NHL Handicapping Guide- December 29
The NHL wraps-up the third month of its 82-game regular season as part of the marathon run to this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs . While the majority of the 30 teams in the league continue to jockey for position within their division, a few teams have been able to make a fast break from the pack with not only their play on the ice, but their return on investment when it comes to wagering on the games.
The team at the top of this list is the Detroit Red Wings. For the past two months the Red Wings have provided the best return on the money line and are currently +2060. They have also been profitable against the puck line with an overall record of 22-14. On the ice, Detroit is three-points behind Chicago in the Central Division with 47 points. It is 7-3 in its last 10 games and 23-12-1 overall.
The Boston Bruins are back in championship form with seven straight victories that have them on top of the Eastern Conference with 49 points. The Bruins are 8-2 in their last 10 games and 24-9-1 overall. More importantly, they are +1644 on the money line, which is the second highest return in the league. Boston’s record against the puck line is 18-16.
The third-best team in the NHL in terms of its return on the money line is the surprising Winnipeg Jets. Wednesday night’s 4-1 victory over Colorado as 113 road underdogs raised their total return to +1467 and a league-best 26-10 record against the puck line. Winnipeg is now 6-3-1 in its last 10 games and six points behind Florida in the Southeast Division with 39 points. Its overall record is 17-14-5.
A few other teams that have provided a profitable return on the money line are the New York Rangers at +1462, the Vancouver Canucks at +1297, the Pittsburgh Penguins at +1112, and the Minnesota Wild at +1053. The Wild have also been a solid play against the puck line at 24-14.
Turning to Friday night’s schedule, the first matchup to jump off the page has the Rangers on the road against the Florida Panthers in a battle of division leaders in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers are coming off a 4-1 loss to Washington on Wednesday night as 104 road favorites, but are still 7-3 in their last 10 games and 22-9-4 overall. The Panthers are 4-3-3 in their last 10 games including a 5-3 win over Toronto as 125 home favorites this past Wednesday. They are 19-11-7 overall.
These two have split the first two games of this season’s series with each winning at home. Overall, New York has won six of the last nine games dating back to the 2009/2010 season. The Rangers come into this matchup with a solid 11-6-2 record on the road and the second-best goals-against-average in the league at 2.09. Look for them to put the clamps on Florida’s offensive attack to earn another hard-fought win on the road. The Free NFL Pick: New York 3 Florida 1
Friday’s nightcap offers a classic divisional showdown between the Red Wings and the Blackhawks in Chicago. The Blackhawks are coming off a 2-0 loss to Los Angeles this past Wednesday night as 174 home favorites. It was their second loss in their last nine games and just their third loss at home this season in 19 games. Chicago has the most points in the NHL with 50 and an overall record of 23-10-4.
This will be the first meeting this season, but Chicago got the best of things last year with four victories in six games overall and a perfect 3-0 record at home. Detroit is actually struggling a bit with a 3-3 record in its last six games and faces a Blackhawk team that has lost consecutive games just two previous times this season. Stick with Chicago to draw first blood in this season’s series with a close win at home. The Free NHL Pick: Chicago 3 Detroit 2
A few other key matchups to keep your eye on this weekend sends Pittsburgh to New Jersey to tangle with the resurgent Devils in a Atlantic Division showdown on Saturday and a New Year’s Day tussle between the Calgary Flames and the Nashville Predators. These two games are just a prelude to this season’s NHL Winter Classic between the Rangers and Flyers at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan. 2
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.