The Washington Capitals (22-9-9) visit the Boston Bruins (22-12-2) Thursday. Puck drop at TD Garden is set for 7 p.m. ET. Below, we look at the Capitals vs. Bruins odds and lines, and make our expert NHL picks, predictions and bets.
The Capitals have had a rough January with just two wins in seven outings. They picked up a 4-3 overtime win at home over the Winnipeg Jets last time out Tuesday as LW Alex Ovechkin scored for the third consecutive game and extended his point streak to five games.
The Bruins had a five-game win streak snapped Tuesday when they dropped a 7-1 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes on home ice. G Tuukka Rask allowed 5 goals on just 12 shots before getting the hook and will not be between the pipes Thursday. Boston won at Washington 7-3 Jan. 10.
Capitals at Bruins odds, spread and lines
Odds provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated at 5:24 p.m. ET.
Money line: Capitals +140 (bet $100 to win $140) | Bruins -175 (bet $175 to win $100)
Against the spread (ATS): Capitals +1.5 (-175) | Bruins -1.5 (+135)
Over/Under (O/U): 5.5 (O: -130 | U: +105)
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Capitals at Bruins projected goalies
Vitek Vanecek (8-4-5, 2.49 GAA, .911 SV%, 1 SO) vs. Linus Ullmark (13-5-0, 2.52 GAA, .917 SV%)
Vanecek allowed 3 goals on 33 shots in the overtime win against the Jets Tuesday and recorded his lone shutout of the season with 23 saves two starts back at the New York Islanders. Vanecek came in relief and allowed 3 goals on 15 shots to the Bruins Jan. 10.
Ullmark has picked up wins in all six of his January starts, although he’s allowed 3 goals apiece in four of those games and has been granted plenty of goal support – including his Jan. 10 start against the Capitals. However, the Swede hasn’t allowed more than 3 goals in a start since Nov. 11.
Capitals at Bruins odds, lines, picks and predictions
Bruins 4, Capitals 3
The BRUINS (-175) are right on the edge of a safe money line play at this price as I expect them to get back on track against a Washington squad that’s struggled all month. Boston was embarrassed at home Tuesday and will come out strong and get back on track against a team they handled just 10 days ago.
I’d bet BRUINS (-175), but I’d certainly consider a pass if the line gets much steeper.
Against the spread
The Capitals insurance price (+1.5, -175) is just too steep for a line that could be ruined with an empty-net goal in the waning minutes of play. The Bruins price (-1.5, +135) isn’t enticing enough to chase a multi-goal victory against a team of the Capitals’ caliber, even if they are in a slump.
The OVER 5.5 (-130) is my favorite play in this game.
The Over is 7-2-1 for Boston in January, and it’s hit in three of the Caps’ last four games. Both squads are sporting netminders that are comfortable letting in 3 goals, and both squads sport offensive production that can help push the tempo.
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