NHL Handicapping: Weekend Hockey Betting Primer
by Dave Schwab - 11/4/2011
The NHL 2011-12 regular season is a little more than a month old. While most of the 30 teams in the league are stuck in the middle-of-the-pack, there are a few teams jumping out to an early lead and a few that are already fading to the rear of the field.
The following is a look at who is hot and who is not along with a couple of picks for Friday night’s games.
Who is Hot
The Edmonton Oilers continue to be the early front-runner both on the ice and the on the puck line, money line, and total line. The Oilers are currently in first-place in the Northwest Division at 7-2-2 and tied for the most points in the Western Conference with 16.
They have also caught the oddsmakers off guard with their worst-to-first transformation with a 10-1 record against the puck line and a very profitable +900 on the money line. Edmonton has also provided a solid return for ‘under’ bettors on the total line with nine of its first 11 games staying ‘under’.
Another early-season surprise, who has been an early financial boon to anyone on their bandwagon is the Minnesota Wild. They are three points behind Edmonton in the Northwest with a record of 5-3-3. What landed them on this list is a 9-2 record against the puck line and a +841 return on the money line. The Wild have also been consistent on the total line with seven of their 10 games staying ‘under’.
Pittsburgh continues to be one of the hottest teams on the ice with a league-high 18 points and an overall record of 8-3-2. The Penguins have also provided a solid return with an 8-5 record against the puck line and + 766 on the money line. It is scary to think how good this team will be once Sidney Crosby is final cleared to return to the lineup.
Who is Not
The two biggest drains on the wallet have been St. Louis and Montreal.
The Blues are a respectable 5-6 overall and 4-7 against the puck line, but they are -627 on the money line. The Canadiens’ numbers are almost identical with a 4-5-2 record overall and a 4-7 record for the puck line. They are -626.
In an odd twist, the hottest team on the ice has been a financial disaster so far. The Washington Capitals lead the Southeast Division by three points with an 8-2 record, but they are just 3-7 against the puck line and -445 on the money line. This is probably a sign that the books have overrated them a bit.
Stanley Cup hangovers can be some of the worst, as highlighted in the case of the Boston Bruins. While it is far too early to draw any conclusions for the entire season, the Bruins are currently tied for last in the Eastern Conference with a 4-7 record and eight points. They are also 4-7 against the puck line, but just a minor drain on the money line at -96.
Friday’s Top NHL Picks
The first game on Friday’s slate is a Southeast Division clash between Washington and Carolina As mentioned above, the Capitals lead the division, but the Hurricanes are just three points behind at 5-4-3.
They are 7-5 against the puck line and -306 on the money line. Washington has won six of the last seven meetings, but the solid play in this one could be the ‘under’ on the total line, especially if it opens at 5.5 or less.
The total has stayed ‘under’ in the last four games played in Carolina and in seven of the last eight meetings overall.
The Pick: Washington 3, Carolina 1
The second ‘play of the day’ is the Colorado at Dallas in a matchup of two of the better teams in the Western Conference.
The Avalanche are 7-5 both SU and ATS and -246, while the Stars are 8-3 (7-4 ATS) and +263.
Past trends favor the Stars in this one as the home team in this series is 12-5 in the last 17 meetings and the Avalanche are just 3-7 in their last 10 trips to Dallas.
It also helps the Stars have been one of the stingiest teams in the league with a goals-against-average of just 2.09.
The Pick: Dallas 4, Colorado 2
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