somehow the better play with a +100 line?
Where Does the Value Lie On Boston?
The Bruins went in to the Winter break with a whimper losing 3 out of 4. The nine days off didn’t help much as Boston has dropped two straight since the hiatus. Both of those contests went to extra time as well, a 3-4 SO loss to Winnipeg on Tuesday and a 2-3 OT defeat to Philadelphia on Thursday. Both losses came at home and the Bruins were favored in both. Despite the skid, the Bruins are still dangerous. They sit in 7th in the Eastern Conference and rank 6th in shots with the #2 PP offense. David Pastrnak has 5 points in the two games since the break while Patrice Bergeron has put up 3 points.
Another reason Boston being favored at the Capital One Arena is puzzling is because they’ve dropped 14 in a row to Washington. The Bruins haven’t beat the Capitals since March of 2014. Tuukka Rask hopes to be the centerpiece on turning around Boston’s fortunes vs. Washington. The goaltender is 6-0-2 in his last 8 decisions, allowing 2 goals or less in each of those victories. The Caps offense has scored 18 goals the last four games however so Rask will be under pressure in the February 2nd NHL free pick.
Capitals Get Ovechkin Back as they Try to Bury the Bruins Yet Again
Sunday’s contest is an interesting one from Washington’s perspective. Yes, on one hand they have beaten Boston 14 straight times but this is also a Capitals team that had dropped 7 straight prior to Friday’s 4-3 win over Calgary. The win not only broke a long losing stretch, it came against the Flames who are tops in the West and with Washington missing Alex Ovechkin who was suspended a game for skipping the all-star contest. Evgeny Kuznetsov and a bevy of role players stepped up in Ovechkin’s absence and did Washington accidentally discover newfound depth without their captain in the lineup?
Washington may need that depth even with Ovechkin back as a lower body injury sidelined Lars Eller last time out. The Capitals defense especially needs all hands on deck as they’ve given up 33 goals over the last six games. G Braden Holtby really needs a strong outing as he’s surrendered 19 scores in his last four games. Holtby did get the win on Friday vs. the Flames #2 ranked scoring offense so maybe the Winter break was good for what’s been ailing the Caps netminder.
Sunday February 3rd NHL Free Pick Betting
There’s definitely some incredible value on Washington -118, especially at home where they are 14-8-3 on the year and the Bruins are just 1-5 in their last 6. The line movement is weird with the Capitals opening at -125 but lowering despite a majority of bettors liking the Caps. It’s looking like Boston’s edge in net ends up being the difference as the Bruins offense attacks a struggling Washington defense.
NHL Free Pick: Boston Bruins +100