The Good (For Hockey Bettors)
If you have been regularly making NHL picks, you have some real positives to follow. All season we have been talking about the Tampa Bay Lightning. As good as they have played, for the better part of December they have been unstoppable in winning 12 of 13, with the only loss in OT. This has allowed the best team to easily be the best bet.
While improvement was anticipated this season, Buffalo in third place in the Atlantic Division and the second-best bet was not expected. The Sabres are 12-6 SU on home ice and 10th in goals allowed. The concern looking ahead is there goal differential, which is nearly even. Can they be this profitable as their odds are sure to drop?
After a sluggish start, the defending Stanley Cup champion Capitals are playing to past levels and have moved to the third-best wager against the NHL odds. Washington’s offense is Top 5 and power play is as lethal as ever. With the defense playing better, the Caps are a force again.
The Bad (For Hockey Bettors or Good if You are Contrarian Thinker)
Carolina’s record and goal differential is not good, but far from the worst. Nevertheless, they are worst bet to end 2018. Because the Hurricanes are 28th in scoring, even in games where they have been good-sized favorites, they have failed to win more often than, which has contributed to them being such a bad bet.
Offensively, New Jersey has a middle of the road offense, but defensively, the goal judge who lights the lamp behind the Devils goaltender is always on high alert. New Jersey is surrendering almost 3.5 goals contest and you don’t need a calculus degree to understand you have to score four goals a night to win on average. The Devils are the second-worst bet on hockey.
Pittsburgh is showing signs of improvement and all that has done from the betting perspective is take them from the best Play Against team to the 3rd-best club to go against outfit. With the Penguins goal differential on the rise, maybe they will start winning more consistently, but any pucks bettor has to see it before deciding to back the Pens.
Tasty Rink Betting Tidbits
TORONTO is 9-0 after scoring five goals or more in two straight games.
WINNIPEG is 15-2 in home games after two or more Under’s.
MINNESOTA is 19-5 after two or more consecutive losses.
EDMONTON is 3-10 in home games after allowing four goals or more two straight contests.
VANCOUVER is 9-29 after a division game the last two seasons.
MONTREAL is 10-3 OVER after a non-conference game this season.
OTTAWA is 12-3 OVER in road games where when the total is 6 or more this season.
COLUMBUS is 12-3 UNDER in home games off a road win the last 2 seasons.
SAN JOSE is 9-2 OVER after playing exactly two home games this season.
BOSTON is 8-1 UNDER in road games vs. division opponents this season.
What Lies Ahead – The Schedule
Monday 12/31 – Nashville is in the midst of a major slump, while Washington is playing extremely well. Do hockey bettors ride the tide or go against the grain?
Tuesday 1/1 – For the NHL, the Winter Classic has been one of their premier events and this year it will be at historic Notre Dame Stadium. That might be the highlight of the day as a bad Chicago team hosts a middling Boston bunch. At least it’s an Original Six showdown.
Wednesday 1/2 – NBCSN has a contest featuring San Jose at Colorado. Both have disappointed and for one team those bad feelings will continue.
Friday 1/3 – Winnipeg should be well-rested for the contest at Pittsburgh, having last played on New Year’s Eve.
Hockey Night in Canada – Saturday, Jan. 5
Vancouver @ Toronto, 6:30 p.m. ET&n
Nashville @ Montreal, 6:30 p.m. ET
Edmonton @ Los Angeles, 10 p.m. ET
Toronto should handle Vancouver. The way the other four teams are playing anything is possible for money line, puck line or totals wagering.