Betting Overview of the Central Division: Here Come the Hawks?

Doug Upstone

Friday, December 15, 2017 2:36 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 15, 2017 2:36 PM UTC

Last week talked about how well almost everyone in the Metropolitan Division was playing. This week we take notice that Central Division has the fewest teams with a negative scoring differential.

That is correct, other than Colorado at -5 (as of Dec. 15), every other team in the Central Division has a positive number for scoring differential. In fairness, the Central is the only division with seven teams as the three others have eight. Nonetheless, this division is very strong when going against those outside the Central. When making NHL picks, you have to consider the Central teams against the Eastern Conference as they are 57-43 SU, which is the best mark of any division vs. the opposing conference.

CENTRAL vs. EASTERN CONFERENCE

St. Louis 10-5 SU

Nashville 7-5

Winnipeg 5-9

Dallas 7-3

Minnesota 8-7

Chicago 10-6

Colorado 10-8

Who Has Been Hot?

After sluggish starts, Dallas and Minnesota have been consistently beating the NHL odds. The Stars have won seven of 10 contests. The most striking aspect of Dallas' play is the Stars either have a very good offensive night when winning or a poor defensive performance when losing, with almost nothing in between. There has not been any rhyme or reason in the role of favorite or underdog for their play.

Minnesota has posted in the win column in eight of its last 11 contests. However, I'm not sure if the Wild has been lucky or good since five of those victories have come in OT or in shootouts, where there is more randomness to the outcome, especially for average teams. Would I be betting on either team going forward? Not unless I really find an edge.

One squad I would have no problem wagering on is defending Western Conference champion Nashville. Since Nov. 3, the Predators are 14-4 SU and they have not lost two in a row since their last and first games in October/November.

Blackhawks Uprising?

Chicago had to pay its best players who helped the Hawks win three Stanley Cups in six seasons, the last coming in 2015. With that, they have not been able to keep some very good players who have come up through the ranks. Every offseason, the Blackhawks are peeling and peeling to meet the salary cap and hope the replacements can keep them competitive for the Cup.

This looked to be the year that the chase was finally over and the Blackhawks couldn't by counted on as contenders. However, if the Hawks' most recent play (4-0) and the numbers are an indicator, Chicago might be moving up in the Central standings. The Blackhawks are 11th in scoring, 6th in goals allowed and 7th on penalty killing. If they can pick up the scoring and fix woeful power play (29th), watch out for Chicago.

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