January 6, 2014

NHL Puck-Line Power Poll as of 1/6/14

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 1/6/14.

Who’s Hot

1: Pittsburgh Penguins (22-22, +$1,613) – Be careful. Now, they’re healthy. The Penguins have gotten back C Evgeni Malkin and the majority of their defensemen, though D Paul Martin is still a few weeks away from getting back in the fold. They celebrated their new-found health with a 6-5 win over the Jets on Sunday, and though that wasn’t good enough to cover the spread, you’ll understand why in just a second. Still, there is no doubt that finishing .500 is good enough to get the job done for bettors who are backing Pittsburgh, and what you’ll find is that somewhere near half of their wins end up being logged by at least two goals or more. This is the best team in hockey to bet on for a plethora of reasons, and it should continue into the second half of the year.

BetOnline2: Winnipeg Jets (29-16, +$1,331) – The Jets are continuing to do the job on the puck-line, and not a heck of a lot is changing about how they are doing it either. They have covers in five of their last six even though they have only won three of those games, including scoring covers in two of their last three in spite of the fact that they lost all three of those duels. The offense is there to do plenty of damage, but the defense and the goaltending just flat out stink. Still, when you see Winnipeg and you see that +1.5 hanging there on it, you know that you have to at least consider biting the bullet and taking your chances. You generally won’t end up with a huge payday, but as you can see by its record, you’re scoring victories in nearly two thirds of its games thus far this season on the puck-line.

3: Tampa Bay Lightning (25-17, +$1,276) – Though the Lightning took a step backwards against the Oilers on Sunday, they are still one four puck-line teams in the game to pick up at least $1,000 in profits this year. The Bolts did fail to cover their last three games at home before the new year, so when they do come back to the Tampa Bay Times Forum on January 9th against Washington, they could end up being in some trouble, especially if they are -1.5. That positive puck-line has been really problematic for Tampa Bay of late, and a lot of the reason for that has been the games in which G Anders Lindback has been in net instead of the much more efficient G Ben Bishop.

4: Colorado Avalanche (24-17, +$1,139) – Amazingly, this is a fifth straight week of the Avalanche sticking right around that +$1,100 mark for the season on the puck-line. You just can’t bother this team and the mojo which it built up at the beginning of the season, though there isn’t much in the way of positive headway either at this point. Though Colorado has three straight SU wins, it only has covers in two of the three games, and the truth of the matter is that it is a really mixed bag of what we’re seeing of late. Generally speaking, the underdog Avalanche are covering at +1.5, sometimes as SU winners and other times as OT/SO losers. The favored Avalanche are generally the ones that are either winning by a goal or losing SU, so it really is rather no harm, no foul when push comes to shove.

5: Chicago Blackhawks (20-25, +$962) – The Blues are only just behind the Blackhawks in the standings, and they are only just behind their rivals here in the Puck-Line Power Poll as well. Chicago has made some big strides in the right direction in spite of the fact that it is only 2-3 ATS in its last five games. The club also cleaned the clocks of the Avalanche, Devils, Predators, and Kings just before the holiday, and each of those victories from an ATS standpoint were at -1.5 and positive money. All of this is happening without RW Patrick Kane doing all that much either, as he hasn’t scored a goal in four straight, and he has just one assist to show for his work in those games as well. Kane leads the team with 54 points this year, and he is a legitimate Hart Memorial Trophy candidate as well.

Who’s Not

30: Nashville Predators (20-23, -$2,149) – Have the Predators finally hit rock bottom with their ATS slide? They did turn just a bit in the way of profits over the course of the last two weeks, yet they still have no business being anywhere but the gutter in terms of puck-line production this year. Even though Nashville has three straight SU losses, the team has covered the puck-line in each of those games, and the fortunes finally seem like they are starting to turn. Though they are just +$500 in that stretch, the Predators are 5-0 in their last five from an ATS standpoint. Hopefully for their sake, they don’t see anything worse than that ugly -$2,649 for the rest of the year.

29: Edmonton Oilers (21-24, -$1,770) – Get used to hearing about this progression of the teams at the bottom. The Oilers were actually in worse shape two weeks ago when we last addressed the Power Poll than the Predators are right now, but they ended up taking some big steps in the right direction. Sunday’s 5-3 win over the Lightning helped out a lot, and that was a bit of a shocking result from an ATS standpoint considering where these two teams each sit. However, the even money win for Edmonton and even money loss for Tampa Bay didn’t do all that much to sway the dial for either team, and that’s just a part of the reason why this 14-win Edmonton team is still one of the worst in the NHL from just about every perspective imaginable.

28: Ottawa Senators (19-25, -$1,632) – The Senators are continuing the upward trend for the five teams which were at the bottom of our Power Poll two weeks ago. In fact, all four of the five took steps in the right direction, and the Islanders, who were ranked 27th two weeks ago, are up to 24th and out of our gutter. As far as Ottawa goes though, four straight SU wins has helped, and the team hasn’t had a catastrophic result at +1.5 on the puck-line since December 19th. Since that point, the team has covered five out of six, and the one +1.5 loss was offset by two -1.5 victories at big time positive odds. That’s how you claw out of a hole in the standings and in the Power Poll, and the Senators did a nice job with both in the last two weeks.

27: Detroit Red Wings (14-29, -$1,617) – There isn’t a team with fewer puck-line wins or more puck-line losses this year than Detroit, and it is really starting to catch up with the club. The team finally won its first game in regulation since December 28th against the Stars on Sunday, and that was its first win by multiple goals since beating the Devils on December 6th. The last -1.5 victory for the Wings was back on November 24th. That’s a humongous amount of time to go without one of those massive +200 or better victories on the puck-line, and in that stretch, there have been several disastrous results which are the types of losses which bury a team here at 27th on our Puck-Line Power Poll. There’s a lot of work to do in Motown to get off of this list, and just as much work that needs to be done to ensure that Detroit’s first season in the Eastern Conference isn’t the season which ends its epic run of consecutive seasons in the playoffs.

26: Minnesota Wild (18-26, -$1,599) – There is definitely a worry as to whether G Josh Harding and his MS is acting up again, but for the time being, G Nicklas Backstrom has been able to hold down the fort and bring the team to two massive -1.5 plus odd victories. In fact, the Wild have had three straight ATS wins, which was great considering the fact that the team had suffered six previous ATS losses in a row. The problem though, is that it is off to the West Coast, where there have been problems for a number of teams this season, and without its starting goalie, Minnesota could have some real troubles.

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Adam Markowitz

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.

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