Islanders at Rangers Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 2/14/2013
It’s not the most romantic option, but there are lots of worse ways to spend Valentine’s Day than a classic rivalry game. It has been a long time since this series has been at its best because the Islanders have been so poorly run for so long, but it’s still a big rivalry, and some blood could easily get spilled. Blood is red, so it would be perfect for Valentine’s Day.
Thanks to the short, quirky season, we have a bit of an oddity here — these teams played in Madison Square Garden just six days ago. The Rangers cruised to an easy 4-1 win that day, and they have won two since.
Islanders at Rangers Betting storylines
The Islanders jumped off to a solid 4-2-1 start this year. That’s the good news. The problem, though, is that they have since lost five in a row to return to where we typically expect them to be. Four of the five losses have come at home, so they are still a relatively solid 3-2-1 on the road. The five losses have all come against likely playoff teams, so the team isn’t a total disaster, They just still clearly have a lot of work left to do, as they have for the last decade or more. It’s the rebuilding project that will never end.
The Islanders are predictably disappointing, while the Rangers lackluster 7-5 start is more surprising. They were the favorites to win the Stanley Cup heading into the season after adding Rick Nash to an already loaded roster. They haven’t been disastrous by any means, and they have won three in a row and six of eight. However, they have yet to really shine in the way they were expected to. Chemistry seems to be some of the issue, but there is more to it. With so much talent and playing in such a big market, it is almost as if the team expects to win — that they deserve success as if it is a right for them. This is far from the first time this has been an issue with this team. Hopefully the recent strength is an indication that they have realized that they will only get what they earn. If not, it could be yet another frustrating year in the Big Apple.
While the team has yet to find its stride completely — especially offensively where they rank just 16th in the league with 2.7 goals scored per game — Nash has been doing his job. The prize acquisition from the Blue Jackets leads the team with 10 points in 12 games, and he also leads in +/- at +7 as well as in shots at just short of four per game. He’ll need to produce at more than a point a game in the long term to make the investment in him worthwhile, but, given the general offensive issues of the team, he has been a bright spot. It is especially impressive given that he has yet to find chemistry with his linemates. He hasn’t meshed fully with Gaborik and Richards, and changes are likely coming so that the team isn’t so top-heavy in their line makeup. If he can find a comfortable fit then he’ll do what is needed, and the Rangers will get what they have paid for. On this front I am optimistic.
Islanders at Rangers NHL Odds and Betting Trends
The Islanders have lost eight in a row at MSG. The home team has won 10 of the last 11 meetings, and the Islanders have just one win in their last six. The Rangers have gone “under” the total in their last five against the Atlantic Division.
Islanders at Rangers Picks and Betting Predictions
When a line is this big, I don’t really have much interest in betting the favorite just to win on the moneyline. There just isn’t enough of a potential return to deal with the risk involved — especially in this hockey season when we have seen that absolutely anything can happen. That means that there are three options left — justify a pick of the underdog, play the favorite on the puckline, or play the total. I don’t like the puckline because the Rangers have struggled to score, and winning by two is a concern. I can’t really get behind the Rangers, either. They can’t win at MSG, and they can’t really be trusted to beat anyone right now. They could conceivably win, but betting on them feels like too much of a gamble. That leaves the total. The under is a reasonably comfortable play here. The Islanders have little offensive confidence right now, and the Rangers aren’t lighting it up. The under is the pick.
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