In the late game on the first day of the 2011 NHL Playoffs the Anaheim Ducks will host the Nashville Predators at the Honda Center. Both teams are evenly matched and could go the full seven games.

Record 15-12 making 5.02 units

NHL free pick on the Anaheim Ducks as they take on Nashville.

My proprietary sports handicapping database and simulator shows a high probability that Anaheim will take Game 1 of this first round of seven game series.

Of all the matchups in both conferences this one has the greatest chance of going the full seven games to decide the series. Both teams are evenly matched overall, but will have significant advantages when playing on home ice. Although I have a slight lean on the Nashville Predators to win the series, Anaheim will take care of business tonight.

Since winning the 2007 Stanley Cup the Anaheim Ducks have had just one playoff series. The Ducks are the only team with four players scoring more than 70 points on the season. Corey Perry led the NHL with 50 goals and became only the third Duck ever to reach that level in goals scored. One of those players is 40-year old teammate Teemu Selanne, who had his best offensive season since the 2006-07 season.

Goal Tending Issues for the Ducks

Their leading net minder is Jonas Hiller, but he is suffering and recovering from vertigo, which is a horrible diagnosis, but the worst possible one for a goal tender. It is not a disease, but a symptom that gives the false sensation that the person or the room or in this case the arena is spinning. However, he is expected to be ready to play in this series and will not have any lingering effects.

Supporting System

Supporting this graded play on Anaheim is a system that has produced a record of 65-17 for 79.3% winners since 2005. The average play has been a favorite of -162, which nearly matches the NHL line for this game. This system has gone 10-3 making 5.1 units per one unit wagered this season. Play on home favorites against the money line off a win by two goals or more over a division rival facing an opponent off a road loss by two goals or more.

Simulator Projections

The Anaheim defense is projected to play well and the offense will get more than enough goals to win this game. In past games where Anaheim has allowed two or fewer goals in a game they are 35-3 making 37.6 units per one unit wagered this season, 99-10 making 102 units per one unit wagered, and 439-98 making 404.1 units per one unit wagered since 1996. Moreover, Anaheim is a solid 14-4 making 12.1 units per one unit wagered when scoring three goals in a game this season.

Coaching Angle

Anaheim’s head coach Randy Carlyle is in an excellent spot for this game noting he is 68-46 against the money line making 28.3 units per one unit wagered when facing disciplined and mistake free teams where opponents average four or fewer power plays per game with the game taking place in the second half of the season.

Take the Anaheim Ducks.