All picks made by Chris Clegg, NPHL.com writer. Lines are set by David Temple, former NPHL linesman and avid NPHL fan. Starting next week, picks will not be made by week; they will be made 1 or 2 days before games. Previews and picks will include expanded game notes. Enjoy! So far this season, I’m a sizzling 9-1 straight up and 8-2 against the line.
Falher at High Prairie [Thu., Nov. 15]
LINE: Falher by 3 1/2
The first of six meetings this season. FAL has won 14 straight games at home vs HP but this game is in HP. HP won the last two at home vs FAL last season 13-6 and 7-3 after losing the previous 12 straight. That’s 26 of 28 wins for FAL overall. And, FAL has covered the current line in seven of the 12 wins in HP. It’s difficult to see HP winning this game. FAL appears even stronger than last season and HP is clearly going with a younger team. That means growing pains, like those suffered in FSJ. The line is too low. FAL to win and cover.
Dawson Creek at Fort St. John [Fri., Nov. 16]
LINE: Fort St. John by 1 1/2
The first of six meetings this season. There is an interesting stat to ponder when these BC powers meet. Last season, DC won the first two games 5-3 in November and 6-0 in December but lost the last three games 6-3, 7-1 and 5-3 in January. The previous season, FSJ won five of six. Expect a close game. FSJ has won four of the last six at home vs DC but only two covered the current line; the other two wins were by one goal 5-4 and 3-2. Of the last eight games in DC, the teams have split with three games decided by one goal and two more by two goals. When in doubt, go with the home team and pray for an empty net goal. FSJ to win and cover.
Grande Prairie at Falher [Fri., Nov. 16]
LINE: Falher by 1/2
The first of two meetings this season. An early season treat with the East champs meeting a Western power. Each team won at home last season with FAL winning 10-5 and GP 3-1. FAL’s home win halted a four-game winning streak for GP in FAL. In their history, GP has won six of eight in FAL. In six of those eight games, FAL has scored three goals or less. FAL has relied on firepower this season rather than defence. GP is simply a solid club. I think FAL is for real and can challenge the West. FAL to win and cover.
Fort St. John at Grimshaw [Sat., Nov. 17}
LINE: Fort St. John by 2 1/2
The first of two meetings this season. FSJ has not lost in GRIM since entering the NPHL in 2006. FSJ is a perfect 7-0 and GRIM has not scored more than three goals in any of the games. That will not get it done vs FSJ. However, and a big however, FSJ has only covered this line three times and only once in the last five visits to GRIM. I’ll go with recent history. FSJ to win but GRIM with the goals.
High Prairie at Grande Prairie [Sat., Nov. 17}
LINE: Grande Prairie by 6 1/2
The first of two meetings this season. HP has lost six straight games in GP since 2003. Before that, HP has won three straight but that was a long time ago. The line is high for a reason. GP has scored at least seven goals in each game. Since 2005, GP is 10-1 vs HP overall with four games covering the current line. The current stat which stands out is that GP has covered the current line at home three straight games and outscored HP 29-5. GP to win and – reluctantly, – to cover. Fatigue may set in a bit in this early season match with GP playing in FAL the night before.
Manning at Dawson Creek [Sat., Nov. 17}
LINE: Dawson Creek by 4 1/2
It’s already the second and final meeting this season in a scheduling quirk. DC won 3-1 in MAN Nov. 10 despite outshooting the Comets 54-25. This is a neutral site game in Fairview so no home advantage for DC. MAN won in DC last season 5-4 in a shootout and lost 4-3 the previous season. DC was 9-0 vs MAN in their history at home before last season’s loss with eight covering the current line. That was before Braden Gamble. I hate giving this many goals with Gamble in net so I will not. DC to win but MAN with the goals.
LAST WEEK’S RECORD STRAIGHT-UP: 4-1
LAST WEEK’S RECORD AGAINST THE LINE: 4-1
SEASON RECORD STRAIGHT-UP: 9-1
SEASON RECORD AGAINST THE LINE: 8-2