Edmonton Oilers @ Anaheim Ducks – Honda Center at 03:00
My latest Handicap Betting preview heads to sunny Southern California as Anaheim host Edmonton for this all-Pacific clash. The two teams are second and third in the division respectively as we approach the all-star festivities.
Edmonton still in the mix
The Edmonton Oilers are still in contention to reach the postseason for the first time in 11 years. The franchise have won five of their last eight matches, with their most recent being a 7-3 thumping of rivals Calgary. Optimism is gradually increasing in Central Alberta, however there is a sense of humbleness considering many years of being in the wilderness.
Captain Connor McDavid is the face of the Oilers and is the heir to Sidney Crosby as the face of the NHL. The 19-year old is on the right track to eventually succeed his idol as he leads the league in points. McDavid has 56 points (16 G 40A) in 49 games. Nonetheless it isn’t a one man show in Edmonton. Leon Draisaitl is showing his worth to the team. The German is second in points for The Oilers with 42 (17G 25A). It hasn’t taken the 2014 first round pick that long to acclimatise to the North American style of play. He moved to Canada five years ago to play junior hockey in the Canadian Hockey League. On the other hand, Draisaitl was rushed into league soon after being drafted and had a baptism of fire. The extra year in junior hockey has paid dividends to his progression.
Falling into place in Anaheim
Ducks fans were fearing the worst when their team lost their first four games of the season. That is all but a distant memory as Anaheim have an impressive 27-14-9 record with Only San Jose above them in the division. Randy Carlyle has kicked on from the foundations that former head coach Bruce Boudreau implemented. Eyebrows were raised with the appointment of Carlyle following his disappointing tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Ducks do not have a player who is on a point per game pace. Ryan Kesler leads the Ducks in points with 39 in 50 games. The inseparable pair of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, who were part of the Ducks team that won the Stanley Cup 10 years ago are second and third respectively. Perry’s numbers have decreased drastically. The 2011 Hart and Maurice trophy winner has only scored 9 goals in 50 games this campaign. Unless the winger scores at a much improved rate, he’ll not reach the 34 that he managed last year. In spite of this, centre Richard Rakell has hit the 20-goal plateau for the second year running, although it has only taken him 39 games to do it this time around.
Both sides have been in good form this month as they set daylight between the rest of the Pacific contenders. To no surprise Anaheim have dominated this series in recent years with 7 wins in 10 games. Albeit, Edmonton won their last encounter in December. The Oilers are a different proposition this year and are no longer the walkovers that they have been for the last couple of years. In saying this the value on Anaheim to get the 2 points is very good at 2.22. Additionally, The Ducks have been very good at the Honda Center with 16-5-3 record at home. They are tied with Nashville for the fewest games lost in regulation in the Western Conference.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Anaheim -0.5 at 2.22 (excluding OT)
Prices correct at time of writing
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