NHL Handicapping Guide- November 10
We are about six weeks into the 2011/2012 NHL regular season and while the most of the 30 teams in the league are muddled in the middle of the pack in the standings, a few teams are already starting to separate themselves not only at the top of the standings, but against the puck line, money line, and total line.
The team at the top of this heap in both categories is the Pittsburgh Penguins. They are not only on top of the Eastern Conference with an overall record of 9-3-3 and 21 points, but they have been the No.1 money maker so far at +966 on the money line. They have also been a solid play against the puck line with a record of 10-5. On the ice, the Penguins are averaging 2.8 goals a game, while giving-up an average of 2.13 goals a game. The scary thing about this team is that its best player, Sidney Crosby remains out of the lineup while still recovering from last season’s concussion.
The Northwest Division in the Western Conference has two teams that are making an unlikely early splash both on the ice and on the bankroll. The Edmonton Oilers, who finished at the bottom of the NHL last season with 62 points, currently lead the division with a record of 9-3-2 and 20 points. The Oilers’ offensive attack remains sub-par at best, but defensively, they are ranked first in goals allowed; giving-up an average of just 1.5 a game. Edmonton has also been a financial boon with a 12-2 record against the puck line and a +861 return on the money line. It has also been a solid play on the total line with 11 of its 14 games staying ‘under’.
The Minnesota Wild are just one point behind the Oilers in the Northwest with a record of 8-3-3. They have been even better on the money line at +941 and are 11-3 against the puck line. Sporting a stingy defense as well that has a 1.79 goals-against-average, the total has stayed ‘under’ in nine of the Wild’s first 14 games.
Turning to Friday’s games, the premier matchup has the Dallas Stars in Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins in what could be an early preview of this season’s Stanley Cup Finals. The Stars come into this one with an NHL-best 22 points and a record of 11-3. Last season, Dallas hammered the Penguins 5-2 as a slight 101 home favorite, but the year before Pittsburgh cruised to a 6-3 victory as a prohibitive 224 home favorite. The money line should make the Penguins a moderate home favorite and a solid play given that the home team in this series is 7-2 in the last nine meetings. The Free NHL Pick: Pittsburgh 4 Dallas 3
Another interesting matchup on Friday night has Edmonton on the road against the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit is off to a fairly decent start at 7-5-1 and brings a two-game winning streak into this game. Travel could be an issue for the Oilers as they face the Bruins in Boston tonight. Last season, these two met four times with the Red Wings sweeping the series. They have actually won their last five games against Edmonton, but that was then and this is now. The total went ‘over’ in three of the last five meetings with the line set at 5.5 each time, but given that 19 of the combined 27 games these two teams have played this season have stayed ‘under’ the total, stick with the ‘under’ in this game as well. The Free NHL Pick: UNDER
A couple of other matchups on the schedule for the rest of the weekend to keep an eye on include Minnesota at the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday and Edmonton back in action on Sunday against the Blackhawks in Chicago. It will be interesting to see if both these team’s positive betting trends can hold-up over the course of the next few days.
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.