Anyone can easily look up who the best teams are in terms of wins and losses in the NHL, but the really successful NHL betting fans are the ones who analyze every aspect of the game. Today, we’re going to look at the puck-lines for the hottest and the coldest teams in the NHL through games completed on 12/4/13.
1: Colorado Avalanche (16-9, +$1,075) – The last two weeks have pretty much been stand-still week for the Avalanche, and that’s just fine when you’ve got over $1,000 in profits and are the only team in the Western Conference to do so. The Wild have to be happy to be done dealing with Colorado, knowing that they were beaten in both games that these two played to end the month of November. Minnesota did score one cover in the two games, but that’s little consolation for it. The Avalanche though, have been making a mockery out of teams when they are underdogs on the NHL odds. Pups have covered five of the last six and have actually won four of those six games which Colorado has played in. The Avalanche are the beneficiaries of big wins over the Coyotes, Kings, and Wild on the road and the Blackhawks at home just since the middle of November.
2: Winnipeg Jets (19-10, +$1,022) – Winnipeg is the only team in the league with more than 17 covers this year, and it is showing in terms of profits. The Jets have no choice but to cover more games than they win, as they are still underdogs more often than not on the NHL betting lines. They have covered each of their last five games in spite of the fact that they only have a 3-2 SU record in those duels, and they are about to have a lot more situations where they could pick up some traction. They’ll likely be underdogs in their next four games as well, two of which are in the Sunshine State, and two home games of which are coming against the clearly superior Blues and Avalanche. Tis life in the Central Division, something which the Jets have to be learning to hate.
3: Tampa Bay Lightning (17-10, +$925) – It’s not proving to be damning yet for the Lightning, but they are definitely going in the wrong direction offensively. They have been held to one goal or fewer seven times since C Steven Stamkos was injured, and with no return in sight for at least another two months, things are going to get worse. G Ben Bishop is holding his own and is at least earning the team some covers, and that’s tough to do one a club which has now been shut out in consecutive games. However, when you really look back at it, the Bolts have four covers in their last five, and that’s after covering a pair of 1-0 losses, something you really don’t see all that often in this league.
4: San Jose Sharks (14-13, +$881) – The Sharks are gainers this week, and a six-game winning streak is to thank for that. It’s not all turning up roses on the puck-line, as the team won three games by exactly one goal in that stretch. However, beating the Blues 6-3 as -122 favorites helped out a lot, and all of these wins and covers as -170 favorites or so are starting to add up. San Jose is virtually never an underdog in games when you’re talking about the puck-line, as even at -205 against the Ducks at home only cost bettors one unit who bet it on the puck-line. At 3.4 goals per game, it’s tough not to like the Sharks on a nightly basis, even against some of the best and brightest in hockey.
5: Pittsburgh Penguins (14-15, +$830) – Speaking of teams which are never underdogs, we have the Pens here in the Top 5 in spite of the fact that they have more puck-line losses than wins this season. It’s certainly not difficult to explain why this team has been killing it of late, including taking puck-line decisions against both the Panthers and the Lightning with huge paydays on the road to end November on successive nights. C Evgeni Malkin has 37 points. C Sidney Crosby has 38 points. That’s 75 points in 29 games between two guys. There are a lot of teams out there that don’t have 75 points if you combine their top THREE scorers together, let alone just their first two. These Penguins are stacked, and their success seems to be a given for as long as G Marc-Andre Fleury is at least showing signs of respectability.
30: Nashville Predators (11-17, -$2,114) – The Predators remain in hockey’s purgatory, and they are going to be there for quite some time at this point. They are almost $1,000 in profits away from the nearest team when it comes to the puck-line, and we continue to be amazed at how unlucky they have been in some big time spots. For example, on Tuesday night, a pair of third period goals against the Canucks took a sure cover at -210 and turned it into a defeat. That marked the third straight game that featured both an SU and an ATS loss, and though moneyline bettors only lost $347 in those same three games, puck-line bettors are down $410.
29: Edmonton Oilers (14-15, -$1,264) – The problem the Oilers are having is that they really aren’t playing any close games. That would be fine and dandy for the Penguins or the Blackhawks or any of these really good teams who are always favored on the moneyline by big margins, but for Edmonton, and its puck-line bettors, that’s a disaster. The Oilers have one of the worst teams in all of hockey, and the tough Western Conference is making their lives miserable. In their last 10 games, they have played just one game decided by a single goal, and that game was won SU. Aside from that, there are four SU victories by at least two goals and five SU defeats by at least five goals. Again, here we have an example of a team which is killing it on the moneyline, netting bettors nearly a full unit of profits in this 5-5 stretch, but if you played the Oilers on the puck-line in all 10 of these games, you’re out over $300.
28: Buffalo Sabres (14-14, -$1,242) – The Sabres are the worst team in the league, and it is consistently showing night after night. There’s just no talent on this team anymore, and the squad is being outscored by 1.4 goals per game on the average night. The Sabres rank second to last in shots on goal, second to last in shots allowed, dead last in scoring, and 24th in team defense. The good news is that the team does have three points and two puck-line victories to show for its work in its last two games. The bad news is that the previous five games, each of which the team was at least a -140 favorite at +1.5 on the puck-line, all ended in defeats by at least two goals.
27: Minnesota Wild (11-18, -$1,019) – The Wild can’t be blamed for their schedule, as that is what has really slaughtered them of late on the NHL gambling lines. Just since November 19th, they have had to take a trip through Eastern Canada, visit Winnipeg, take on the Coyotes, and the Avalanche twice. That’s about as bad of a stretch as you’re going to see, and the oddsmakers really didn’t do them any favorites by making them short underdogs in a lot of those games. Those are the games of death for puck-line bettors, knowing that losses like the 3-1 defeats to Phoenix and Colorado both became very costly. Part of Minnesota’s problem is that it just isn’t featuring many goals in games in totality. ‘Under’ bettors are 15-8-6 thus far this season.
26: Vancouver Canucks (11-19, -$876) – The Canucks actually took some steps in the right direction this week, and on their four-game East Coast swing, they went 2-2 and made nearly $200 in profits for puck-line bettors. The key for turning things around in Vancouver is going to be getting the offense going. The squad scored 13 goals in four games on the East Coast, and that’s a tremendous improvement for a club averaging just 2.6 goals per game. The Sedin twins have 54 points between them. The next two highest scoring players are C Ryan Kesler and C Mike Santorelli, who only have 40 points between them.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.