The 2011/2012 NHL regular season is less than a month old, but a few teams are already making a bold statement that they are the current odds-on-favorite to win this year’s Stanley Cup. We are also starting to see some early betting trends that offer an excellent opportunity to ‘bang the book’ on a couple of this weekend’s matchups.
The biggest statement so far has been made by the Washington Capitals with a perfect 7-0 start. The Caps have always been one of the best teams in the regular season over the last few years, but this year’s team appears to be on a mission to finally bring home the Cup. They are +16 in scoring while giving-up an average of just two goals a game. The one thing Washington has not been this season is a solid play on the puck line with a 3-4 record against the spread. It is just barely in the black on money line at +27.
Another hot team from the East has also been this season’s best bet so far. Pittsburgh is 7-2-1 SU and 8-3 ATS. It has provided the biggest return on the money line at +966. The Penguins lead the NHL in goals with 33, so you can only imagine how potent their offense will be once Sidney Crosby is finally cleared to return to the lineup.
Dallas has been the hottest team in the West with a 7-2-0 start SU. It has also been one of the stingiest teams in the league with a goals-against average of 1.89. The Stars are 6-3 ATS and a profitable +326 on the money line, but the ‘under’ has been the ‘best bet’ with six of their first nine games staying ‘under’ the total.
The money maker so far in the West has been Edmonton. The Oilers are off to a 4-2-2 start SU, but they are 7-1 ATS and +600 on the money line. There are averaging just 1.88 goals a game while sporting a goals-against average of 1.5, so it is little wonder that the total has stayed ‘under’ in seven of their first eight games.
Turning to the top plays for Friday night’s action, the first game on-tap pits Chicago at Carolina. The Blackhawks appear to be back in the form they were in 2010 when they won the Stanley Cup. They are 5-1-2 SU in their first eight games, but just 3-5 ATS. Carolina is 3-3-3 SU in nine games, but a 5-4 ATS. Chicago is 2-8-1 in the last 11 meetings between the two overall and it has not won in Carolina in its last six trips there. Stick with the Hurricanes in this one as they should open as a mild home underdog on the money line. NHL Free Pick: Carolina
Also on Friday night, San Jose travels to Detroit to take on the Red Wings in a matchup between two of the better teams in the West. The Sharks got off to a slow start but have won their last three to raise their record to 4-3 SU (3-4 ATS). Detroit started the season with five straight wins, but has lost its last two heading into this game. The Red Wings are 5-2 SU (4-3 ATS). San Jose ousted the Red Wings from the second round of the playoffs last season in seven games, winning a crucial game seven at home. Take Detroit and the short memory to get the victory this time on its home ice. NHL Free Pick: Detroit
The highlight of Saturday’s schedule could very well be a preview of this season’s Stanley Cup Finals when the Capitals head to the West Coast with a showdown with the Vancouver Canucks. These two met one last season with the Canucks coming away with a 4-2 win on the road. The year before, Vancouver beat Washington 3-2 at home.
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.