NHL Handicapping: Weekend Hockey Betting Primer With Free Picks
by Dave Schwab - 1/12/2012
The NHL regular season presses on as the top teams in the league continue to jockey for position in their respective conference. A few teams have separated themselves from the pack as proven money makers while a few others continue to be major drains on the bankroll.
NHL Weekend Betting Guide- Jan. 12
The NHL continues to grind its way through a marathon 82-game regular season schedule as teams battle it out night after night for one of the top eight spots in their respective conference for a ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We now have a clear picture of the lead teams in this race in terms of not only how a team has performed on the ice, but what kind of return it has provided against the puck line and on the money line. While a good majority of the teams are mired in the middle of the pack in both categories, a few have separated themselves at both the top and bottom of the list.
The following is a brief re-cap of the ‘hot and not’ teams in the NHL, along with a couple of free hockey picks for Friday’s games.
Who is Hot
The Detroit Red Wings have held the top spot on this list for the last two months, but there have been a few cracks in the foundation lately with a 5-5 record in their last 10 games and two losses in their last three games. Nonetheless, the Red Wings have still provided the best return in the league on the money line at +2158 and have a profitable 25-17 record against the puck line. Detroit is currently two points behind Chicago and St. Louis for the lead in the Central Division with 53 points and it has an overall record of 26-15-1.
The Boston Bruins remain in championship form with an 8-2 record in their last 10 games and an overall record of 27-11-1. They currently lead Ottawa by three points in the Northeast Division with a total of 55 points. This success on the ice has led to a healthy +1853 on the money line, but Boston is just barely over .500 against the puck line at 21-18.
The hottest team in the league right now is the New York Rangers with five straight victories and 10 wins in their last 11 games. They now lead the Eastern Conference in points with 58 and have an overall record of 27-9-4. What makes this team really attractive is a +1707 return on the money line and a profitable 24-16 record against the puck line.
Who is Not
A couple of teams to avoid at all costs unless you are planning to wager against them are the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Buffalo Sabres. The Lightning have lost four straight to fall to 17-20-4 on the year and are currently 13th in the East, but the real nightmare has been a -2241 return on the money line and a costly 16-25 record against the puck line.
The Sabres have managed just two victories in their last 10 games and have dropped all the way to 11th in the East with 41 points and are now under .500 on the year at 18-19-5. They have a woeful -2008 return on the money line and are a league-worst 13-29 against the puck line.
Friday’s Free Picks
This Friday night the Pittsburgh Penguins are on the road against the Florida Panthers. The Penguins have lost their last six games and have fallen all the way to fourth in the Atlantic Division, while the Panthers are 2-3 in their last five games, but still four points ahead of Washington for first-place in the Southeast Division.
Pittsburgh has won eight of the last 10 meetings overall and is 3-2 in its last five road games against the Panthers. It is 4-1 in its last five games against the Southeast, while Florida is 0-5 in its last five games against the Atlantic. Stick with the Penguins to snap their current skid with a crucial win on the road.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 3, Florida 2
The second game of interest pits the Toronto Maple Leafs on the road against the Sabres in one of the more heated rivalries in the NHL. The Maple Leafs come into this clash in solid form with a four-game winning streak that has them just six points behind Boston in the division.
Head-to-head, Toronto has won two of three games this season and five of the last six meetings overall. While winning on the road in a rivalry game is never an easy task, given the current direction that each team is heading, stick with the Maple Leafs to come away with the win.
Prediction: Toronto 3, Buffalo 1
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