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Five games so far this season. Five home wins. Five perfect picks straight up. Four out of five against the line. A great start to the season! Dave Temple sets the lines. Of note, Temple was a half-goal out on two of fives line this season and 1 1/2 on a third.
Grande Prairie at Dawson Creek [Thu., Nov. 8]
LINE: Dawson Creek by 1 1/2
DC becomes the last team to open its season while GP split with FSJ, each winning at home, to open their seasons. It’s the first of six meetings this season. GP loves to play in DC. Last season DC swept GP 4-3 in both games but had to forfeit one. The first win snapped a GP winning streak in DC of 10 in a row dating back to 2010. Overall, GP has won 11 of 12 in DC. Oddly, DC has won four of their last six in GP so home ice doesn’t mean much in this series. The home team has won all five NPHL games this season. The streak stops here. I cannot ignore the recent history and GP’s success in DC. GP to win and take the goals.
Manning at Falher [Fri., Nov. 9]
LINE: Falher by 1 1/2
It’s the first of six meetings this season. MAN split their first two games while FAL defeated GRIM. The common opponent here is GRIM; FAL won 8-6 while MAN lost 5-1. FAL swept all four vs MAN last year winning 5-2 and 7-2 at home and 5-2 and 9-4 in MAN. FAL has won the last three at home vs MAN but before that MAN won three straight. Given recent history, and FAL’s firepower, the line is too low. FAL to win and cover.
Dawson Creek at Manning [Sat., Nov. 10]
LINE: Dawson Creek by 4 1/2
Inter-division play kicks off with DC at MAN; the teams also play the following Saturday to conclude the season series. DC won at MAN last year 7-0 but had to forfeit; but MAN won in DC 5-4 in a shootout. Not counting the forfeit, DC is 8-1 all-time at MAN [official record shows 7-2] with MAN’s lone 5-1 win coming in 2005. Of DC’s wins, every game was by at least three goals, and six of the seven by at least five goals. For some reason, MAN does not match up well with DC. This is a tricky pick. I hate giving all those goals with Braden Gamble in net but I will given the history. DC to win and – reluctantly – cover.
Falher at Grimshaw [Sat., Nov. 10]
LINE: Grimshaw by 1 1/2
The clubs return to GRIM for the second of six meetings this season; GRIM won 8-6 on Nov. 3. FAL, however, led 6-1 after two periods before GRIM rallied. The teams split in GRIM last season with FAL winning 5-3 and GRIM 8-4. FAL swept at home 8-6 and 12-6. Follow this: The teams have split the last two games in GRIM, the last six in GRIM, and the last eight in GRIM. Expect a competitive and close game. Seven of the last eight games in GRIM were decided by two goals or less [two games by one goal, five games by two goals]. Taking an upset, FAL to win and take the goals.
High Prairie at Fort St. John [Sat., Nov. 10]
LINE: Fort St. John by 7 1/2
HP enters their House of Horrors. HP has never defeated FSJ since they entered the NPHL in 2005, losing five straight in FSJ and being outscored 57-13. Two losses were by four goals, the other losses by 11 goals twice, and 14 goals. For the record, FSJ has won six straight in HP. Since the first HP vs FSJ game in 2005 which saw HP score seven goals in an 11-7 loss, HP has only scored five goals in a game once in 10 starts, and two goals or less six times. Last season, FSJ won at home 13-2 and in HP 4-1. FSJ to win and cover. Neither team is off to a good start by their standards.
LAST WEEK’S RECORD STRAIGHT-UP: 4-0
LAST WEEK’S RECORD AGAINST THE LINE: 3-1
SEASON RECORD STRAIGHT-UP: 5-0
SEASON RECORD AGAINST THE LINE: 4-1