BlackJack: Why I Trust Luis Severino, Plus 3 NHL Opening Night Bets
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Auston Matthews, Luis Severino
- BlackJack Fletcher is hitting the NHL opening night betting slate hard with three plays.
- He's also backing the Yankees in the AL wild-card game, but not on the moneyline.
It’s been a long wait, brother. Since the Stanley Cup Playoffs ended last June in Las Vegas, with the Washington Capitals hoisting their first Cup, we’ve all been waiting for this moment.
Not that the offseason has been dull. It’s been the opposite. John Tavares held the hockey world hostage for more than a week before deciding to return home to Toronto. The Senators took their sweet time in deciding to move Erik Karlsson to San Jose, and the Knights added Max Pacioretty from Montreal.
And those were just some of the bigger moves. Tonight we get to see the fruit of all that work. Tonight we get back to the ice. Tonight we get back to making cold, hard cash on the ice.
Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs (-240)
7 p.m. ET
The Maple Leafs are the team everyone wants to see on the ice tonight. How will Tavares pair with Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Nazem Kadri and such. And will Freddy Andersen be the No. 1 goaltender the Leafs need to be true cup contenders?
Montreal on the other hand is in true rebuilding mode and moved Pacioretty, so I expect the Habs offense to be on the punchless side this season.
Realistically, the Canadiens will go as far as Carey Price can take them. You can’t lay this kind of juice with the Leafs tonight, but the puckline seems juicy.
THE PICK: Toronto -1.5 (+110)
Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals (-125)
7:30 p.m. ET
This is a great spot to take a live dog on the road. The Capitals are still riding their Stanley Cup high, and there will be lots of emotion in the building as they raise their first banner.
Having said that, they will be without Tom Wilson, who is facing a suspension for a preseason hit. The Bruins have tons of offensive firepower with David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak.
I thought the Bruins had a shot to win the East last year, but they fell flat against Tampa. I think they come out looking to make a statement against the Stanley Cup champions tonight.
THE PICK: Bruins +105
Calgary Flames (-135) at Vancouver Canucks
10 p.m. ET
The Flames start off hoping for better results than last season’s when they fell out of the playoff race and wound up making a coaching change. They added James Neal from Vegas for some scoring punch, and have a healthy Mike Smith back in net.
The Flames were also the road warriors last season in the NHL, proving more profitable away from Calgary than when they were at home.
Vancouver had a poor season and lost the Sedin twins to retirement in the offseason.
I think Calgary has enough talent to get the job done against a Canucks team that might wind up being one of the worst in the league this season.
THE PICK: Flames -135
Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees (-177)
8:08 p.m. ET
The American League wild-card game is in New York tonight, and the Yankees and A’s are in a winner-take-all situation.
The Yankees are starting Luis Severino, while the A’s are going with a full bullpen game, with only one starter, Edwin Jackson, on the roster tonight.
Both offenses are more than capable. And the A’s may have the best bullpen in the league.
Having said that, there is something in the air at Yankee Stadium in October. The Yankees are getting healthy at the right time and have a strong bullpen of their own.
I think the Yankees offense is going to get the job done for them tonight. I won’t lay that juice at -177, but I’m going to bet on Severino to have a good start in the first five.
THE PICK: Yankees -.5, First 5 innings (-125)