We’re moving on with the 2013-14 NHL betting season, and we’re going to take this time to analyze what we are seeing and make our Stanley Cup picks for the road ahead.
1: Pittsburgh Penguins (+600) – There isn’t a reason in the world not to like this Pittsburgh team these days. They have it all in terms of talent on offense, defense, and between the pipes. This team even has all of the Stanley Cup Playoff experience you could ever ask for in the NHL. Sitting atop the Metropolitan Division at 40-15-3 SU (83 points), the Penguins will coast into the playoffs as they hold a 16 point advantage over the New York Rangers. The team is led by the experience and play of C Sidney Crosby who has 78 points with 28 goals and 50 assists on the year. It has been huge for the Pens to get C Evgeni Malkin back from injury and he has delivered scoring four goals in his L/5 games adding three assists to give him seven points over that stretch. A great deal of the boys from Pittsburgh is over in Russia right now at the Winter Olympic Games representing their respective countries which speaks very highly of the talent on this team. We expect to see them continue to run away in the Metropolitan Division as they have dominated all season long and look to secure home ice. The Pens are an impressive 23-4-1 SU on home ice and that is going to make them a tough out for any opponent they will encounter in the playoffs.
2: Anaheim Ducks (+700) – The Ducks have emerged as one of the top teams with a shot at taking home the cup behind a strong year on their home ice at the Honda Center. Anaheim has used a 22-5-2 SU home record as the key to its chances when the playoffs begin. They currently hold a seven point lead over the San Jose Sharks in the Pacific Division with a 41-14-5 SU record with 87 points on the season. Scoring goals has been no problem for this squad that puts up 3.2 goals per game as the No. 3 offensive unit in the league. Leading the way offensively for this team is C Ryan Getzlaf who has 29 goals and 38 assists (67 points) thus far. Ducks G Jonas Hiller has had a great season to this point with a 25-9-4 record and has a 2.34 GAA on the year. Their value lies in the ability to score goals in bunches and play great defense on the other end. If they are able to hold their lead in the Pacific Division and get home ice in the playoffs, this team will continue to turn up when we talk about favorites to win the Stanley Cup.
3: Tampa Bay Lightning (+2500) – We continue to see a lot of value in the Lightning at these odds. Their chances of winning the Stanley Cup will only grow as they get the services of C Steven Stamkos back after the Olympic break concludes. Tampa Bay is fighting the odds to catch the Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division, it trails by just seven points in the division race. The Lightning are another of these strong teams on home ice that will be tough to beat if they are able to secure the home advantage for the playoffs. At 17-7-3 SU at home, the boys by the bay should continue to have a strong run for home ice advantage. Lightning G Ben Bishop continues to be a big reason we like this team with his 1.98 GAA that backs up an offense that scores 2.8 goals per game. If this team can get Stamkos back at 100 percent and add his talents into an offense that includes RW Martin St. Louis’ 56 points on 25 goals and 31 assists, the possibilities are endless. As the weeks go by, we will keep our eye on the Lightning to see if their odds do indeed start making their run for the cup a lot more likely.
4: Detroit Red Wings (+3300) – The Red Wings are a team we refuse to count out of title contention because they have proven in the past to be an extremely tough contender if they’re able to reach the playoffs. Currently Detroit sits in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with a 26-20-12 SU record just six points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs with 64 points on the year. This team was dealt a dose of bad news when LW Henrik Zetterberg suffered a herniated disc in his back while playing for Team Sweden in the Olympics. As of this moment he is questionable to return to the Red Wings when they come back from break. Zetterberg is the key component in an offense that scores 2.5 goals per game this season. While their record is certainly not indicative of their firepower, this Red Wings squad has played a ton of overtime to this point and we see that as a chance for them to get more wins as the season goes along. We do see value in this team and we believe they can make a run in the playoffs if they should find a way to qualify with a healthy roster.
5: Columbus Blue Jackets (+4000) – We continue to see value in the Blue Jackets as they have gone on a nice run of late going 3-1-1 SU in their L/5 contests. Columbus is led by an offense that scores 2.9 goals per game as the league’s No. 7 ranked attack. Blue Jackets C Ryan Johansen is having a great season he has 46 points on 24 goals and 22 assists. Johansen has put up five goals in his L/5 outings and added three assists for a total of eight points in that stretch. Clutch in the net has been G Sergei Bobrovsky who has a 2.52 GAA on the year and has a 6-3-1 record in his L/10 starts. If you’re a bettor looking for that longshot team to give you a great return on your dollar, Columbus is certainly a team you should be looking at when it’s time to put your money down. This team currently sits just three points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for third place in the Metropolitan Division with 63 points thus far. Their schedule is extremely friendly when they return from the Olympic break so watch for them to climb up those standings very quickly.
Cole started off as a part time handicapper and a full time computer programmer. After developing a computer program that consistently provided winners in NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports Cole went into full time handicapping. The computer program and his knack for winners made him a rising star in the handicapping world. His complex computer program based on algorithms and analytical calculations have led to a 60% ATS rate.