Capitals vs. Bruins: Free Picks, Odds & Predictions

Washington Capitals vs Boston Bruins
Washington vs. Boston, Capital One Arena

The Washington Capitals have won 15 of their last 20 games to surge into a tie for the lead in the East Division, overtaking the struggling Boston Bruins in the process. Boston has alternated wins and losses in its last nine contests and have fallen into the fourth spot in the division as the Bruins continue their road trip Thursday in Washington. The Capitals and Bruins split their first four meetings, though Boston has claimed a point in each of the first four encounters, but this is a very different Bruins team. The lack of depth is starting to show in Boston and that is something the Capitals should be able to take advantage of on home ice.

Free Picks

Someone has to score goals for the Bruins, and lately it has been the duo of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand doing the heavy lifting. Marchand has scored in four of his last five games and has a point in 11 of Boston’s 18 goals over the last five games. The Capitals are still a team that struggles defensively with a team save percentage of .905 over the last 16 games to bring their season total up to .898. Marchand doesn’t shoot often, but he’s scoring on more than 21 percent of his shots. At +210 odds from the legal sports betting sites in New Jersey, I love the chances of Marchand scoring a goal given how central he’s been to the Bruins’ offense recently.

BRAD MARCHAND SCORES GOAL

Washington is one of the best offensive teams in the league with sharpshooters like Alex Ovechkin on the roster. The Bruins had been one of the best defensive teams, but the unknown status of top defenseman Charlie McAvoy worries me in this game. If the Bruins allow 42 shots like they did Tuesday against Philadelphia, then the Capitals are going to have a field day against Daniel Vladar. The rookie goalie has struggled a bit in his last two starts and he isn’t ready yet to assume the mantle as the No. 1 goalie, yet that is the situation with Tuukka Rask out with injury and Jaroslav Halak on the COVID list. If the Capitals weren’t consistently being outshot, I might push my luck a bit more, but as it stands, I’ll take the +145 odds from the hockey betting sites in New Jersey.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS OVER 3.5 GOALS

As poor as Boston has played at times in recent weeks, it still has earned points in eight of its last 10 games and lost just once by more than a single goal. It’s why I suspect the NHL betting sites in New Jersey are offering +133 odds on the Capitals to win in regulation because it is a challenge for the Bruins to lose in just 60 minutes recently. However, Washington is playing with a lot of confidence right now and that is just not something that can be said in Boston right now. Yes, the Bruins are winning, but they have not looked good in recent weeks and they are too one-dimensional when it comes to scoring. The Capitals have all the weapons and strengths to take advantage of Boston’s weaknesses, which is why I think the Capitals can get it done in 60 minutes Thursday night.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS WIN IN REGULATION

Best Odds

Washington Boston
888Sport
-121 +100
Caesars
-118 +100
BetMGM
-115 +100

Statistics

Head to Head

This is the fifth of eight contests this year between Washington and Boston with each team taking two of the first four meetings of the season. However, Boston has earned a point in all four contests with two wins in regulation and two defeats in overtime.

Stats

  • Washington has one of the best offenses in the NHL, but no team is better at capitalizing on their chances than the Capitals. They lead the league by scoring on 12 percent of their shot attempts yet they have taken the fourth fewest shots in the NHL this season.
  • Boston’s typical top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have scored 48 percent of the Bruins’ goals this season. Nick Ritchie is the only other Bruins player with at least 10 goals and only two other players have at least five this season for the offensively-challenged Bruins.
  • John Carlson ranks fourth in points among defensemen with 32 points and is one of five defensemen with at least 10 goals. Yet, he has a -6 plus/minus rating this season, including a -5 in four games this year against Boston.
  • Daniel Vladar has a .922 save percentage in four starts so far this season, but he’s also facing 29 shots per game. That wouldn’t seem bad if it weren’t three full shots more per game than the Bruins allowed when either Tuukka Rask or Jaroslav Halak is in net.

Our Prediction for Washington vs. Boston

Washington Capitals to win

There are obvious reasons why the Capitals are the smart pick in this game, notably how the two teams have performed since they last met. Washington has won 12 of its 16 games since playing Boston on March 5, and are outscoring opponents by nearly a goal per game. Meanwhile, the Bruins have won seven of their 15 games with five losses in regulation in three overtime defeats, and are getting outscored over that same span. Boston’s lack of consistent scoring depth is at the forefront of its struggles along with young defensemen making life hard for the rookie goaltenders. Washington is playing with confidence and looks like a group that can contend for the Stanley Cup this season.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

All Reviews by Josh Walfish

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