The 2011/2012 NHL regular season is a little more than a month old, and while the majority of the 30 teams in the league are muddled in the middle of the pack, a few teams are already starting to separate themselves not only at the top and bottom of the standings, but in terms of the puck line, money line, and total line.
The biggest surprise in the early going continues to be the Edmonton Oilers. Their worst-to-first transformation not only has them in first-place in the Northwest Division with an overall record of 7-2-2 and 16 points, they have been a financial boon to anyone who has jumped on their bandwagon. The Oilers are 10-1 against the spread and +900 on the money line. They have also been profitable on the total line with nine of their first 11 games staying ‘under’.
Another team that is off to an eye-opening start is the Minnesota Wild. They too were a bottom-tiered team last year, but have jumped-out to a 5-3-3 record and are just three points behind the Oilers in the Northwest. The real reason they are catching our attention is a 9-2 record ATS and a +841 return on the money line. They have also been profitable on the total line with seven of their first 11 games staying ‘under’ as well.
A couple of early drains on the bankroll have been St. Louis and Montreal. The Blues are 5-6 overall and 4-7 ATS, which in of itself is not too bad. It is their -627 return on the money line that makes them the early drain. The same holds true for the Canadiens, who are 4-5-2 and 4-7 ATS, but have been just as costly at -626.
Turning to Friday’s action, the first game to jump off the page is a Southeast Division clash between Washington vs. Carolina. The Capitals are one of the best teams in the league at 8-2, but they are just 3-7 ATS and -445 on the money line. The Hurricanes are three points behind at 5-4-3. They are 7-5 ATS and -306 on the money line. The Capitals are 6-1 in the last seven meetings, but the solid play in this one could be the ‘under’, especially if the line opens at 5.5 or less. The total has stayed ‘under’ in seven of the last eight meetings overall and in the last four games played in Carolina. The Free NHL Pick-UNDER
The second game to make note of on Friday is Colorado at Dallas in a showdown between two of the better teams in the Western Conference. The Avalanche are 7-5 both SU and ATS and -246 on the money line, while the Stars are 8-3 (7-4 ATS) and +263. Stick with Stars in this one on the money line as the home team in this series is 12-5 in the last 17 meetings and Colorado is just 3-7 in its last 10 trips to Dallas. The Free NHL Pick: Dallas 4 Colorado 3
A couple of interesting matchups for the rest of the weekend include St. Louis at Minnesota on Saturday and Tampa Bay squaring-off against Florida on Sunday in another Southeast Division showdown. As clearly detailed above, the betting trends clearly favor the Wild against the Blues. In the case of the Lightning and the Panthers, the play could be on Florida as it is 6-2 in the last eight meetings including a 7-4 win on the road and a 3-2 shoot-out victory at home a few weeks back in an early home-and-home series between the two.
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.