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$FML's NHL Tuesday BEST Bet - 2/28

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Ottawa Senators vs. Detroit Red Wings

The past doesn’t always predict future results, but when these teams meet: Ottawa’s offense dominates. At least in the last 3 seasons. They’ve now scored 4 or more goals in 8 of their last 10 vs. Detroit, including a 6-goal beatdown last night.

Fast-forward 24-hours, and we get an exact rematch from last night: Same teams. Same city. Goaltenders will rotate (which theoretically benefits Detroit), but besides that: all signs point to Ottawa being the rightful favorite.

Looking at pricing: Senators ML is intriguing at -135, but I see better value in the player prop market. Yes – I’m looking at you, Claude Giroux assist. These are crucial games for standings positioning, which inspired me to watch last night’s match (purely as a fan), and Giroux was a man amongst boys out there. Dude was absolutely dialed in, playing inspired hockey. He posted 4-points in the match (1G, 3A) and could have easily had 5 or 6+ (he missed a breakaway of his own, and Tim Stutzle missed one set up by Giroux).

When Giroux, Tim Stutzle and Brady Tkachuk took the ice in 5v5, they forcefully controlled play, and Detroit couldn’t counter. According to, the trio captured 88% of scoring chances that arose when on the ice in 5v5, for example. Pure dominance. The Sens don’t always send these 3 players out together, but when they do: #28 accumulates assists. Especially lately. He’s averaging 1.5 assists per game when skating with these guys in 5v5 since January 1st. Lineups are subject to change, but Ottawa would be crazy to change anything tonight given the game’s importance.

Two risks worth noting before locking this in:

  1. Detroit’s better goaltender (Ville Huso) is back tonight, which lowers the ceiling on scoring potential; however, Ottawa scored 5x on Husso in their last meeting, easing my concerns a bit.
  2. Detroit’s coaching staff will absolutely try to make adjustments designed to slow down Giroux tonight; however, it’s very difficult to make these adjustments effectively in a 24-hour window on the road. Structural changes require practice time (which they don’t have today), and personnel-related adjustments can (and will) be countered. That is because in the NHL, home teams dictate the on-ice matchups. Specifically, they get the benefit of making the 2nd line change on any given whistle (meaning, if the road team switches personnel after a whistle, the home team has a chance to counter, but not vice versa).

Too-Long / Didn’t Read:

The past doesn’t always predict the future, but Claude Giroux was an absolute force last night, and tonight’s an exact rematch (down to the location) with massive playoff implications. Both sides are playing back-to-back, which could affect pace (and scoring potential) – not ideal, but I feel the risks are balanced by the idea Detroit can’t make meaningful adjustments in 24-hours on the road. Even if they hold Ottawa to 2-3 goals, Giroux could easily find the scoresheet. For a safer bet, consider taking him to get a point (which could cash with a goal); however, for my official play, I’m taking him to get an assist, which is the primary source of his points as a pass-first playmaker.

$FML Best Bet

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Claude Giroux over 0.5 Assists vs. Detroit @ +130
$1,000 No Sweat First Bet!