NHL Eastern Conference Standings & Trends

David Lawrence

Monday, December 23, 2013 7:50 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 23, 2013 7:50 PM UTC

We’ve reached the Christmas Break in the NHL, which means it’s time to do some reflecting. Here’s a look back at the best and worst teams to bet on so far this season:

Most Profitable Team: Pittsburgh Penguins (+10.75 Units)

It’s somewhat surprising to see the Pens here as they are the public sweetheart. It would be the equivalent of seeing the New York Yankees or Dallas Cowboys as being the most profitable teams in their respective sport. Normally, with teams like that, they cost such a premium on the moneylines that when they lose, it takes big chunk out of your profits. However, that hasn’t been the case so much with Pittsburgh.

The price tag on the Pens hasn’t been so expensive this year because they’ve been dealing with so many injuries. They’ve had to play without as many as nine regulars in the lineup, which is why odds makers were dropping the price. The problem is that it hasn’t slowed the Pens down.

Pittsburgh has been a ridiculously good investment at home as they are 17-3-0 in front of their home audience. That’s impressive.

Least Profitable Team: New York Islanders (-17.10 Units)

A lot of bettors have been burned by the Islanders this season. There were such high expectations for this team after their valiant first-round playoff performance last season but they’ve been a shadow of themselves since.

The Isles have been a costly choice for your sports picks as they’ve lost 17.10 units so far and we’ve only reached the Christmas Break. 13 losses in 14 games from November 19th to December 17th explains much of the story but if you delve deeper, you’ll see that goaltending has been the main reason for this mess.

The Isles have allowed a whopping 129 goals this season, which is the most in the Eastern Conference and second-most in the NHL. It’s hard to win when you’re giving up nearly 3.5 goals per game.

Best Over Team: Ottawa Senators (23-15-0)

It’s easy to see why the Sens have played so many overs: they’ve caught everyone off-guard. As you might recall, Ottawa finished second in the NHL last season in goals allowed (104). Veteran goaltender Craig Anderson led the league in both GAA and save percentage. In the offseason, it looked like the Sens offense was downgraded, which gave bettors even more reason to think this would be a low-scoring team that would engage in plenty more unders.

As it turns out, the Sens goaltending and defense has been horrific. The Sens have allowed the third-most goals in the league but have fielded a Top 10 offense. While odds makers started the year by posting lots of low totals on the NHL odds for the Sens, they’ve quickly had to adjust as this team’s games have averaged 6.1 goals per game. That’s why the over has cashed so much with them.

Best Under Team: Montreal Canadiens (11-23-4)

Unders with the Canadiens have been great for NHL picks as the Habs have been phenomenal between the pipes. They rank sixth in goals allowed but goaltender Carey Price has been one of the main reasons for that. He’s in the midst of a career year and on-pace to set new benchmarks for GAA (2.10) and save percentage (.932). Combined with a hit-or-miss offense, that’s led to a lot of unders for the Habs.

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