Thursday, September 30, 2010

NHL OVER/UNDER Season Points

One of our favorite things to do each season is look at the season points odds and predict the over or under. This will be the first time we will do it online and if anyone is making a trip to vegas soon, betting the over on your favorite team or any team for fun can bring some more excitement to the hockey season. from

Lets Look at the odds:

* all money lines are -115 except Phoenix which is noted below.

Anaheim 88.5 The Ducks had 89 points last season and failed to make the playoffs. No big changes have been made during the offseason. Jonas Hiller had a down year last year and looks to rebound. We don't like touching this one as the Ducks will finish about the same as last year.

Atlanta 83.5 The Thrashers seemed to get better as soon as Ilya Kovalchuk was traded to the Devils. The Thrashers came close to their 2nd playoff spot in team history but fell 5 points short with 83. This years Thrashers team has made several changes from last year including the addition of Dustin Byfuglien. The Thrashers are plenty capable of surpassing their output from last year and we believe the Thrashers to be in the 85-89 point range.

Boston 100.5 The Bruins finished the 09-10 season with 91 points mainly due to inability to score goals. The Bruins were last in the East in goals scored and the loss of Marc Savard won't help that cause though Nathan Horton should. The Northeast division is very competitive and although we feel the Bruins will win it, it might not be with 101 points. Take the Under.

Buffalo 91.5 The Sabres won the Northeast Division last season with 100 points. The Sabres haven't changed much and have one of the best goalies and coaches in the league. The Sabres should return to the playoffs and rack up about 94 points. We like the over.

Calgary 92.5 Love the under. Calgary has brought on re-treads in Jokinen and Tanguay and Kiprusoff is a year older. Calgary might be one of the weaker teams in the West. Take the under.

Carolina 86.5 The Hurricanes are very tough to judge. It was a tale of two seasons in one in 09-10, as the Canes suffered major injuries and got off to a horrid start. As they became healthy, they went on a very impressive second half run and finished with 80 points. We wouldn't touch this one, but if you had too, take the under.

Chicago 102.5 Our Stanley Cup Champions were ripped apart 2 weeks after the season was over. We almost feel bad for the fans but hey, they won. The Hawks still have Toews, Kane, Keith and Seabrook and their core is as solid as anyone in the NHL. They will still battle for first in the Conference and we like the over.

Colorado 89.5 Colorado surprised almost all of us last season and qualified for the playoffs with 95 points. While the Avs might have been a little ahead of schedule, they should be able to crack the 90 point plateau playing many games against weak teams like Minnesota, Calgary and Edmonton.

Columbus 79.5 Once again Columbus was unable to make an impact move this offseason. The Blue Jackets should get better goaltending from Mason and a 1 point improvement seems likely. We don't love it, but take the over.

Dallas 88.5 Dallas finds themselves at the bottom of a very tough division once again. Dallas finished last year with 88 points, and this season is destined to go very similarly. Take the under.

Detroit 106.5 Detroit found themselves looking outside the playoffs looking in during the Olympic break and took off late and still rang up 102 points. With the Blackhawks taking a step backward and the Wings heading into the season healthy, we like the over very much.

Edmonton 76.5 Can Edmonton have a 15 point improvement? We think it's possible after seeing the Islanders go from 61 points in 09 to 79 points last season. Taylor Hall and Jordon Eberle will help this young team but it's tough to put your faith in a last place team. Don't touch this one at all .

Florida 71.5 Toronto was last in the East in 09-10 with 74 points. Florida finished with 77 and we don't think they will make a 6 point dive. Vokuhn is a solid goalie and besides the loss of Horton, the team is the same. A healthy David Booth will help Florida be competative and be near the same point total as last season. Love the over here.

Los Angeles 101.5 The Los Angeles Kings finished their resurgence of a season last year with 101 points. We doubt the Coyotes will reach 107 points and doubt the Sharks can put up as many points last season. The Kings will compete for a division title and rack up 105 points or more. Take the over.

Minnesota 85.5 The Wild are pretty much stuck in the same spot they found themselves in last season. There is not a huge upside to this group yet and a season where they find themselves around 85 points make the most sense. We wouldn't touch this one.

Montreal 87.5 Montreal had a great playoff run on the back of now St. Louis goalie Jaroslav Halak. We believe that Montreal will get off to a rough start with Carey Price already hearing boos and fall short of their point total and a playoff spot this season. Take the under.

Nashville 89.5 Nashville is one of those teams that gets no respect from anyone. Barry Trotts is a fantastic coach and the Predators find themselves in the playoffs more often than not. The Preds have a terrific defense and goaltender in Pekka Renne. The Preds should make the playoffs again. Love the over on this one.

New Jersey 101.5 The Devils have had quite an un Devil like offseason with the Kovalchuk saga ongoing into September. However, the Devils have a solid team from top to bottom and if Brodeur can resemble his hall of fame self, New Jersey should fight for the Atlantic Division title and beyond. This is a close one, but we believe the Devils will have the over.

NY Islanders 78.5 Before the news of Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo going down with long term injuries, we loved the over on this one. The Isles will have to prove on the ice they are headed on the right path before the critics give them a shot. A revamped defense should help the Isles hold the many leads they blew last season and their goal total that was 20th in the NHL last season should improve as Tavares, Bailey, Comeau and eventually Okposo when he comes back are all a year older. The Isles had a 18 point jump from 09-10 (61pts-79pts last season) and an equal point output seems to be one of the better bets on the board. We love the over still.

NY Rangers 87.5 The Rangers finished with 87 points last season and missed out on an 89th point and playoff spot by a shootout. The Rangers rely on their goaltender as much as anyone in the league and haven't made any significant changes. The Rangers will be around come playoff time and 85-90 points is about their range. If Lundquist or Gaborik go down, the Rangers will go down with them. We wouldn't touch this one.

Ottawa 87.5 Daniel Alfredsson is a year older and the loss of Volchenkov will hurt this team. We are not high on Daniel Elliot and Ottawa will have it's poorest season in years. Take the under.

Philadelphia 97.5 The Flyers barely made the playoffs and then had a magical run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Leighton is out a month and Simon Gagne went to Tampa. The Flyers resemble the team that barely made the playoffs more than the team that went to the Cup Finals. Take the under.

Phoenix 92.5 The Coyotes are the most interesting case on this board. With 107 points last year, Vegas throws their point total at 92.5 for this season. Unless the Coyotes can prove us wrong, we agree. Phoenix will fall short of the playoffs and if you believe they will fall, take the under. The money line here is different from any team as well. It's -125 for the over and -105 for the under. Every other team is listed at -115 for the over or under.

Pittsburgh 104.5 Pittsburgh and the Devils will most likely fight for the Atlantic Division crown this season. They did the same last season with both teams having 103 points or less. We think the Devils will take it so take the under on this one.

San Jose 103.5 The Sharks once again had a disappointing playoff run, getting run over by the Hawks. The Sharks replaced long time goalie Evegeni Nabokov with Antti Niemi. Time will tell if that proves itself to work out but Niemi did outplay Nabokov in the playoffs. The Sharks will fight with the Kings for the Pacific Division and this seems like a good over to take. The Sharks had 113 points last season and a 10 point drop off is unlikely.

St. Louis 93.5 St. Louis is another young team on the rise, and missed the playoffs by one spot last season. We think the Blues will get in this year with the 8th seed. The Blues were .500 at home last year and we believe a two game improvement at home will get them from 90 points a year ago to 94 this year. Add Halak and this over looks better every time you look at it.

Tampa Bay 92.5 Tampa is a team we feel is getting the most hype from any non playoff team last year. We also don't believe the hype. The Lightning do have some great talent including Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman but are still a year or two away from being an impact team in the East. There is a huge drop off at the bottom of the roster which includes a suspect defense that gave up 3rd worst 260 goals last year in the Eastern Conference and Dan Ellis needs to prove that he can carry a team. Tampa will improve but 93 points is asking a lot. We love the under.

Toronto 84.5 The Leafs are another team rebuilding under Brian Burke. The Leafs roster will look the same but a full year with J.S. Gigure will help tremendously. The Leafs had an East low 74 points last season and are capable of an 85 point season but we don't love it. Stay away from this one. If you are a Leafs fan, take the over and try to have fun with it. The Leafs though are probably not a playoff team.

Vancouver 106.5 The Canucks are probably the most solid team top to bottom in the NHL. However they lack the explosiveness needed night in and night out to produce 107 points. We hate that the Canucks use this as an excuse but the travel situation does play into that. We think the Canucks will win the Northwest easily but 107 points might be tough. Don't touch this one.

Washington 108.5 The Capitals had 121 points last season and we see no reason why they won't come close to duplicating that total this year. All the same pieces are back and the Capitals are out to prove their first round loss was a fluke. Love the over.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Western Conference Predictions

15) Calgary Flames:

Probably a bit of a surprise to pick the Flames so low, but they finished the second half with a 16-20-5 record. They struggle mightily to score goals. They play a boring defensive system that does not work in the post-lockout NHL. They rely way too much on a 34-year old goalie, who has to be feeling the effects of playing over 70 games a season for the last few years. The focus this summer was to add offense and all they came up with was Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay. Not stellar additions. If head coach Brent Sutter decides to open the offense up, and let Jay Bouwmeester play a more offensive game, perhaps that would help Jarome Iginla, who is the Flames only offensive threat.

14) Edmonton Oilers:

The rebuilding has begun for the leagues worst team last year and new coach Tom Renney takes over a young team with lot's of potential on offense. The Oilers will be fun to watch with last years first overall pick, Taylor Hall, playing with fellow youngsters, Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle. Losing Ales Hemsky to injury last season was devastating to the Oilers. Hemsky and Dustin Penner(32 goals) are the only proven goal scorers on the roster. The defense is very suspect, and not really sure what to expect out of Nikolai Khabibulin who is coming off back surgery.

13) Columbus Blue Jackets:

Many what-if's surround the Jackets this season. Rick Nash is a wonderful player, and he proved during the Olympics what he is capable off when he has talent around him. Steve Mason had a wonderful rookie season in net for Columbus two years ago, but posted mediocre numbers last year. Derick Brassard has loads of potential on offense, but the 23-year old has yet to put it together consistently. Nikita Filatov is a dynamic scorer, but a project. They have a young coach in Scott Arniel, who is very energetic and is much more well-liked than former coach Ken Hitchcock. Still, there are too many variables with Columbus. The defense has nobody capable of providing offense and running the point on the power play. If they improve in that area, and the young players produce, Columbus could be a surprise team.

12) Dallas Stars:

It will be very different watching Dallas and not seeing Mike Modano in a Stars jersey. The Stars will also have a new goalie in Kari Lehtonen who replaces Marty Turco. Lehtonen, was once a top prospect in the league, but struggled with injury issues for years. Dallas has a decent group of forwards led by Brad Richards, who scored a very quiet 91 points last year. James Neal, Loui Errikson, and Jamie Benn all have potential to score 30 goals. The defense was a big problem last year, and remained the same this summer.

11) Phoenix Coyotes:

No team accomplished more and exceeded the low expectations league wide than the Phoenix Coyotes last season. Dave Tippet is a fantastic coach who realizes that Phoenix will not fly under the radar again this year. Phoenix will be in playoff contention most of the year, but will fall short. We just don't trust players such as Ed Jovanovski, Derek Morris, and Adrian Aucoin to have the same impact on defense as they did last year. Losing premier shot-blocker, Zbynek Michalek this summer will hurt them. Ilya Bryzgalov is solid in goal but will have trouble duplicating last seasons unbelievable numbers.

10) Minnesota Wild:

Minesota started very slow last season and never seriously contended for a playoff spot. They now play a more up tempo game which is opposite of what they played under Jacques Lemaire for most of their existence. Losing Pierre-Marc Bouchard after one game and getting minimal production from Martin Havlat seriously hurt the teams offense. With Mikko Koivu, Andrew Brunette, Guillaume Latendresse, and newly acquired center, Matt Cullen the Wild could have a decent offense in addition to Bouchard and Havlat. Niklas Backstrom is a better goalie than his stats indicated last year as the defense will need to improve.

9) Anaheim Ducks:

Anaheim boosts on of the best lines in hockey with Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Bobby Ryan. The problem is their defense was horrible last season, and they're one of the most penalized teams in the league. The departure of Chris Pronger, and now the retirement of Scott Niedermayer has left the defense with gaping holes. This summer they added, Toni Lydman, Andy Sutton, Paul Mara, to compliment Lubomir Visnovsky and Luca Sbisa. Not good enough in our opinion to make the playoffs in the West, no matter how good Jonas Hiller is in goal.

8) St. Louis Blues:

Simply put, the problem with St.Louis is lack of goal scoring. The leading scorer for the Blues last season was Andy McDonald, with 57 points. David Backes and Brad Boyes did not produce like they expected and T.J Oshie, David Perron, and Alexander Steen have immense potential, but do not score consistently. Jaroslav Halak was a good pickup in goal, but the problem with the Blues is offense, and once again they are riding all their hopes on young players.

7) Colorado Avalanche:

Another team similar to the Blues in possessing loads of young talent. The difference is that Colorado has Matt Duchene and Chris Stewart who are dynamic scorers and only going to get better. Craig Anderson had a career year in goal, but he is capable of proving that it was not a fluke. The defense is not great, but should be good enough to make the playoffs for the second straight year.

6) Nashville Predators:

Nashville gave the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks all they could handle in round one last season only to fall for the fifth time in as many tries in first round play as a franchise. The goaltending and defense is as solid as any in the Western Conference. But as usual, the Predators struggle to find offense. Lot's of pressure with be on Martin Erat and David Legwand to rebound after poor years offensively. Matthew Lombardi was signed s a free agent to add speed to the offense, and they took a shot on Sergei Kostitsyn being able to rebound from a poor season in Montreal. Pekke Renne is on the cusp of stardom in goal.

5) Los Angeles Kings:

Last season the Kings were thrilled to finally qualify for the playoffs for the first time in eight years, but this season expectations are higher. The Kings will have basically the same offense, led by Anze Kopitar, who registered 81 points last season and may be capable of reaching 90-95. Once again he will be relied upon to provide goals along with Ryan Smyth and Dustin Brown. Last season saw the emergence of Drew Doughty as one of the best defenseman in the league. He is joined by the improving Jack Johnson, Matt Greene, Rob Scuderi, and recently signed Willie Mitchell. For the first time in years, the Kings found a true No. 1 goalie in Jonathan Quick, and have highly touted prospect, Jonathan Bernier as a backup to take some of the workload off Quick. Sky is the limit for the Kings who could win the Pacific Division if the offense improves.

4) Detroit Red Wings:

The Red Wings were one of the better teams in the league near the end of the season and should be even more improved this year. Detroit has three star forwards in Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Johan Franzen. They have solid secondary scorers in Tomas Holmstrom, Valtteri Filppula, and Dan Cleary. Plus, they will have skilled LW Jiri Hudler, back from Russia to add more offense. The defense is getting older, but is still solid with Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski leading the way. Jimmy Howard proved he will be the Wings goalie for awhile after being a runner-up for the Calder trophy. Keep in mind that the Red Wings have eclipsed 100 points for 10 consecutive seasons.

3) San Jose Sharks:

San Jose made strides last season by advancing to the Western Conference Finals, but still are awaiting that elusive Stanley Cup appearance. If they are to advance, they will have to do so without Evgeni Nabokov in goal. Yes they acquired cup-winning goalie Antti Niemi from Chicago, but he will still have to prove that last season was not a fluke. Perhaps the biggest concern with the Sharks is that beyond their top two lines there are serious issues. The Thornton-Marleau-Heatley line may be the best in the game. Ryan Clowe and Joe Pavelski are good players, but the drop off is huge on the third and fourth lines. San Jose is also a bit thin on the blueline after the top four led by Dan Boyle. They still play very well at home and in the regular season and should be good enough to squeak by the Kings, barely.

2) Vancouver Canucks:

Vancouver is certainly carrying the flag for Canada, as this may be the best hope for a Canadian team to win the cup since 1993. Vancouver is loaded upfront with the Sedin's leading the way. Alex Burrows and Ryan Kelser are very good players and Mason Raymond is poised to take the next step to being a top forward. Manny Malhotra was a good signing as he will strengthen the third line. On defense, the Canucks were exposed last postseason, but are hoping that Dan Hamhuis improves their defense. Roberto Luongo is a great regular season goalie who has had trouble putting it together in the playoffs. Many things to like about the Canucks this year as they have enormous pressure on them to advance deep into the playoffs.

1) Chicago Blackhawks:

It doesn't matter that they lost so many players due to salary cap reasons. They are still the champions, and we still feel that most of the core is still intact. Clearly, the Hawks biggest strength was their depth last season as opponents could not match them line for line. They won't have that advantage this year, but they still have Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane who are still going to get better. Kane is only 22-years old and scored 88 points. He could reach 100-points this season. Marian Hossa missed 22 games last year, and when healthy can score 40 goals. Patrick Sharp and Troy Brouwer both scored over 20 goals last season. We're expecting young players such as Jack Skille and Viktor Stalberg to step up and fill the void for some of the veterans that left. Last I checked, they still have a Norris trophy winner on the blueline in Duncan Keith. Brent Seabrook is as solid of a stay at home defensemen as anyone in the league. Niklas Hjalmarrson proved his value in the playoffs, and Brian Campbell is capable of having a better season than the 38 points he put up last year. After those four, it gets weaker on defense, which is the Hawks biggest concern. Marty Turco is the new goalie, and he will probably welcome a change of scenery from Dallas. We're banking on the Hawks getting production from the young players within the organization and defending their Western Conference crown.