NHL Handicapping: Weekend Hockey Betting Primer
by Dave Schwab - 10/28/2011
The NHL 2011-12 regular season is only about eight or nine games into each team’s 82-game NHL schedule, but there are already some solid betting trends that are starting to emerge. 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 Washington Capitals are easily the hottest team in the league with a perfect 7-0 straight-up start, but when it comes to betting on them, they are just 3-4 against the puck line and barely in the black on the money line at +27.
The team that has been hot both on the ice and at the sportsbook has been Pittsburgh. The Penguins are off to a 7-2-1 SU start. Even with Sidney Crosby still out of the lineup, they lead the league in scoring with 33 goals. They have also been a bettor’s dream with an 8-3 record against the puck line and a + $966 return on the money line.
Edmonton is off to a solid 4-2-2 SU start, which has translated to an early gold mine for anyone who has had the guts to wager on the worst team in the NHL last season. The Oilers are 7-1 on the puck line and are +$600 on the money line. They still cannot score worth a lick with a goals-per-game average of 1.88, but their defense has been one of the stingiest in the league with a goal-against-average of just 1.5. This has equated to a profitable return on the total line as well, with seven of Edmonton’s first eight games staying ‘under’.
Who is Not
Montreal is no stranger to slow starts, and this season has followed suit with a 2-5-2 SU record in its first nine games. The Canadiens have been costly to bettors as well with a 2-7 record against the puck line and a - $826 return on the money line.
Another team that has been an early drain on the wallet has been the Vancouver Canucks, who appear to be suffering from some lingering effects from last season’s heart-breaking loss in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Canucks are 4-5-1 SU on the year and just 2-8 against the puck line. They have also been costly on the money line with a -$665 return on investment.
Friday’s Top Plays
The first game on Friday night’s schedule has Chicago visiting Carolina in an interconference matchup. Chicago is off to a solid 5-1-2 SU start that has Blackhawk fans already dreaming of another Stanley Cup title.
It has gone 3-5 against the puck line and the total has been evenly split at 4-4. Carolina is 3-3-3 SU in nine games and 5-4 against the puck line. The total is also 4-4 in its first eight games.
While these two teams do not play one another that often, Chicago has always struggled against the Hurricanes with a 2-8-1 record in the last 11 meetings overall and a 0-5-1 record in its last six trips to Carolina. With a Hurricanes most likely opening as a mild home underdog on the money line, stick with the past trends in this series and take Carolina to win.
The Pick: Carolina 3, Chicago 2
The second game features two of the better teams in the West with San Jose visiting Detroit. These two last did battle in the second-round of last season’s playoffs with the Sharks ousting the Red Wings in seven games with a thrilling 3-2 victory as -124 home favorites in the series finale.
San Jose brings a three-game winning streak into Friday’s game and is now 4-3 SU (3-4 against the puck line) on the year. Detroit is off to a 5-2 start SU (4-3 against the puck line), but has lost its last two. You can rest assured that last year’s bitter loss is still fresh in the Red Wings’ minds, making them a solid play to get the win this time around on their home ice.
The Pick: Detroit 4, San Jose 3
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