NHL Handicapping Guide- February 23
With the NHL’s 82-game regular season steamrolling towards the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the top teams in the league continue to battle for position within their respective conference. The top eight teams from the East and the West earn a place in the 16-team postseason tournament.
This guide will take a look at a few of the lead dogs in this marathon that have been able to clearly separate themselves from the pack by providing a highly profitable return for anyone who enjoys wagering on the games. It will also provide a couple of free picks for Friday’s games.
The Top Three Money Makers
The Detroit Red Wings have been grabbing headlines lately for setting a new NHL record for consecutive wins at home at 23 straight heading into Thursday night’s huge showdown with Vancouver, but they remain the center of attention on our list with a league-best +1744 return on the money line. Detroit also has the most points in the NHL with 84 and has an overall record of 41-18-2.
The second-best bread winner in the NHL is the red-hot Ottawa Senators, who have suddenly closed the gap with Boston in the Northeast Division to just two points with four straight wins and a 5-3-1 record in their last 10 games. This has helped raise their total return on the money line to +1442 and the Senators now have the best record in the NHL against the puck line at 39-23.
The New York Rangers lead the Eastern Conference with 81 points and have an overall record of 38-15-5. They are 7-3 in their last 10 games and have a seven-point lead over the Bruins for the top spot in the conference. New York has been profitable all season long on the money line and is currently +1422. It is also been profitable against the puck line at 31-27.
The next four best returns on the money line are the Nashville Predators at +1352, the Pittsburgh Penguins at +1228, the Phoenix Coyotes at +1143, and the Vancouver Canucks at +1019.
Friday Night’s Free Picks
The first game on the slate is a Northeast Division clash between the Boston Bruins and the Buffalo Sabres. As mentioned above, the Bruins are feeling the heat atop the division and desperately needs a win after losing three of their last five games. The Sabres are currently in 12th in the East and six points out of the final playoff spot. They are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games including victories in their last two games.
These two have met three times this season with Boston winning the first two games, but coming off a 6-0 waxing when the two played earlier this month. Overall, the Bruins are 2-5 in the last seven meetings and 1-3 in their last four trips to Buffalo. Stick with the current trends in this series as the Sabres pound-out another win at home. The Free Pick: Buffalo 3 Boston 2
Friday’s nightcap pick is a Western Conference clash between the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars, with both teams currently battling for a spot in the postseason. The Wild are five points out of eighth-place but fading fast with just two wins in their last 10 games. The Stars are just two points behind Los Angeles for the final playoff spot, but 2-3 in their last five games.
Minnesota comes into this game a bit banged-up with a growing injury list which will not help the fact that it is 1-16 in its last 17 trips to Dallas. It also does not help that the home team in this series is 22-6 in the last 28 meetings. The last time they met, the Stars came away with a 2-1 shootout victory as 164 home favorites. This time it will not be nearly as close as Dallas puts another dent in the Wilds’ playoff plans. The Free Pick: Dallas 4 Minnesota 2
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