NHL All-Star Weekend Central vs Pacific predictions, picks and best bets: Connor Hellebuyck holds down the pipes
After Friday night’s skills competitions, the hype has escalated for the NHL all-star weekend. Rather than just a singular game, we’re blessed with a mini-tournament of sorts. The first puck drops this afternoon at 3:00 pm ET between the two Western Conference divisions — the Central and Pacific. The winner of that matchup goes on to face the winner of the Metro vs Atlantic in a championship game. We should be in for an exciting Saturday on the ice, so of course we made our favorite pick for the first semifinal.
Along with our NHL All-Star game best bets, be sure to check out all our upcoming NHL analysis for the second half of the season.
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Central vs Pacific Best Bet: Central ML (-125)
Of any market you could bet on across both semifinal matchups, this would be our favorite pick. After diving into the rosters, the Central Division looks far more balanced than the Pacific. Of course there will be incredible talent on both sides with this being an All-Star game, but there are some noteworthy differences. Right off the bat, the Central has 3 skaters from last year’s Stanley Cup winners — the Colorado Avalanche. Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen just teamed up to win the Splash Shot competition last night and Nathan MacKinnon is the one in the debate with Connor McDavid for the best skater in the world.
With so much talent on the ice, both teams are certain to find the back of the net. Therefore it’s more about which team can slow down the opposition more effectively. The clear edge there goes to the Central Division. Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has been arguably the best goalie throughout the first half of the season and just stuffed McDavid in the Breakaway Challenge last night. Meanwhile, Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner was named to the Pacific Division all-star team. That’s quite a surprise given that Edmonton was a bottom-10 goaltending team until just recently, and they are still in the bottom half of the league. That’s likely going to be the difference-maker in this first matchup, so I love the Central to advance to the final.
Be sure to check out our best bet from the Metro vs Atlantic semifinal.
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