NHL Free Pick: Jets vs. Senators Betting Lines & Preview

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Weekly NHL Betting action sees the Winnipeg Jets taking on the Anaheim Ducks April 16 at Honda Center. Cappers Picks provides free NHL handicapping tips all season long.

The Western Conference top seed Anaheim Ducks begin their Cup Quest Thursday night when they host the upstart Winnipeg Jets who were terrific down the stretch and enter as perhaps the most dangerous underdogs in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Daily NHL Hockey Odds

Winnipeg at Anaheim
When: 10:30 PM ET, Thursday, April 16, 2015
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, California
Broadcast: CNBC, TVA, SN, PRIME
Winnipeg Jets +1½ -225 +130 Ov 5 -123
Anaheim Ducks -1½ +195 -144 Un 5 +112
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The Anaheim Ducks went 3-0-0 against the Winnipeg Jets this past season but that slate is wiped clean as we head into Thursday’s showdown.

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Game 1 should set the tone – will it be the physical, care-free Jets who draw first blood of will the playoff pedigree and talent edge of the Ducks that starts the postseason off on the right foot? Let’s take a look.

The Winnipeg Jets arrive in Game 1 on a Hot streak – they went 4-0-1 in their final four games of the Regular Season and played with playoff intensity for the better part of two months down the stretch.

The Jets are a confident team – many analysts join them in thinking they have a real chance for the upset in the series. I echo that sentiment. Dustin Byfulglien, Tyler Myers and Jacob Trouba anchor a defensive unit that should be able to limit the effectiveness of the explosive Ducks – their grinding and physical style should give the big guys for the Ducks fits. Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec finished the season 9-2-1 with four shutouts and a 182:05 shutout streak in his final three games.

Winnipeg’s defense is a true difference-maker – the Jets are a nightmare to play against right now.

Offensively the Jets should be just fine on Thursday night. Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler were superb all season long and will be a handful indeed. Mark Scheifele, Drew Stafford and Mathieu Perrault are a very good second unit and Michael Frolik, Lee Stempniak and Jiri Tlusty add the depth needed in the tough Western Conference.

Winnipeg may not be as deep and as talented as Anaheim offensively but their goal scorers are a perfect complement to a defense that hit another gear down the stretch.

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The Ducks playoff woes are well documented. Since winning the Cup in 2007 the team has won just two of seven playoff series and has endured first-round exits the last two seasons. That said the Ducks captured their third consecutive division crown and the fourth in franchise history – they are pretty darn good.

Anaheim went 0-2-1 in their final three games of the Regular season and scored just four goals over that span. Their only win in the final three games was an unflattering 2-1 win against Arizona – not all that impressive.

Offensively the Ducks seem to have an overwhelming advantage in the series and you can bet that the stars will be out in force on Thursday night. That said the Ducks finished the season 11th in the NHL in scoring with 2.79 goals per game while the Jets were 16th with an average of 2.69. Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Matt Beleskey are one of the best top lines in the game and Ryan Kesler was a difference-making second line center during the Regular season. This team struggled to score in the final weeks of the season and now is tasked with penetrating a Winnipeg defense that was off the charts.

Defensively the Ducks should be fine – they are OK, not great. The goaltending was a bit of an issue down the stretch – Frederik Andersen looked ordinary the last month of the season and could be in danger of being outplayed by Ondrej Pavelec.

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NHL Gambling Trends

• Over is 10-1-1 in WIN last 12 vs. Pacific.
• WIN are 3-9 in their last 12 Thu. games.
• Under is 6-2 in WIN last 8 games following a win.
• ANA are 25-8 in their last 33 vs. Central.
• ANA are 19-9 in their last 28 home games.

The Jets are a scary team as we head into Game 1. They won a franchise best 20 games on the road this season and are playing better than any of the 16 teams entering the playoffs. I think they carry the momentum from the Regular Season into Monday night. I don’t have a ton of faith in the Ducks – they haven’t earned it. Take the upset in Game 1!

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By DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.