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: Boston Bruins (+550) – The Boston Bruins are hotter than a summer day in the desert right now. This week they find themselves right behind the St. Louis Blues as odds-on ‘favorites’ to win the Stanley Cup. Boston isn’t the hottest team in the NHL by accident, its offense is scoring 4.1 goals per game during a 10 game winning streak. On the flip side the Bruins defense is also shutting down opponents giving up just 1.5 goals per game in the L/10 contests. This team is loaded from top to bottom with talent capable of leading them to the promised land. One of the most impressive stats in this winning streak is that Boston holds an 8-2 mark against the puck-line. At 47-17-5 SU, the bean town boys are running away in the Atlantic Division standings. It will take just one more win to put this team over the 100 point mark as they have 99 points on the year which is second best behind the Blues 101 points. If the Bruins continue to stay this good they’re going to be a tough team to face when the playoffs come around. Their ability to score the puck nearly at will and the great play of G Tuukka Rask in goal may be enough to get the job done and bring the Stanley Cup to Boston.
2: Pittsburgh Penguins (+650) – The Pittsburgh Penguins continue to show a lot of value as they lead the Metropolitan Division by a wide margin with 94 points on the year. They stopped a two game losing skid on Tuesday night as they dominated the Dallas Stars 5-1 at home. The play of C Sidney Crosby leads one of the NHL’s top offensive units as he has scored 33 goals and dished out 58 assists to this point. Crosby and his running mates make opposing teams pay when they commit penalties as the Pens are the league’s No. 2 ranked power play unit scoring on 24.0 percent of their extra man opportunities. Leading the defense is the play of G Marc-Andre Fleury who has the most wins of any net minder in the league. Tuesday’s win marked his 34th of the year as he holds a 2.34 GAA and a .916 save percentage. Pittsburgh is cruising right into the playoffs and it has built such a lead that even the biggest games won’t affect its playoff standings. It will be interesting to see if the Penguins rest some of their stars down the stretch to have them ready for the second season.
3: Anaheim Ducks (+900) – The Anaheim Ducks have finally started to slow down a little bit to the point that the San Jose Sharks have finally caught them at 97 points in the Pacific Division standings. For the longest time it seemed as if the Ducks would never lose at home, but now they’re 24-7-4 SU at the Honda Center. Perhaps this team has hit the wall just a little bit as the pressure of playing in a highly contested division has gotten to them. Anaheim could definitely use some rejuvenation as it heads for the stretch run of the season. In the L/10 games the Ducks are 5-3-2 SU and while that is respectable it won’t be enough to keep them on top of the division. The play of C Ryan Getzlaf leads an offense that ranks No. 4 in the league scoring 3.2 goals per game. Getzlaf has put up 74 points on 29 goals and 45 assists thus far, but he has been absent of late with no goals in his L/9 games. Like most teams on this list Anaheim has a solid defense ranked seventh in the league giving up just 2.4 goals per game. They need a little push back in the right direction, but the Ducks still appear to be a solid option to do well in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
4: Philadelphia Flyers (+2500) – The Philadelphia Flyers are riding a very impressive three game winning streak right now and are starting to show a lot of value at this price. Back-to-back wins over the Pittsburgh Penguins was impressive enough in itself, but then on Tuesday night the Flyers outlasted the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime with a goal from Claude Giroux in the final seconds of the extra period. Giroux has been on fire of late putting up 15 points in his L/10 games and he has a goal and four assists during this win streak. While Philadelphia is far behind the Penguins in the Metropolitan Division standings, getting hot right now could go a long way to helping it finish second ahead of the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets that are nipping at its heels. An offense that scores 2.8 goals per game and ranks eighth in the league counteracts a defense that gives up 2.8 goals per game. If the Flyers can improve their defense down the stretch it can only help as they haven’t had too many problems scoring goals this season. As a bettor if you have any faith in Philly this would be a great price to lock in for the long haul.
5: Tampa Bay Lightning (+2800) – The Tampa Bay Lightning have found their stride of late putting together a three game winning streak. Granted, wins over the Vancouver Canucks, New Jersey Devils, and Florida Panthers isn’t going to impress anyone, but its progress for a team that is searching to find its new identity since losing leading scorer Martin St. Louis in a trade to the New York Rangers. It has only been two weeks since C Steven Stamkos returned from a leg injury that had sidelined him for three months. He has contributed to the team with two goals and two assists during the win streak and will be a key component to Tampa Bay’s chances in the playoffs. Lightning G Ben Bishop is 32-17 between the pipes with five shutouts thus far, he has a 2.11 GAA and a .928 save percentage. Bishop will have to continue to come up large for this team to help secure their spot in the playoffs as they jockey for position with the Montreal Canadiens for second place in the Atlantic Division. The price is definitely right to get a team this talented and a great home team that is 20-8-5 when playing at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
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.