NHL Betting Advice for the Best and Worst Teams for Wagering Profits
We are a quarter of the way through the NHL season, give or take. Some things have turned out as expected - the Bruins and Capitals are as strong as expected, and the Blues have kept rolling after their stellar second half and Cup win last year. But there are several results that aren't living up to expectations. Most notably, Tampa Bay was favored to win the Cup, and the Lightning are currently just sixth in their own division. There is a whole lot of hockey left to play, and many things will change between now and the playoffs. But we have seen enough hockey that it is worthwhile to check in on the betting studs and duds so far - the teams that have generated big profits for bettors, and those that have burned money so far.
New York Islanders (15-3-1): Barry Trotz is one heck of a coach. He won a Stanley Cup, which made that likely. But he has really proven it by taking a much less talented, much different team to great success two years in a row. And he has done it with two different goaltenders leading the way, too. It's impressive. And beyond reasonable expectations - which is why they are the most profitable team in the league.
Winnipeg Jets (13-8-1): The Jets got off to a slow start, but they have found their form lately and are playing much better. But they are doing it without making a lot of noise. It's not like Winnipeg is a major media market. A decent team under the radar is a recipe for betting success.
Washington Capitals (16-3-4): The champions from two years ago are making a strong case for a return engagement. They are scoring like crazy, and they have the best goal differential in the league. What really stands out, though, is their ridiculous 10-1-1 road record. It's not hard to make money for bettors with that kind of performance.
Colorado Avalanche (13-6-2): What is impressive is not that this team is a very good one that is having plenty of success. It's that they are doing it while dealing with injuries that would cripple many teams. Superstars Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog, Colin Wilson, and goalie Philipp Grubauer have all missed significant time, but the team keeps rolling along. And once they are all back there is upside here.
Edmonton Oilers (13-6-3): This team is way ahead of expectations. And after years of struggles, that is a recipe for big profits. But it's tough to see it lasting. This is a ridiculously top-heavy team. Connor McDavid has 40 points and Leon Draisaitl has 43. The next best number on the squad is 15. This is a two-man show. And their goaltenders have been excellent under a high load, but both are playing above expectations in a way that doesn't feel like it can last.
Toronto Maple Leafs (9-9-4): I wish I could say that it made me sad that the Leafs are the worst betting team in the league. Actually, I love it. The fans of this team assume that they are going to win the Cup. Every single year. And they never do. Or come close. They just can't get out of their own way. Too young, Too top-heavy. Not enough defense. A coach who seems to be hating life. Incredible pressure from a truly insane media contingent and delusional fans. And expectations from betting fans that they could never live up to. Their slow start has been a disaster for bettors.
Calgary Flames (10-11-3): This is my hometown team. I've been to two games this year and watched several more. It's pretty easy to diagnose why they are doing so poorly for bettors. They are bad at hockey right now. The top two lines are incompetent offensively. They keep shuffling the defensive pairings trying to find something that works. The goaltending has been excellent, but they are left out to dry too often. It's just a mess, and no one looks like they are having any fun. After winning the Western Conference in the regular season last year expectations were high. They are nowhere near them.
Vegas Golden Knights (10-9-3): A little like Calgary, this is a team that came into the season facing massive expectations, and they are not living up to them just yet. They are flat offensively and struggling defensively. They have plenty of talent, and they can turn a corner. And they likely will. But right now, it hasn't been that impressive.
Minnesota Wild (8-11-2): Only the Kings have scored fewer goals in the West this year. The roster is old. They lack talent. They are short on direction. It's not a great situation. This lack of success - both straight up and for bettors - is far from surprising.
New Jersey Devils (7-9-4): The Devils are one of the biggest disappointments in the entire league. They won the offseason, drafting Jack Hughes first overall, making a big trade for P.K. Subban, and adding a few other nice pieces at fair prices. They seemed to be ready to take a big step forward. But that step has been backwards. Only one team in the league has scored fewer goals. Only three have allowed more goals. Goalie Cory Schneider, who they gave up a first-round pick for a few years back, has been so bad that he was put on waivers this week. It's a mess.
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