NHL Betting PicksOnline Sports Betting Overview

With March Madness betting ready to get started and the NHL trade deadline come and gone, the betting services are settling in for the stretch run to the NHL playoffs. Now is the time when teams either make their move up in the standings, or find themselves getting left behind. The Eastern Conference standings are so close that almost every team in the conference is still fighting for a playoff spot. Only the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators can be said to be completely out of the picture. The Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes are hanging on, but they will need to step up their games to make the post-season.

This is a game that features two teams with very different motivations. The Florida Panthers need a winning streak now to avoid being one of those teams left behind in the standings. The Carolina Hurricanes are holding on to that eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but they are not doing a very good job of securing their playoff destiny.

Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes are in deep trouble as the last 20 games of the season get ready to start. Carolina just lost a game to the Montreal Canadiens and now find the gap between themselves and the Buffalo Sabres to be only two points. In the last 10 games, the Hurricanes are 3-4-3 and have been steadily falling further behind the seventh place New York Rangers. The Hurricanes just cannot hold on to a lead late in the game. They are scoring three and four goals per game on a consistent basis. But they are allowing teams to score in the third period as games continue to slip away. The Hurricanes are getting decent goaltending from Cam Ward. They just need to learn how to shut down the other team in the third period.

Florida Panthers

If the Florida Panthers cannot find a way to start stringing wins together, then they will be on the outside looking in at the playoffs before the end of the week. The Panthers were holding down ninth in the conference and threatening for eighth not that long ago. But Florida’s defense and goaltending have let them down lately, and now the Panthers find themselves with 59 points and eight points out of the final playoff spot. In the last 10 games, the Panthers are 3-6-1 and showing no signs of being able to string together consecutive wins. Florida needs to remember that they are only eight points out of a playoff spot, but they are also only eight points out of the Eastern Conference basement.

The Bottom Line

The Hurricanes just need to play better in the third period in order to start putting together some much-needed wins. The Panthers’ problems are much deeper than just a lack of effort, and Florida does not make some moves at the trade deadline to shore up its defense then there will be no playoffs in South Beach this season.

BSNblog Pick: Carolina Hurricanes

NHL Odds and PicksOnline Sportsbook Overview

If plan to bet on March Madness and the like to start getting the best MLB predictions visit www.mlbpredictions.org then you know how important timing can be. It can be a sports betting bonus for a team searching for a better spot in the NCAA tournament to get a weak late-season opponent. The hockey experts know that an NHL team in search of a break during the playoff hunt can welcome a game against a lesser opponent. The only problem is that some teams can take that lesser opponent too lightly and not grab those important points.

The Nashville Predators are right in the middle of the hunt for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Predators are tied with three other teams at 72 points, and every win counts. The Edmonton Oilers were out of the Western Conference playoff race when the season started. But that does not mean that the Oilers are not capable of a few surprises.

Nashville Predators

After an impressive showing in last year’s playoffs, the Nashville Predators and their fans expected to be right back in the middle of the playoff mix this season. Nashville got off to a slow start this season, but it has really picked up the pace in the second half of the season. Nashville is second only to conference-leading Vancouver in the number of home losses with seven. But the Predators have fallen to the spot they are in now with a 4-5-1 record in its last 10 games. The other problem for the Predators is that they are 17-16-1 on the road. Nashville is much better at home than on the road, and the Oilers are not a team to fall asleep against.

Edmonton Oilers

Everything about the Oilers indicates that they are not capable of beating a playoff-hungry team like the Predators. In the last 10 games, the Oilers are 4-6-0 and they are riding a two-game losing streak. They are securely in last place in the Western Conference trailing the nearest team by 11 points. The Oilers have a 10-19-4 home record, and the Predators should take the Oilers very seriously. The Oilers have a habit of dropping wins in-between strings of losses that can break the hearts of playoff contenders. Just ask the Atlanta Thrashers.

The Bottom Line

If the Predators play their game, then they should be able to beat the Oilers. But if the Predators come into this game looking ahead to other opponents, then the Oilers will make them pay. The Oilers are a very young team that is still trying to find its way. But even the teams that seem lost can take a right turn once in a while. The Oilers are not getting great goaltending, their defense is slow and inexperienced and they do not have any real capable scoring forwards. But the Oilers do sell their arena out every night, and those fans can sometimes push the Oilers to do great things. The flashes of potential in Edmonton are few and far between, but if the Predators are not careful one of those flashes could knock Nashville down a notch in the playoff race.

Gambling Advisor blog Pick: Nashville Predators

In each of the last three weeks the team that was seeded No. 1 in the country at the beginning of the week suffered a loss and dropped down from that spot by the time that the rankings were next updated. The defending national champions will hope to avoid that same fate when they open their first week back at the top against the No. 24 Temple Owls on Wednesday night.

(24) Temple Owls @ Duke Blue Devils (1)

Wednesday February 23, 2011 – 7:00 PM ET

Cameron Indoor Stadium, Raleigh, North Carolina

Online Sports Betting
Odds: Duke – 14.5

The Blue Devils have won six in a row to regain the No. 1 ranking in the country, and establish a one-and-a-half game lead over the North Carolina Tar Heels for first place in the ACC. This will mark Duke’s final test against a ranked opponent before they finish the season with a showdown against the Tar Heels, one that they can make irrelevant by winning out from this point forward.

College Basketball Betting Preview: Temple

The Owls have earned the respect they feel they have deserved since the beginning of the season by putting together a seven-game win streak that has them at the top of the Atlantic 10 standings right behind first place Xavier. Temple hasn’t had many tough tests this season, but did manage to split its two games against ranked opponents so far with a win over Georgetown at home and a loss at Villanova. Junior guard Ramone Moore has been the team’s biggest offensive threat with an average of 15.4 points per game, but will face the best defenders he will see all college basketball betting year against the reigning national champions.

College Basketball Betting Preview: Duke

The Blue Devils understand very well just how important it is to win their next three games leading up to the finale with the Tar Heels, a game they do not want to play on the road with an ACC title on the line. Aside from a couple of upset losses, Duke has been very consistent this season and there is no reason to believe there will be another surprise down the stretch. The Blue Devils have won 34 straight games at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and have not lost there against a non-conference sports betting bonus opponent since 2000.

College Basketball Betting: Outlook & Pick

Temple is 0-7 at Cameron Indoor Stadium since they won their first meeting there all the way back in 1949, and it would be a stretch to say that they are capable of winning this game. The Blue Devils are playing their best basketball of the season, and very determined to make sure they clinch both an ACC title and the top spot in the country before their season finale against North Carolina. Duke will win this game, but the number is too high to take them against the pay per head spread.

College Basketball Betting Pick: Owls + 14.5

Those betting on March Madness should have an eye on the Big East, which has been acknowledged as the toughest conference in the country and on Thursday, we’ll get another meeting between arguably the two biggest rivals in the Big East. You know it’s heated when a rivalry is called the “Backyard Brawl”, so West Virginia and Pittsburgh should give us a great matchup.

West Virginia Betting – Thursday, 9:00 PM ET

The Mountaineers (17-9, 8-6) would likely roll in another conference as they seem to play a top-15 team every other game, and they flexed their muscles with a 72-58 win over Notre Dame at home on Saturday. Darryl “Truck” Bryant led the way with 24 points, while Joe Mazzulla chipped in with 16 points, seven assists and five boards for the Mountaineers, who shot just 40.7% from the field but they held the Fighting Irish to 35%. They also won this game at the foul line, where they went 20-of-27 while Notre Dame was 8-of-13. Baseball betting players would compare the Big East to the American League East, and West Virginia would probably be Toronto; they could win it, but they would be better off in another conference.

The No.4 Panthers (24-3, 12-2) became the latest team to fall at Madison Square Garden as they were edged 60-59 by St. John’s, and they were done in by 16 turnovers. Ashton Gibbs came off the bench but played 34 minutes, scoring a game-high 26 points, but he was the only Panther to notch more than seven points. Pitt was also brutal at the charity stripe, hitting just 10 of their 18 attempts, and those are the little things that can cost a team when March rolls around.

Betting services will likely favor the Panthers at home, where they have won five in a row SU, posting a 2-2-1 ATS mark. Three of those wins have come by three points or less, and it’s usually a close affair when these rivals get together. The Panthers will be going for the season sweep after a 71-66 win in Morgantown on February 7t in which they outrebounded the Mountaineers 39-25, and Gibbs wasn’t even in the lineup because of a knee injury. The Mountaineers will need Bryant to play like he did against Notre Dame as he has been cold shooting the rock this season, because we know Pitt has a proven scorer in Gibbs. This game will likely be won on the interior like the last meeting, and we think the Panthers will come out hungry because of the St. John’s loss, not that they needed any added motivation with West Virginia coming to town. Go with Pitt in your sports betting picks.

Online Sports Betting Overview

As the NCAA basketball betting continues and the 2011 NHL trade deadline approaches, every point in the NHL standings counts. When teams close in the conference standings get a chance to face each other, those games become highly contested. The New York Rangers currently sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference only two points ahead of the eighth place Carolina Hurricanes. This game is extremely important.

To this point, all of the teams involved in the melee for the last two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference are not helping their own causes. Every team from the seventh place Rangers down to the 10th place Atlanta Thrashers are on losing streaks. It looks like the team that can put together a respectable winning streak could secure its playoff future.

Carolina Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes have had the ninth place Buffalo Sabres and 10th place Thrashers breathing down their necks for two weeks now. The Sabres are unable to cash in on their current six-game home stand as they have lost the first three games. The Thrashers were well within reach of Carolina until the bottom fell out in Atlanta and the Thrashers went on a stretch where they only won two of 10 games.

The Hurricanes are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games, but they are 15-10-2 at home. The Canes had a chance to broaden their lead for the last playoff spot by six points if they could have beaten the surging New Jersey Devils. But the Hurricanes lost to the Devils and they lost in Carolina. Goaltending has started to become a problem with the Hurricanes, but the coaching staff is confident that Cam Ward can get back into form and the Hurricanes can start putting wins together again.

New York Rangers

The Rangers looked like they were ready to make a run to the top of the Eastern Conference and then the wheels came off. In their last 10 games the Rangers are 2-7-1 and are riding a two-game losing streak. However, the Rangers are 17-13-1 on the road and are still getting excellent goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist. It seems like the Rangers go through stretches where they cannot score goals, and they are currently in one of those streaks now.

The Rangers have been all over the map in this year’s NHL standings. They have been in the top part of the playoff race, and they have fallen dangerously close to being out of the playoffs. Their inconsistency is strange considering how much of a task-master head coach John Tortorella can be. The Rangers need this game to get back into a winning groove and head back up the Eastern Conference standings.

The Bottom Line

These two teams have been inconsistent all season long. But the Rangers have shown an ability to bounce back on the road. The Hurricanes may be feeling the pressure of trying to maintain the final playoff spot and could be starting to fade.

BSNblog Pick: New York Rangers

Betting Online Overview

The novelty of outdoor NHL games is wearing off. Once the novelty wears off you are left with the quality of hockey. When players are shivering from sub-zero temperatures and the ice is twice as hard as it should be, the quality of the game suffers. While some people were looking over the college basketball lines for the weekend, NHL fans were gearing up for the second outdoor game of the season – the Heritage Classic between the Calgary Flames and the Montreal Canadiens.

The betting services expected the Flames to win the game, but not by the margin that wound up being the final score. In a 4-0 win over the Canadiens, the Flames showed speed and strength throughout the game. But they did so in sub-zero weather on bad ice. Now the Flames need to see how they can handle a high-flying team like the Boston Bruins on good ice and indoors.

Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins were happy to see the Flames beat the Canadiens in the Heritage Classic, because the Montreal loss kept the Boston lead in the Northeastern Division at four points. The Bruins are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games and are currently riding a two-game winning streak. It was goaltending that was the Bruins undoing last year and, to this point, it has been goaltending that has put the Bruins on top. This year it is goaltender Tim Thomas with the hot hand in Boston, but his hand has been a bit cold lately.

In his last four decisions, Thomas is 1-3. In his one win in that stretch he allowed six goals against. So he has not exactly been sharp lately. His most recent losses were back to back four-goal games against the Detroit Red Wings and then the Toronto Maple Leafs. As Thomas goes so go the Bruins, and right now Thomas is not going so good.

Calgary Flames

It is nearly impossible to judge how a team is playing by one of the outdoor games. The Flames played well in the Heritage Classic, but because of the conditions the game seemed to be played in slow motion. The reality is that the Flames are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games and have a current winning streak of three games. They have a balanced scoring attack and are getting good goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff. The Flames are just a good team playing good hockey.

The strength of the Flames is at home where they are 18-9-3. But the Bruins are better on the road than at home, and are sporting an 18-7-4 road record. This sets itself up as a good game, but the Bruins recent goaltending problems could make this a blowout for the Flames if Jarome Iginla and the rest of the Flames scorers start to find their groove.

The Bottom Line

The Bruins are getting some help in maintaining their lead in the Northeast Division by the slumping Canadiens. The Flames will never catch the Vancouver Canucks for the Northwest Division lead, but Calgary is definitely building momentum heading into the playoffs.

Gambling Advisor Pick: Calgary Flames

Three nights after falling to Wisconsin 71-67 for their first defeat of the online sports betting season, the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes blasted the Michigan State Spartans 71-61 to pick up from right where they left off before their 24-game winning streak came to a sudden halt. While it will take a couple of more days to figure out just how significant the win was, and see if the Buckeyes can parlay that result, Ohio State’s victory was big for a couple of reasons.

William Buford led four Buckeyes’ scorers that finished with double-digit point totals, scoring 23 points in the victory. Although it doesn’t make up for the loss to the Badgers, the win is significant because it gets Ohio State back on track and keeps them as one of just two teams in the nation that have only one loss. The Buckeyes have now won 19 straight home games, and the argument will once again come up about just how good this team is. While Buford decided to take the spotlight for a change, leading pay per head scorer Jared Sullinger scored 11 points on just 3-of-8 shooting, a concern for the coaching staff. While the positive is that he didn’t need to be the team’s best player, Ohio State will only go so far unless he can come up with a better performance on a more consistent basis. David Lighty and Jon Diebler also finished in double digits for the Buckeyes, with Diebler’s two three-point shots tying him with Shawn Respert for the second most in Big Ten history at 331. The record is 332, which was set by Pete Lisicky of Penn State.

While Sullinger struggled, the team did a lot of things right and that should make an impact when the votes are tallied after next week. While the No. 3 Texas Longhorns have already garnered recognition ahead of the Buckeyes in the USA Today Coaches Poll, there has to be an issue of whether they and the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks deserve to be seeded so high. The Jayhawks have already garnered concern after falling to the unranked Kansas State Wildcats on the same day that they were awarded with the top sports betting bonus position in the country, and that will be weighed in when the rankings are updated next weekend.

Still, there are big NCAA basketball betting question marks about whether or not the Buckeyes are the team that deserves that top spot. There is still the No. 4 Pittsburgh Panthers and the No. 5 and reigning national champion Duke Blue Devils that will also get consideration. All five teams have earned the right to have arguments made in their favor for the upcoming March Madness tournament, which is right around the corner. However, the question remains about just where the Buckeyes should stand right now, and where they will finish when it is all said and done.

Sports Betting Overview

Even people that are only involved in NCAA basketball betting are trying to figure out how the Philadelphia Flyers got shut out at home by the Los Angeles Kings over the weekend. As the NHL trade deadline approaches, it is doubtful that the Flyers will be buyers or sellers in the open market. But the betting services are thinking that the shut out loss to the Kings will be more of a wake-up call for Philadelphia than a foreshadowing of bad things to come.

The last time the Tampa Bay Lightning stepped on the ice, they won a very important divisional game over the Carolina Hurricanes. But that was three days ago. Sustaining momentum can be difficult with more than a day or two off in between games. The Lightning trail the Flyers by four points in the Eastern Conference standings, and this game can go a long way to helping to determine who will take the top spot as the playoffs get closer.

Philadelphia Flyers

The only thing the Flyer have to worry about when it comes to the shut out loss to the Kings is that the Kings were really on a roll and the Flyers could not stop them. It is the same problem the Flyers has in the playoffs last year. The Chicago Blackhawks were really on a roll, and the Flyers could not stop them. But the Flyers know how important this game is, and they intend to put some space between themselves and the Lightning. Despite the loss to the Kings, the Flyers are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games. Even more impressive is the fact that the Flyers are 17-6-3 on the road. The Flyers have a better road record than home record. A team that is that comfortable on the road has a very good shot at getting back on track in an opponent’s building.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning are an extremely tough team at home. This season, Tampa Bay is 19-6-2 at home. The Lighting are also 3-0 this season against the Flyers, and the Lightning have been able to score against the Flyers while shutting the Philadelphia offense down. Tampa Bay is the one team that the Flyers do not want to play in the regular season or in the playoffs. As the trade deadline approaches, the Lightning are not looking to make any moves at all. That means that the Flyers may have to deal with this Tampa Bay team in the playoffs, and it could be Philly’s Achilles heel.

The Bottom Line

The Flyers need this game, but after getting shut out by the Kings the Flyers are vulnerable. They are especially vulnerable against a Tampa Bay team that just shut Philadelphia out two weeks ago. Flyers fans may have to accept the fact that the Lightning has their number and that this could be a big problem for the Flyers. The Lightning are coming off of an emotional win just a few days ago, and they will find a way to use that to their advantage against the best team in the Eastern Conference.

BSN Sports Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning

Betting Online Preview

People in Western New York cannot really bet on college basketball like other major metropolitan areas because there isn’t any big time college basketball there. The sports betting bonus for Buffalo basketball fans is the ability to bet on teams all over the country with price per head betting services. NHL hockey is the thing to bet on in Buffalo, and the Sabres have been driving Buffalo sports fans crazy all season long. Goaltender Ryan Miller looks extremely human this season and far-removed from his Vezina season of a year ago. The Sabres got off to a very slow start, but are now battling for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Montreal Canadiens took a chance, again, on goalie Carey Price and this time it has paid off. The Canadiens trail the Boston Bruins by one point for the lead in the Northeastern Division, and are looking to continue their dominance over the Buffalo Sabres in this important divisional home game.

Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens are 3-1 against the Sabres this season and look to extend their season record against the Sabres at home. In their last 10 games, the Canadiens are 5-3-2, but at home this season the Canadiens are 19-7-5. Carey Price got a shut out in his last start, but he gave up 11 goals in the previous two start combined. Considering how well the Sabres have been scoring lately, Price will have to pick up his game to try and earn the win in this game.

The Canadiens offense has been stagnant all season long. Montreal has scored 151 goals this season, and that is by far the lowest total among all of the teams currently in playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. It is also 11 goals less than the Sabres have scored. The Canadiens are living by their defense, and that is not going to sustain a winning streak in the NHL.

Buffalo Sabres

As goaltender Ryan Miller continues to disappoint, forward Drew Stafford has continued to impress. Stafford has four hat tricks in his last 20 starts. His last two hat tricks came nearly back to back last week. Stafford has had the hot scoring hand and younger players such as Nathan Gerbe and Tyler Ennis are starting to have a major impact on the Sabres season.

Ryan Miller allowed 7 goals, many of then weak, in a recent overtime loss to the New York Islanders. Miller could be getting tired as he has started 31 games in a row, or he could be falling back on the bad habits that plagued his 2008-2009 season. The defense playing in front of Miller is not playing well at all, and it could be discouragement at a terrible defense that is getting to last year’s Vezina Trophy winner.

The Bottom Line

The Sabres are incredibly difficult to predict lately. They are beating teams they should be losing to and losing big to teams they should be beating. The Sabres desperately need the two points. Both goalies are playing horribly lately, but the Sabres stand a better chance of rebounding to win this game based solely on their ability to score goals as of late.

BSNblog Pick: Buffalo Sabres

Sports Betting Overview

The Pittsburgh Penguins are done competing with the Super Bowl 45 betting fever that gripped the city of Pittsburgh, but that does not mean that the Penguins are catching any breaks. The sports betting bonus world found out that the injury that star center Evgeni Malkin suffered in a recent game against Buffalo is season ending. For the next few weeks it will be no Geno and no Crosby in Pittsburgh.

The Columbus Blue Jackets keep taking one step forward and then two steps back in their attempt to climb the NHL standings into a Western Conference playoff spot. The most recent Columbus move was one step forward as the team is on a two-game winning streak. Now it just needs to avoid the two steps back to push towards a playoff spot.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins are a physical hockey team. It almost looks as though the remaining players in the wake of the Crosby and Malkin injuries feel that intimidation and hard-hitting is the only way they will be successful. Against the Sabres, the Penguins were physical all over the ice and inviting some bad penalties that, luckily for Pittsburgh, were never called. But the Penguins players spent a lot of time picking fights with the Sabres, and targeting the Sabres smaller players for cheap shots. It just doesn’t look like the class act we are used to seeing in Pittsburgh when Crosby and Malkin are not out there.

In goal, Marc-Andre Fleury has been solid lately. He has won three of his last four starts, including a shut-out win over the New York Islanders. He is looking like the Stanley Cup goaltender the Penguins are used to, and they will need him to be big the rest of the season with the uncertainty on the Penguins’ forward lines.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Jackets have had great goaltending from Steve Mason at times, and then they have had horrible goaltending from Mason. Luckily for the Blue Jackets, lately the goaltending has been excellent. Mason is 3-2 in his last five games and that includes a shut-out of the Detroit Red Wings. The defense in front of Mason has also been playing better of late, and that is helping to keep the goals against down.

The problem for the Blue Jackets all season long has been getting critical goals when needed from top players. The Jackets are in the bottom half of the league in goal scoring, and they have one of the worst power plays in the NHL. This game could be a chance for the Jackets to get themselves back up to speed and start pushing for the playoffs.

The Bottom Line

It is no small feat to shut out the Detroit Red Wings as the Columbus Blue Jackets did last week. The Jackets have the strength to match the physical play of the Penguins, and without Crosby or Malkin, the Jackets can also score along with the Penguins.

BSNblog Pick: Columbus Blue Jackets

Betting Online Preview

The Buffalo Sabres have been beating the lower-ranked teams in the NHL without much problem. The last Sabres game was a 6-2 win over the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs. But when it comes to teams with speed and skill, the Sabres are often found standing around in their own end watching their goaltender Ryan Miller taking a barrage of shots. For a team with the speed that the Sabres have, their one weakness seems to be playing against teams with speed.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have gone from the basement to the penthouse in just one season. Last year, it was not fun to watch a Tampa Bay Lightning game if you were a Tampa Bay fan. This year, the team is tops in the Eastern Conference and look poised to make an impressive playoff run. There have been changes in Tampa Bay that have caused this transformation, but many of the key players remain the same as they have always been. It is still all about Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier in Tampa Bay, and with leadership like that it is no wonder the Lightning are succeeding this year.

Buffalo Sabres

The long wait for Sabres players and fans is finally over as it was officially announced that billionaire Terry Pegula will buy the team as soon as the NHL approves the sale. Pegula has already given GM Darcy Regier a list of players he does not want traded. While the sale to Pegula should be a good thing, it has been a sort of a distraction in one area. Darcy Regier signed a contract extension before the season started, but head coach Lindy Ruff did not. There is a great deal of speculation as to what the future of the longest-tenured head coach in the NHL will be, and that has to be weighing on the Sabres.

Buffalo is getting NHL scores from some unexpected places this season. Rookie Tyler Ennis has 28 points so far this season, and tough guy Cody McCormick has scored seven goals this season. Power forward Paul Gaustad, known more for his checking than scoring, has scored three goals in the last four games. But until the Sabres get consistent results from highly paid goal scorers such as Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville, the Sabres will have problems beating the better teams in the league.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning are a potent team. They have several key pieces that fit together very well. Steven Stamkos is having another sports online betting blockbuster year with 40 goals and 32 assists in 54 games played. Veteran Martin St. Louis has 20 goals and 44 assists so far this season and has put up points in three of his last five games.

Tampa Bay is 7-3-0 in its last 10 games and 18-5-2 at home. Tampa has the best home record in the Eastern Conference, and they are battling Philadelphia for the overall lead in the conference standings.

The Bottom Line

The Lighting are a good home team and the Sabres are a good road team. But the Sabres defense has been lousy all season long, and they constantly look out of position. With the speed that the Lightning has, the Sabres may not stand much of a chance in this game.

BSN Sports Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning

Super Bowl Betting – Quarterbacks Lead Offensive MVP Candidates

Super Bowl Free PicksThe biggest Super Bowl betting prop in your sportsbook will likely be the prop for the Most Valuable Player award, and it should be no surprise that the quarterbacks lead the way in terms of favorites as 23 pivots have won in 45 Super Bowls. Here is a look at the favorites when it comes to offensive players.

Super Bowl Betting – Sunday, 6:00 PM ET

Aaron Rodgers (+130): The Green Bay quarterback has been the best player in the playoffs so far, so it would be no surprise if he ended up claiming this award if the Packers win their fourth Super Bowl. The Packers have gotten a running game in the playoffs with James Starks, but the Steelers are the NFL’s best against the run, so if Green Bay is going to win, it’ll be either the defense or Rodgers’ arm.

Ben Roethlisberger (+325): Pittsburgh’s quarterback has won two Super Bowls in seven seasons, but no MVPs, and some NFL playoff betting players think he deserved the MVP in 2009, although Santonio Holmes was very deserving. The Steelers have a much better running game so Roethlisberger doesn’t have to shoulder such a big load, which hurts his chances, but we all know he’s capable of a big game.

Rashard Mendenhall (+650): This running back may be the best weapon that the Steelers have, as he can allow them to control the clock, which keeps the Packers’ offense on the sidelines and increases their chances of winning. The Steelers are 4-0 this season when Mendenhall rushes for 100 yards or more, so look for him to get the ball early and often in Dallas.

Greg Jennings (+1200): The wide receivers was a decent NFL pick in the second round of the 2006 draft, but no one expected him to explode as he has become Rodgers’ favorite target. This would be like Holmes winning in 2009; if Rodgers has a big day, Jennings will be the biggest beneficiary, and his ability to go over the middle as well as stretch the field will be a major concern for the Steelers.

James Starks/Mike Wallace (+1500): Starks needs to have a massive game to have any chance of winning the MVP, but as we said before, the Steelers are the best in the league when it comes to defending the run. Wallace has been kept largely quiet in the postseason, but he’s still the best deep threat in the league, and definitely in this game. He’ll be covered by a number of defenders, and likely two on deep routes with safety help, but if you were looking to make a longshot bet, Wallace would definitely be a great pick in your online sportsbook.

Super Bowl XLV PicksThose who bet on Super Bowl odds will definitely be looking at the vast amount of props available, and the most popular prop will likely be the Most Valuable Player Award, where there are plenty of candidates on both sides of the ball. Here are the top contenders, and who we think will come out on top.

Bet On Super Bowl –Sunday, 6:00 PM ET

Aaron Rodgers (+130)

The Green Bay quarterback has been the postseason MVP so far, and if the Packers win, it’ll be a tremendous upset if he does. Rodgers is looking to become the 24th quarterback to win this award, and he’ll have a major say in Green Bay’s fate, given that they have a rookie at running back in James Starks, who just emerged about a month ago.

Ben Roethlisberger (+325)

Rodgers’ counterpart in Pittsburgh is going for his third Super Bowl in seven seasons, but he’s never won the Super Bowl MVP. Those doing some NFL betting online will say that Roethlisberger should have won the award in 2009, but he gets another chance and Roethlisberger has shown he can put the team on his back.

Rashard Mendenhall (+650)

Roethlisberger’s load will be substantially less if the Steelers can get Mendenhall off and running, and that would be a good thing; the burly running back has four 100-yard games this season, and the Steelers are a perfect 4-0 in that time. Some making NFL predictions think that Mendenhall is the most important factor in Pittsburgh’s success, and they’re probably not that far off.

Greg Jennings (+1200)

Much like Santonio Holmes in 2009, Jennings is in a great position because if Rodgers has a good game, Jennings will likely have a good game. Jennings may be the best receiver in the league that no one talks a lot about, but we’re sure the Steelers will be going over their gameplan to stop the versatile wide receiver who seems to get better each and every game.

Any Defensive Player (from +1200 up)

Only seven defensive players in 45 Super Bowls have won the MVP award, and this year’s candidates are led by Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu, who just won the Defensive Player of the Year award. His main challengers should be Green Bay’s Charles Woodson, who was last year’s DPOY, and Clay Matthews, who many feel should have won this year. On the Pittsburgh side joining Polamalu, James Harrison is looking to have another big Super Bowl after his 100-yard return became the longest play in the game’s history in 2009. It’s a longshot that a defensive player will actually win the award, but these are all good choices if you’re looking to make a darkhorse online sports bet.

Super Bowl Props Betting

Super Bowl Odds to WinThe best online sportsbook enthusiasts know that sometimes the fun in Superbowl betting is the prop bets made on the side. There are many prop bets to choose from with the sportsbook promo experts, but here are some NFL predictions you can use to help you make a little extra money with your prop bets for this upcoming Super Bowl.

First Player To Score The First Touchdown

The top three players with the best odds for scoring the first touchdown in Super Bowl XLV are:

  1. Rashard Mendenhall - Steelers (+500)

  2. Mike Wallace – Steelers (+700)

  3. James Starks – Packers (+700)

Starks has been a key player in the Packers’ run to the Super Bowl, but even with 263 rushing yards in the Packers three games Starks only has one touchdown. He may score a touchdown in this game, but it will not be the first one.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is not going to come out throwing the ball a lot to start this game. He will need to adjust to the speed of the Packers defense, and the best way to do that is to hand the ball off. That eliminates wide receiver Mike Wallace as the first player to score a touchdown in this game. Because of the ability they have shown for long opening drives, the Steelers will probably score the first touchdown. It may be a keeper by Roethlisberger, but more than likely it will be a rushing touchdown by Rashard Mendenhall.

Super Bowl MVP

The odds-on favorite to win Super Bowl XLV MVP honors is Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (+150). The second in line is Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (+200). If you believe that the Packers will win this game, then it will be very difficult to bet against Aaron Rodgers as the MVP. Clay Matthews (+1500) is a long-shot to win MVP honors, but if a linebacker was ever going to be the Super Bowl MVP then it would be Matthews. But go with Rodgers on this one. By the time the game is over, Rodgers will have done more than enough to be considered the most valuable player in the game.

Ben Roethlisberger’s Passing Fate

One of the more interesting prop bets for Super Bowl XLV is whether Ben Roethlisberger will throw a TD pass first, or an interception. The odds are +160 that Roethlisberger will throw an interception before he throws a touchdown pass and -200 that he will throw a touchdown first.

Big Ben will air the ball out more in Super Bowl XLV than he has in any of the other two Pittsburgh playoff games, and that definitely opens up the flood gates for speculation. Roethlisberger is famous for making up pass plays as he goes along, and he is also bold enough to throw the ball in the direction of Charles Woodson early. Look for Ben to throw an interception first, and look for Woodson to be the one to pick it off.

There is a list of odds on what will happen with Ben’s first pass of the game. The odds are -220 that the first Roethlisberger pass will be complete, +170 that it will be incomplete and +1200 that it will be an interception. Roethlisberger knows how to win Super Bowls, so look for his first pass of the game to be a completion.

Super Bowl OddsThe sports wagering sites love to add interest to big events such as Super Bowl 45 betting by throwing in a long list of props bets. Aside from the usual action on NFL scores each week, betting enthusiasts should check out the props bets for some fun side wagers that could result in extra winnings. This year the pay per head sportsbook experts have a long list of interesting prop bets to choose from. Here is a preview of some of the best props bets this year.

Will Aaron Rodgers Throw An Interception?

It is rare that you will find the odds on a props bet like this in favor of the quarterback avoiding an interception. The odds are -160 that Rodgers will throw an interception, and +130 that he will not. Considering the fact that safety Troy Polamalu will be wandering the secondary causing a long list of problems for Rodgers, the chances are very good that Aaron Rodgers will throw at least one interception in Super Bowl XLV.

Will Rashard Mendenhall Score A Touchdown?

Pittsburgh running back Rashard Mendenhall has scored a rushing touchdown in each of the Steelers two playoff games this year. He also has at least one touchdown in 11 of the Steelers 16 regular season games. The odds that Mendenhall will score a touchdown in Super Bowl XLV are -170 and the odds that he will not are +140. Go with the odds on this one. The Steelers will turn to Mendenhall a lot to move the ball in this game, and he will score at least one touchdown in Super Bowl XLV.

Will Hines Ward Score A Touchdown?

The odds are +155 that Pittsburgh receiver Hines Ward will score a touchdown and -190 that he will not. The odds are stacked against Ward because he has been all but invisible in these playoffs. Ward has a total of 39 receiving yards in the playoffs, but he does have one touchdown. In 2005, Hines Ward was a major component of the Steelers win in Super Bowl Xl over Seattle. But in 2008, Ward only had 43 receiving yards against the Arizona Cardinals. The Packers will find ways to hide Hines Ward in the secondary, and that means no touchdowns for Hines Ward in Super Bowl XLV.

Will Mike Wallace Score A Touchdown?

Pittsburgh wide receiver Mike Wallace is only in his second year in the NFL. The kid is young and had an outstanding regular season. But in the playoffs, he has been shut down. The odds that Mike Wallace will score a touchdown in Super Bowl XLV are +120, and the odds that he will not are -150. Wallace is due. He is too explosive to be kept in check for the entire playoffs. In the 2010 post-season, Wallace has a grand total of 26 receiving yards. Look for Wallace to break out of his slump and put a touchdown on the board in Super Bowl XLV.