Poor goaltending has us hitting the Over in Montreal, and the NHL best bets you need to make this week

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Several teams in the NHL, including the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens who meet up on Wednesday night, have struggled between the pipes which has us wagering on the Overs as we head into a new week of on-ice action.

We bring you the best hockey betting notes, trends and predictions so you can make some bucks on the pucks. **video

FLAMES WON’T MELT THIS AVALANCHE

On Monday,the second-place team in the Western Conference, the Colorado Avalanche, will host the Calgary Flames who will be on the front-end of a back-to-back road trip. The Avs offense is at full strength with its top-line finally back together after nearly a monthapart due to injuries.

The reunion is bad news for the league as Colorado has ripped off six straight wins and have outscored its opponents 26-10 since November 27.

Calgary has been playing good hockey of late, having won its last four, but those wins came against the Sabres (2), Kings and Senators while the Flames are scoring just 2.1 goals over thei last 10.

Avs’ starting goalie Philipp Grubauer is questionable after leaving Saturday’s game, but backup Pavel Francouz is no slouch and has won his last three games, holding opponents to just four goals on 92 shots.

Colorado is 7-1 ATS at home in its last eight wins this year. We are stacking this game and playing the Avalanche 3-way ML (-105) as well as the -1.5 for +170.

WILD FOR THE OVER

Since starting goalie Devan Dubnyk went down with an injury on November 17, the Minnesota Wild have allowed the third-most goals in the league. Minny is 3-0-2 O/U in its last five thanks to scoring three or more goals in each of its home games where they average 3.8 goals a game.

The Anaheim Ducks will travel to Minnesota on Tuesday for the second game of a two-game road trip before heading back to California. The Ducks have been playing some loose hockey on the road this year as they are 6-2 O/U in their last eight road games as their penalty kill is getting scored on nearly 40 percent of the time since mid-November — the worst-mark in the league.

We expect the Wild to start backup Kappo Kahkonen who is only 23 and has played just two games in the league. The rookie is due for a poor performance after two solid starts to begin his career and teams having more tape on him. Take the Over 6 and we will pound it if it opens at 5.5.

DETROIT SAD WINGS

The Winnipeg Jets will welcome the Detroit Red Wings to the Bell MTS Place (terrible name) with open arms on Tuesday as the Wings are riding a laughable 11-game losing streak. Over this shameful streak that began on November 14, Detroit’s opponents are scoring an average of 4.4 goals a game and have scored four or more in nine of the 11 games.

Things won’t get better for Detroit as they could be without their leading scorer in Tyler Bertuzzi who is playing close to 20 minutes a game but left Saturday’s game with an injury.

We are taking the Jets -1.5 as Detroit is 0-7 ATS in its last seven.

POOR PLAY POWERS OVER

On Wednesday, we turn our attention to two Eastern Conference teams who sit 13th and 14th in points over their last 10 games. The Montreal Canadiens have recently brought up rookie goalie Cayden Primeau after waiving backup Keith Kinklaid.

The move is an effort to spark something from the club as the Canadiens sit on the outskirts of a playoff spot and are tied for the league lead in goals allowed over their last 10. Although the Habs are just 1-4 O/U in their last five games as of Monday, they are 4-1-1 O/U in their previous six contests at home.

The Ottawa Senators have rewarded Over backers when they travel as the 14th-place Sens are 4-1 O/U in their last five road contests. This will also be their seventh road game in an eight-game stretch.

Making matters worse for Ottawa is the fact that its starting goalie Craig Andersen, who just returned from injury, was lifted from Saturday’s game against Philadelphia with another injury and his status is up in the air. We are banging the Over 6.5 on this Canadian hump day contest.

GOALIE PROFILE: TRISTAN JARRY, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

Tristan Jarry has stopped all 61 shots he has faced over his last two starts and hasn’t allowed a goal in nearly 140 minutes of action. The Pens have also won five of his last six starts as the 24-year-old netminder is becoming one of a handful of bright young goaltenders in the league. Incredibly, Jarry has allowed more than two goals in just two of his 11 games this year and sits first in goals against (1.81) and save percentage (.943).

The Montreal Canadiens will try their best to solve Jarry on Tuesday and will probably have to do so at even strength. Montreal’s power play is in the bottom-10 over the last three weeks at 15 percent which is slightly better than its 28th-ranked penalty kill.

We are riding the hottest goalie in the league and will take the Pens 3-way ML on Tuesday night.

INJURY UPDATE: F PATRICE BERGERON, BOSTON BRUINS

The best could get better this week as the No. 1 team in the East, the Boston Bruins, may get the services of their top center in Patrice Bergeron. The two-way pivot has been out since Nov 26 and could suit up Monday versus the Ottawa Senators or Wednesday against the Washington Capitals. The Bruins went 5-2 SU without the centerman but have dropped their last two games and now head out on a four-game road trip along the East coast.

Getting Bergeron back will help in shaping out all four lines and especially the team’s power play. The Bruins’ PP scored at 17 percent without Bergeron but was the best in the league at 32 percent with him on the ice. Look for the Bruins to top their team total of 3.5 on Monday and Wednesday if Bergeron does rejoin the team.

HAT TRICK TRENDS

• Through 14 home games, the Washington Capitals have been an Over machine going 11-2-1 O/U at Capital One Arena this year. On Monday, the Metropolitan’s best will entertain the Columbus Blue Jackets with the Over set at 6. The Caps are 8-2-1 O/U on totals of six and the Blue Jackets are 7-7-1 on totals of six.

• The L.A. Kings are surprisingly the only team in the league hitting first-period Overs at 80 percent in their last 10. The Kings will host the New York Rangers on Tuesday night. New York is 8-4 O/U on the road in first-period totals and is 6-4 O/U in its last 10.

• Away favorites went a cool 6-7 ATS last week which hasn’t happened often this year as away favorites are 34-76 (31%) over the course of the season. Away teams hit at over 57 percent in the last seven days going 26-19 which is almost bang on to their season mark of 56.59 percent. On Monday, the Boston Bruins are the only away favorite with their Puck Line (-1.5) at +135.

Longshots to consider when betting the Shoemaker Mile

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Monday’s Shoemaker Miles Stakes at Santa Anita Park is a great race for a number of reasons. For starters, the Shoemaker Mile is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” race that offers the winner a guaranteed spot in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland.

Watch the Shoemaker Mile on Monday, May 25 from 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

The race also features last year’s Preakness Stakes winner, War of Will, making his season debut. Despite his triumphs on the dirt in 2019, War of Will started his career on the turf and his pedigree suggests that he’s very likely to be just as successful on the grass. That said, the Shoemaker Mile will be his first start off of a six-month break, and I’m going to try to take a swing or two with some horses who could upset the apple cart at longer odds.

Let’s start out with the horse on the rail, Without Parole. He won the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes going a mile at Ascot back in 2018. His three other career wins have all came at this mile distance as well. Granted, he hasn’t won in six races since the St. James’s Palace but he did finish a fast-closing third two starts ago in a much tougher U.S. debut in the TVG Breeders’ Cup MileIrad Ortiz Jr. rode Without Parole in that race and he will reclaim the mount on him again on Monday.

Without Parole has only had one race this year and it was in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational in which he finished second to last. However, he had several excuses right from the start of that race when he got squeezed coming out of the gate. He also raced in traffic throughout and got cut off several times in the stretch before Frankie Dettori — who had come from Europe to ride him at Gulfstream — finally just wrapped up on him. The Pegasus World Cup Turf also was a race that didn’t allow him to run on Lasix (furosemide) after he’d shown significant improvement racing on Lasix for the first time at the Breeders’ Cup.

Stream the 2020 Shoemaker Mile live here

How much of a factor might Lasix be for some horses? Well, let’s next look at the horse who finished last in the Pegasus World Cup Turf: Next Shares. In his following start (back on Lasix) in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes, Next Shares finished third (beaten just a neck) to River Boyne. Both Next Shares and River Boyne return in the Shoemaker Mile and I prefer the former as a pace play who has plenty of back-class. If you rewatch the Kilroe Mile, Next Shares covered a lot more ground than River Boyne. With a similar effort, Next Shares could certainly turn the tables.

The other thing to like about Next Shares is that his trainer, Richard Baltas, has entered speedster Neptune’s Storm in the Shoemaker Mile. That horse, along with Voodoo Song, should ensure a very brisk pace up front — they’ll also be kept honest by Blitzkrieg and War of Will, both of whom usually race on or near the lead. All of that speed adds up to good news for Next Shares. He’s a Grade 1 winner who has always done his best running when he’s had some pace to run into. The other two keys for him (like all stalking or closing-type runners) is clear running room late, and hopefully he’ll get that with Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez taking the mount.

Lastly, we should take a look at True Valour. It’s hard to make much of an excuse for his flat finish in the Kilroe last out, but he’s truly performed better than what his results on paper might indicate. In the Thunder Road Stakes in February, he looked pretty keen early and it took him a few strides to settle down without throwing his head around and fighting his rider. Turning for home, it was clear that jockey Andrea Atzeni had plenty of horse under him but was just waiting for some running room. It ended up coming too late because River Boyne was in a better spot and had already taken command. True Valour did split horses nicely in the closing stages and was half a jump away from finishing second.

If you go back to the Breeders’ Cup Mile, True Valour had excuses there, too. He was up on heels early and he again took a little bit of time to settle down into a comfortable stride. Then, turning for him, he was just waiting for running room but instead got stuck behind a wall of horses. True Valour ended up steadying pretty badly and lost all chance at that point. I’m a little worried about how headstrong he tends to be early in races, but there’s a scenario here that could have at least two horses battling for the lead early and opening up some daylight on the rest of the field. That means he’ll be less likely to be running up on anyone’s heels and it also ensures that he’ll have a nice setup. Whether he can navigate clear passage late in the race is a separate matter.

Longshot Selections

#1 Without Parole

#3 Next Shares

#2 True Valour

Watch the Shoemaker Mile on Monday, May 25 from 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

How to bet an exacta on a horse race

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Betting an exacta can present a challenge on several levels.

There is, of course, the primary need to analyze past performances and decide which horses are going to finish first and second.

Yet because of the inherently lower payoffs as opposed to what you’ll find in a Pick 3 or Pick 4, you’ll need to structure your wagers effectively in order to turn your selections into a profitable wager.

For starters, an exacta can be a simple wager. If you like two horses equally, you can just box them in the exacta and collect so long as they finish 1-2 in any order. If you like one of them a little more, you can then bet more on the one you prefer, say $10 on a 1-2 exacta and $5 on 2-1.

If you’re a little more uncertain, make sure you structure your bet around the size of the field and the probable payoffs.

If you like a longshot, the higher probable payoffs give you the cushion you need to wager on more combinations and still turn a nice profit.

But if you’re dealing with favorites or horses at relatively low odds, you have to wager more efficiently to preserve your profit.

In a field of six or less, you’re best to either focus on one horse or box two of them instead of boxing three or more horses because of the small payouts the bet will most likely generate.

In a field of seven, a wise strategy would be to box your top two choices and then, if you are worried about other horses, play them top and/or bottom other the other horses. For example, box 1-2, then bet 1-2 over 3-4 and 3-4 over 1-2. This way you are getting coverage on four horses without having to box them.

Once you get an eight-horse field, as long as there is not an overwhelming favorite, you can expand the number of horses you box since the payoffs will typically be higher, giving you a better opportunity to offset the inevitable array of losing tickets in a boxed wager.