NHL Betting Trends At All-Star Break: Best Puckline Teams & Playoff Race Bets
Best Puckline Teams In The NHL
1st - Tampa Bay Lightning (34-12-3, 71 points)
A brief rough patch during January threatened to oust the Lightning from the top of the Presidents’ Trophy table, losing five games during the first three weeks of the month, including losses to Montreal and Ottawa.
Tampa Bay put concerns to rest by winning three road games in a row before the all-star weekend, proving their ability to play defense without Norris Trophy Candidate Victor Hedman. The Lightning beat the puckline in nearly 70% of their matchups, by far the best in the NHL.
2nd - Vegas Golden Knights (32-12-4, 68 points)
If you’re still waiting for the Golden Knights to regress to the mean, we have some bad news for you. Vegas continues to perform as the best team in the western conference, a pair ahead of the Winnipeg Jets and an astounding nine points ahead of the San Jose Sharks for first in the Pacific Division.
Some believed that Vegas would come back down to earth after their mandated week off. Instead, the Golden Knights defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in Florida and deposed the Columbus Blue Jackets to maintain their status as the best expansion team in NHL history. Vegas beat the spread in two-thirds of their matchups.
3rd - Boston Bruins (29-10-8, 66 points)
Boston’s earned points in 18 consecutive games to rise to second overall in the eastern conference. During this span, the Bruins have collected points throughout the month of January, and pulled off a six-win streak in December, along with a five-game win streak before the all-star break.
Coach Bruce Cassidy’s no longer an interim bench boss, deriving fantastic performance from Boston, even through injuries and suspensions to top players like Marchand, Bergeron and Rask. The Bruins beat the puckline in 61.7% of matchups.
4th - Nashville Predators (29-11-7, 65 points)
Nashville’s performed well without top scorer Filip Forsberg, earning a five-game win streak before dropping a pair prior to the all-star weekend. They haven’t been affected by their long journey to last year’s Stanley Cup, roaring to second in the Pacific Division, a point behind the Jets with three games in hand.
Music City presents a difficult challenge for visitors, due to Nashville’s terrific 16-4-3 home record. Nashville’s the second-hottest team in the western conference, winning seven of their past ten. The Predators cover the spread in 61.7% of their matchups
5th - Washington Capitals (29-15-5, 63 points)
Winnipeg has three more points than Washington at the all-star break, but the Capitals have outperformed expectations more often that the Jets. As such, Washington’s a top-five team against the spread, despite their inferior record.
Washington had to shed talent because of the salary cap, but remain in top position in the Metropolitan Division. The Capitals have beaten the puckline in 59.2% of their games.
Worst Puckline Teams In The NHL
Detroit Red Wings (19-21-8, 46 points - 39.6% ATS)
They aren’t the worst team in the eastern conference, but the Red Wings have struggled to cover the spread this season. Things won’t get easier for Detroit, as the rest of their schedule’s the most difficult in the Atlantic Division.
Vancouver Canucks (19-24-6, 44 points - 38.8% ATS)
The Canucks were devastated by injuries to Bo Horvat and other top six forwards during the waning weeks of 2017, plummeting Vancouver to the bottom of the western conference. Expect the Canucks to improve now that they’re returned to good health.
Ottawa Senators (15-23-9, 39 points - 31.2% ATS)
If it weren’t for the Edmonton Oilers surprising fall, the Ottawa Senators would be the most disappointing team in Canada. Let the Erik Karlsson trade rumors begin.
Buffalo Sabres (14-26-9, 37 points - 28.6% ATS)
Buffalo won three consecutive games before the all-star break to boost themselves out of last place overall. Expect the Sabres to trade talent for picks around the deadline, which will make Buffalo a horrible ATS squad at the end of the year.
Arizona Coyotes (12-29-9, 33 points, 24.0% ATS)
The Coyotes have perked up somewhat in January, securing a trio of wins and points in seven of their last ten games. Arizona’s another team likely to trade talent, so look out for Oliver Ekman-Larsson trade talks.
Best NHL Bets During The Playoff Race
Tampa Bay Lightning
Tough to believe the season could improve for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but they’ll finish the campaign with 14 of 20 games at home. The Lightning also feature the easiest schedule in the NHL, playing 14 of 33 games against non-contenders. Tough to see many teams beating Tampa when Victor Hedman returns.
With the least challenging remaining schedule in the Central Division, the Predators should be considered favorites to win the Central Division, potentially securing first in the Western Conference. Nashville will only get stronger when Filip Forsberg rejoins the roster.
New York Islanders
The Islanders have been one of the most explosive teams in the NHL, as rookie Mathew Barzal continues to solidify his case for the Calder Trophy. New York plays a lot of home games in February and March, which might result in plenty of momentum for the rest of the regular season campaign.
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