The Columbus Blue Jackets hope to continue their late-season surge when they host the Boston Bruins in one of the marquee clashes on the Tuesday NHL betting card. After struggling a bit following some big moves at the trade deadline, the Jackets have won five straight games to pull into the first wild card spot in the East. However, Columbus still can’t afford to rest on its laurels, sitting just a point ahead of second wild card Carolina and two points ahead of the ninth-place Montreal Canadiens. Boston’s in a much more comfortable position at the moment, needing just one victory or one more Maple Leafs regulation loss to clinch the #3 seed in the East and home ice advantage in the first round against Toronto. But Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy can’t be happy with what he’s seen from his team lately, with the B’s losing three of their last four — including back-to-back losses over the weekend to non-playoff opponents Florida and Detroit.
One of the best ways to measure value in a betting line is to look at what the odds were the last time the teams met. Fortunately, that most recent meeting was just three weeks ago in Columbus, when the Blue Jackets were -105 on the moneyline. Yes, Columbus was struggling at the time while the Bruins had been on a lengthy point streak, but this 40-cent adjustment on the moneyline in less than a month makes it easy to see the value is on Boston here tonight.
Do you really want a piece of the Bruins right now, though? The players are saying the right things about wanting to finish the season strong and not lower their intensity, but the results on the ice are suggesting the B’s are coasting to the finish line. They’re certainly not giving the same commitment at the defensive end of the ice, where they’ve allowed 21 goals in their last 5 games. Tuukka Rask is struggling in net right now for Boston as well, not an ideal situation facing a red-hot Columbus attack that has struck for 24 goals in its last five.
The Blue Jackets have actually been better on the road this year than at home, but they’re finally on a roll at Nationwide Arena, winning five straight. Both teams are playing their third game in four days, which I think is an advantage for the hotter team that is playing with confidence. Even though there isn’t a ton of value on the current moneyline price, I think there’s a reason the Blue Jackets are priced this high. My pick for this game is the Columbus Blue Jackets -145 on the moneyline.