NHL Handicapping: Weekend Hockey Betting Primer With Free Picks
by Dave Schwab - 12/22/2011
All 30 teams in the NHL have played well over 30 games of an 82-game NHL schedule as the regular season grinds on with the start of winter. This amount of games provides more than enough statistical information to not only assess each team’s performance on the ice, but their performance against the puck line and return on the money line. While most of the teams fall somewhere in the middle of the pack in both categories, a few teams have separated themselves at the top and bottom of the list.
The following is a brief recap of the ‘hot and not’ teams in the NHL, along with a couple of free NHL picks for Friday’s games.
Who is Hot
The Detroit Red Wings have been a fixture at the top of this list for almost two months now. Despite Wednesday night’s 4-2 loss to Vancouver as +117 road underdogs, the Red Wings remain the most profitable team in the NHL with a +2015 return on the money line and a 21-12 record against the puck line. They are 5-2 in their last seven games and 21-11-1 overall. Detroit trails Chicago by five points in the Central Division with a total of 45.
The defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins are in prime form with five straight victories and an 8-2 record in their last 10 games. The Bruins lead the Northeast Division by nine points with a total of 45 points and have an overall record of 22-9-1. This success on ice has translated to a healthy + 1637 return on the money line, but just a better-than-average record against the puck line at 17-15.
A change of venue from Atlanta to Winnipeg as well as a name change to the Jets has proven to be a profitable transition as the Winnipeg Jets have the best record in the league against the puck line at 24-9 and a solid +1394 return on the money line. The Jets are 15-13-5 overall with 35 points and they are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.
Who is Not
The Tampa Bay Lightning have fallen into a category of their own when it comes to being a drain on the bankroll with a dismal -1934 return on the money line and a costly 12-21 record against the puck line. The Lightning are just 3-7 in their last 10 games and rapidly falling out of contention in the Southeast Division with an overall record of 14-17-2.
The Los Angeles Kings are 15-14-4 on the year and just five points behind Dallas and San Jose in the Pacific Division, but they have been a walking disaster to wager on with a NHL-worst 9-24 record against the puck line and a -1379 return on the money line.
Friday’s Free NHL Picks
Two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference butt heads this Friday night when the Philadelphia Flyers face off against the New York Rangers. The Flyers lead the Atlantic Division with 46 points and have an overall record of 21-8-4. They are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. The Rangers remain right on their tail in the division with 42 points. They have won six of their last 10 games and are 19-8-4 overall.
The Rangers drew first blood in this season’s series with a 2-0 victory as -128 home favorites on Nov. 26. It was their third-straight win over Philly after losing the previous four meetings dating back to November of last year. The Flyers got a huge boost from Claude Giroux’s early return to the lineup with a goal and three assists in his first game back. Look for him to stay hot as Philadelphia halts the Rangers’ streak at three.
The Pick: Philadelphia 3, New York 2
Turning to the Western Conference, the Calgary Flames pay a visit to Vancouver to take-on the Canucks. Calgary is just 1-4 in its last five games and an even 15-15-4 overall. The Canucks are coming off a 4-2 victory over Detroit on Wednesday night as -127 home favorites. They have won three straight and are now 7-3 in their last 10 games. Vancouver is 21-11-2 overall.
The Flames get their shot at the Red Wings at home on Thursday night before making the trip to Vancouver on Friday night. They are 6-10-2 on the road this season, while the Canucks are 10-4-1 at home. When you add in the fatigue of back-to-back games and a shaky road record with the fact that Calgary has lost nine of the last 10 games in this series including the first two this season, a play on Vancouver no matter how much it will cost you on the money line as a home favorite is a no-brainer.
The Pick: Vancouver 3, Calgary 1
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