NHL Handicapping Guide
- Updated: March 1, 2012
With the calendar turning the page to March, the NHL regular season is churning its way towards the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The action remains fast and furious as teams continue to battle it out night after night for one of the eight available playoffs spots in their respective conference.
This weekly betting guide takes a look at the teams that have not only separated themselves from the pack on the ice, but have provided a highly profitable return for anyone who enjoys wagering on the games. It will also provide a couple of free picks for Friday’s games.
The Top Three Money Makers
There has been a shake-up with this week’s overall list, but nothing has changed at the top with the Detroit Red Wings still leading the way with a +1721 return on the money line. They are tied with St. Louis atop the Central Division with 87 points and have an overall record of 42-19-3. The Red Wings primary claim to fame this season is a 26-3-2 record at home that included a record-setting 23-game winning streak.
The Phoenix Coyotes have vaulted to the top of the Pacific Division with a 9-0-1 record in their last 10 games. They currently have 75 points and an overall record of 33-21-9. This recent tear has also vaulted them to the second spot on this list with a +1605 return on the money line. The Coyotes have also been profitable against the puck line with an overall record of 39-24.
The Ottawa Senators have dropped to third on the money maker’s list, but remain red hot on the ice. They are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and just one point behind Boston in the Northeast Division with a total of 76 points. Overall, the Senators are 34-23-8 on the year. What makes this team so attractive to wager on is a +1446 return on the money line to go along with a 41-24 record against the puck line, which is the best in the NHL.
The next tier of teams with the best return on the money line through Wednesday night’s games are the New York Rangers at +1395, the Pittsburgh Penguins at +1352, the Nashville Predators at +1300, and the Vancouver Canucks at +1019.
Friday Night’s Free NHL Picks
The first game on the slate is an Eastern Conference battle between the New Jersey Devils and the Washington Capitals. The Devils are in seventh-place in the East with 74 points and mired in a three-game losing streak. The Capitals are in eighth-place in the conference with 69 points and riding a three-game winning streak.
These two met three times in the early part of this season with Washington winning the first game 3-1 as a 128 road favorite and New Jersey grabbing the next two in shootout victories as a 168 underdog on the road and as a 101 underdog at home. The Devils should open as road underdogs again, but stick with the Capitals in this one as the home team is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings. The Free NHL Pick: Washington 3 New Jersey 2
The next game of interest on Friday night is an inter-conference matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Ottawa Senators. Chicago led the Western Conference earlier this season but has fallen on hard times with just five wins in its last 17 games. It is coming off a much needed 5-4 victory over Toronto on Wednesday night as a 164 home favorite. Ottawa is still basking in a huge 1-0 win over Boston as a 158 road underdog this past Tuesday.
This will be the first meeting between these two this season, but the Blackhawks hold a 4-1 advantage in the last four games. Chicago comes in with a 12-17-3 record on the road overall and a 2-9 record in the last 11 games, while the Senators are 17-12-3 at home. Stick with Ottawa as it takes full advantage of the Blackhawks inability to win on the road. The Free NHL Pick: Ottawa 4 Chicago 2
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