NHL playoff picks: Hawks good value in pivotal Game 3
Dave Sandford / National Hockey League / Getty

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We had our first losing day of the play-ins on Tuesday, but we've still brought home a nice profit since the NHL returned. Frankly, we're winning every day we get to sit and watch hockey for 14 straight hours.

But it helps to win money, and I'm feeling good about Wednesday's card.

Nashville Predators (-145) @ Arizona Coyotes (+125)

Game 2 was a weird one for the Coyotes, who found themselves in a hole after the first period and couldn't recover. Nashville had just three scoring chances and one high-danger chance through 20 minutes, compared to eight and six for Arizona. The Coyotes led the Predators 1.25 to 0.39 in expected goals for, yet trailed 2-0 at the end of the first period.

It was a mixture of bad puck luck and an uncharacteristic showing for Darcy Kuemper, who will be beating himself up over a pair of goals he'd undoubtedly like back. The good news for Kuemper and the Coyotes is the back-to-back scenario allows them to have a short memory.

Being the home team doesn't mean much in terms of the setting, but Arizona head coach Rick Tocchet gets that valuable second change here. He will be able to pick the defensive matchups while freeing his offensive playmakers to get after a Predators blue line that's vulnerable beyond its top pairing. Combined with a strong bounce-back from Kuemper, the Coyotes will steal a pivotal Game 3.

Pick: Coyotes (+125)

Edmonton Oilers (-140) @ Chicago Blackhawks (+120)

The Oilers' stars were shining Monday night as they evened the series in an entertaining 6-4 win that saw Connor McDavid pot a hat trick. It was a huge victory for the Oilers to get a split at home, as they get set to, well, stay home for Games 3 and 4, as the visiting team.

Silly, right? Not entirely. Wednesday's game is in Edmonton, but being the home team will suit the Blackhawks and coach Jeremy Colliton. The bench boss will be able to utilize that second change to isolate better matchups for his scorers and get his best defensive players on the ice to avoid another McDavid masterclass.

We can trust Colliton to put his best five out there to slow McDavid. He did it during the regular season, where the Oilers lost both road games against Chicago. McDavid failed to register a single point in both losses. Look for the Blackhawks to emphasize neutral-zone defending, learning from their mistakes as they take a big step toward pulling off the series upset.

Pick: Blackhawks (+120)

(Odds source: theScore Bet)

Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.

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NHL playoff picks: Hawks good value in pivotal Game 3
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