NHL Picks: Grading The Atlantic Division Playoffs Landscape

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, October 6, 2015 4:38 PM GMT

We analyse the NHL odds board focusing on the Atlantic Division, from the futures to win the division title to season win totals projected and the corresponding NHL money line odds.

Atlantic Division Futures To Win Divisional Title
Last season’s playoff standouts Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens are neck-and-neck on +200 NHL odds to win the division. Indeed, they seem to have a stranglehold on the race over the rest of the field. The next best contender is deemed to be Boston Bruins followed closely by the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators. The longshots in this group are the Florida Panthers, Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs (See Table 1).

 

Season Win Totals Trading
From sportsbook to sportsbook, NHL bettors can find projected season win totals for each and every team. We weigh in on the NHL season win totals as per bet365 (See Table 2). It’s worth nothing that while the Lightning and Canadiens are locked on +200 NHL odds to win the title, the Lightning are projected to win a whole lot more games than the Canadiens at OVER 48.5, which is trading at -130 money line odds. That’s a considerable edge over the Canadiens’ 44.5 projected season win total that is trading at -115 money line odds for both the OVER and UNDER.

Another slight anomaly that is clearly evident is the difference in projected season win totals for the Bruins and Red Wings. Although the Bruins are trading at +600 to win the divisional title, which is slightly higher than Detroit’s +700 NHL odds to win the division title, it’s the Red Wings that emerge with a slightly higher season win total of 42.5, with the OVER favored at -125 money line odds. As far as the long shots in this division are concerned, they are projected at season win totals of 36.5 or less.

 

Season Win Totals Overview
In order to determine which way to go with our NHL picks, we look at the average season win totals for each and every team over the last three years (See Table 3). It’s important to note that the new NHL format (realigned divisions) was introduced in the 2013-2014 season. That means all season results prior reflect the old format when the divisions were made up of different teams. It’s also worth noting the 2012-2013 season was shortened by a lockout to just 48 games, which throws off season win totals. As a result, we exclude it from our average season win totals.

By excluding the 2012-2013 season, the average season win totals that we’ve calculated fall within the projected season win totals.

 

NHL Betting Predictions
Based on the season win totals currently trading and the overall NHL betting outlook for the Atlantic Division, the Tampa Bay Lightning (last season’s runners up) and Montreal Canadiens are the likeliest to advance into the playoffs; that is, if all goes to plan. Thing is, games aren’t played on paper but in the ice-rink and short of a crystal ball, it’s impossible to predict what will happen over the course of the 82 games each team has to play.

Another team to spot in this division is Detroit. The Red Wings have made the playoffs over the last 25 seasons and that tradition of success could propel them into another playoff berth.

Boston Bruins have the highest average season win total of the lot, thanks largely to their standout 2013-2014 run in which they won the Presidents Trophy. Last season, though, they had their lowest winning percentage in the last three years and missed the playoffs as a result. They’ve undergone some major wholesale changes in the offseason, so it remains to be seen how those pan out.

The longshots in this field are the Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs – none of which have seen into the playoffs in the last three full regular seasons (excluding Toronto’s playoff appearance in 2012-2013 obviously). And they don’t appear to be slated to do so according to the odds makers this year. If one or more do, it will be quite the surprise.

NHL Picks: Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators are our choice NHL picks to make the playoffs this season from this group.