NHL Handicapping: Weekend Hockey Betting Primer With Free Picks
by Dave Schwab - 12/16/2011
With over one third of the games of the 2011-12 NHL schedule already in the books, we now have enough information on all 30 teams to provide an excellent picture of which ones are the lead dogs in the race to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This hockey betting guide takes into consideration not only a team’s recent performance on the ice, but their performance in terms of their overall record against the puck line and return on the money line.
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The following is a look at a few teams which are hot in both of these areas and which ones are not, along with a couple of free NHL hockey picks for Friday’s games.
Who is Hot
The Detroit Red Wings could be considered hot with an 7-3 record in their last 10 games and three wins in their last four games, but what makes them white-hot is a NHL-best +2197 return on the money line and a 20-10 record against the puck line. The Red Wings are three points behind Chicago in the Central Division with an overall record of 19-10-1.
The defending-champion Boston Bruins got off to a slow start this year, but with a three-game winning streak of their own and a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games they have climbed to the top of the Northeast Division with 41 points and an overall record of 20-9-1. This reversal of fortunes has led to a very profitable +1506 return on the money line. However, the Bruins remain a very average 16-14 against the puck line.
One of the biggest surprises this season continues to be the Minnesota Wild. After finishing 12th in the Western Conference last season, they are currently at the top of the entire NHL with 44 points and an overall record of 20-8-4. The Wild has also been a veritable ATM machine this season with a +1465 return on the money line and a 22-10 record against the puck line.
Who is Not
By far, the biggest drain on the bankroll this season has been the Tampa Bay Lightning. Last season’s Cinderella of the Stanley Cup Playoffs are 13-16-2 with a total of 28 points and 3-7 in their last 10 games. The Lightning also have the worst return in the league against the money line at -1761 and a woeful 12-19 record against the puck line.
Another major disappointment as of late has been the Los Angeles Kings. They are 14-13-4 overall and just five points behind Dallas in the Pacific Division, but they have lost five of their last six games and are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. This downturn has resulted in a very costly -1196 return on the money line and a league-worst 9-22 record against the puck line.
Friday’s Top Plays
Toronto Maple Leafs (+124) vs. Buffalo Sabres (-136)
This traditional Northeast Division rivalry features a Toronto team that is 16-11-3 overall this season with 35 points and 5-4-1 in its last 10 games. It is ranked seventh in the league in scoring with an average of three goals a game, but has a goals-against average of 3.13. Buffalo is right behind in the division with 33 points and an overall record of 15-12-2, but has just three wins in its last 10 games.
The Maple Leafs have won the last three meetings but are just 4-13 in the last 17 games of this series. The total has stayed ‘under’ in nine of the last 12 meetings in Buffalo. Past trends favor the Sabres, but stick with current form as Toronto strikes first blood in this season’s series with a win on the road.
The Pick: Toronto 4, Buffalo 3
Anaheim Ducks (+183) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (-202)
Despite changing its head coach a few weeks back, Anaheim continues to struggle with a 3-6-1 record in its last 10 games. It is mired at the bottom of the Pacific Division with just 23 points and an overall record of 9-16-5. Chicago continues to set the pace in the Central Division with 42 points and a record of 19-8-4. The Blackhawks are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and bring a three-game winning streak into Friday night’s contest.
The Blackhawks have already beaten the Ducks twice this season -- once at home and once on the road. They have been rock-solid at home so far with a 9-2-3 record, while Anaheim remains one of the worst road teams in the league at 2-7-4. The home team in this series is 12-5 in the last 17 meetings and the Ducks are just 2-6 in their last eight trips to Chicago.
The Pick: Chicago 5, Anaheim 3
Doc’s Sports has been blazing up the ice with our NHL picks. We are on a current 34-15 run for NHL predictions and $100 bettors are up more than $7,000 during that stretch. We have a 5-Unit NHL Game of the Week going on Friday and you can get this pick for just $30. Click Here to purchase.
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