February 3, 2015

NHL Betting Preview for February 3, 2015

NHL Betting Preview for February 3, 2015&h=253&w=372&zc=1

Big card of NHL action for Tuesday night with eleven games on the board. Here’s my best bets:



The Ottawa Senators are a team that is downright impossible to get a handle on. No one knows where they’re headed which unfortunately includes the local media, ownership, front office and coaching staff. The Senators have a good deal of talent on hand but it’s impossible for players to excel in this kind of situation. They can do well in the opposite situation–a less talented team playing in a well run organization and system. But hockey isn’t an individual game–even the best players in the league can’t ‘take over a game’ like NBA superstars can. The Senators aren’t playing badly but they’re 11 points out of the final Eastern Conference wildcard spot. That’s not an insurmountable deficit but the problem is that the 10 teams in front of them are all playing well with the exception of Florida. They’re 4-4-2 in their last 10 games and playing around the .500 mark isn’t going to get them anywhere unless other teams start losing. The Ottawa media can’t decide if this is a team on the upswing, a team in a downward spiral or what. One frustrated writer took out his anger on the game itself suggesting that NHL parity is a bad thing. Among the other odd justifications for that opinion–it’s made it harder to win the office hockey pool. Sens coming off a 7-2 blowout of Arizona which has given their fans something to get semi excited about. Devils are 13 points back but playing better hockey winning 4 of 6 and going 6-2-2 in their last 10 games. It’s an even matchup hich makes it an easy handicap–we’re taking the underdog price on Ottawa. Senators have beaten the Devils in 6 of the lat 8 meetings including 3 of the last 4 in the Garden State.



Arizona is one of the worst teams in the league and the public knows it. What they don’t seem to realize is that they’ve got just three points less than Columbus who doesn’t have the stench of failure about them. The reasons for their respective poor performances are different. The Jackets have been absolutely demolished by injuries this season. Early in the year it decimated their defensive corps and forced a number of key offensive playmakers to the sidelines. Once they started to return C-Bus started to play decent hockey but then All Star goaltender Sergey Bobrovsky went down with a groin injury and will miss the next six to eight weeks. Arizona just doesn’t have the depth of talent necessary to compete in the NHL–nowhere is that more evident than on defense. Mike Smith at one point was a top goalie in the league but he’s essentially a PTSD victim now facing a nightly barrage of shots. Coyotes allow 30.8 shots per game which is in the bottom ten among NHL teams.

There’s a silver lining to the dark cloud of the Coyotes season–they have a downright ridiculous crop of young talent including Max Domi, Christian Dvorak, Tobias Rieder, Michael Stone, Connor Murphy and Lucas Lessio split between the NHL and the juniors. Stone is the oldest of this group at the ripe old age of 24. Most are 21 or 22 with Max Domi–currently playing for the London Knights in the Ontario Junior Hockey League–the youngest at age 19. It could get even better–remember when the San Antonio Spurs had an awful season because superstar center David Robinson was out all year? The Coyotes are in a similar situation. The Spurs finished near the bottom of the league and drafted a guy named Tim Duncan. The finished 20-62 in 1996-1997 before drafting Duncan. Next year with a healthy Robinson playing alongside Duncan they finished 56-26. They’ve gone on to become a perinneal championship contender and winning 5 NBA titles.

Arizona has a decent shot to win the NHL’s draft lottery and select Connor McDavid. He’s such a can’t miss prosect that the NHL had to tweak the draft lottery format to discourage ‘tanking’ by teams hoping to get him–the same way that the NBA did when Patrick Ewing came into the league. At least that’s what the NBA did publicly–there are still people who suggest that the draft that year was fixed to send Ewing to New York. Anyway, McDavid is being called a ‘once in a generation talent’. Most of the other teams in the bottom of the league standings have nothing. Edmonton is an exception but with an asterisk–they’ve got a ton of young talent but they’ve yet to live up to potential. Arizona has a core group of young players that you could build a winning team around who are doing very well assimilating the NHL game. They’ve got a great prospect in Max Domi in the juniors and if they got the ‘generational talent’ of Connor McDavid they could mature into a downright nasty team.

Anyway, game is another simple handicap–these teams are much more evenly matched than the line suggests. C-Bus shouldn’t be a -170 favorite with a number of injuries and Bobrovsky sidelined.