NHL Handicapping: Weekend Hockey Betting Primer
by Dave Schwab - 12/1/2011
The 2011-12 NHL schedule enters its third month and while the majority of the 30 teams continue to jockey for position in the marathon race to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a few teams have been able to separate themselves from the pack with not only their play on the ice, but also in terms of their return on the money line and overall record against the puck line.
The following is a look at which teams are hot in both of these areas and which ones are not, along with a couple of free picks for this Friday games.
Who is Hot
The Detroit Red Wings are starting to make a move in the Western Conference with six straight victories heading into Friday night’s game against Buffalo. They are currently tied with Chicago atop the Central Division with an overall record of 15-7-1 and 31 points. Even more impressive is Detroit’s +1506 return on the money line as a result of an 8-2 record in its last 10 games. It has also been profitable against the puck line with a record of 15-8.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are still the top team in the East with 32 points and a record of 14-7-4. They have the second highest return on the money line in the league at +1002 and are 14-11 against the puck line, but some of the early season luster has worn off despite the return of Sidney Crosby with a very average 5-4-1 record in their last 10 games.
A few other teams that continue to be a solid play on the money line are Minnesota at +824, Nashville at +771, Boston at +722, and the New York Rangers at +646. The Winnipeg Jets are +597 on the money line and a NHL-best 17-7 against the puck line.
Who is Not
The New York Islanders have been at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings all season long and at -1146 remain the biggest drain on the money line in the NHL, but the biggest disappointment so far this season has to be the Washington Capitals. They are 12-10-1 overall on the year, but they decided to fire their head coach, Bruce Boudreau, this week after the team posted a 3-6-2 record in its last 10 games. The Capitals have also been costly to wager on this year with a -1076 return on the money line and a league-worst 5-18 record against the puck line.
A few other teams that have been hard on the bankroll lately are Carolina at -1109, Columbus at -905, Tampa Bay at -890, and Colorado at -905. The Los Angeles Kings are -482 on the money line and have the second-worst record against the puck line at 8-16.
Friday’s Top Plays
The first game of interest sends the New Jersey Devils to Minnesota to face the red-hot Wild, who have won seven of their last nine games and currently have the most points in the Western Conference with 33. The Devils, on the other hand, are just 5-5 in their last 10 games and are coming off a 6-1 loss to Colorado this past Wednesday night as -114 road favorites.
These two met twice last season with each winning at home. The Wild come into this game with a goals-against-average of just 2.16 and a goals-per-game average of 2.24. New Jersey has scored a total of six goals in its last four games. While Minnesota should get the win at home, the top play in this matchup is the ‘under’.
The Pick: Minnesota 2, New Jersey 1
Friday’s night-cap has the Philadelphia Flyers out on the West Coast to face the Anaheim Ducks. The Flyers continue to plod along this season with an overall record of 13-7-3 and a 6-3-1 record in their last 10 games. Anaheim just snapped a seven-game winless streak with a 4-1 victory over Montreal, but decided to fire head coach Randy Carlyle along with a pair of assistant coaches after the team posted a dismal 2-12-4 record over its previous 18 games. The Ducks then went out and hired Bruce Boudreau as their new head coach after he was let go by Washington.
Despite the fact that Anaheim has won the last three games in this series, in a matchup of consistency verse upheaval stick with the Flyers all the way in this game.
The Pick: Philadelphia 4 , Anaheim 2
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