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NHL Betting Opinion 2008 – Top Shelf, Week 18
Our Sportsbooks: 1. Detroit Red Wings (37-10-4)
Detroit will be their betting backers best friend. The Red Wings are scorching hot at home, going 19-4-2 SU this year in Joe Louis. They’re a great way to increase your bank roll heading in to Superbowl XLII. No team on the schedule this week should give them any trouble.
Schedule: Phoenix vs. Detroit (1/30), Colorado vs. Detroit (2/1), Detroit vs. Boston (2/2)
2. Ottawa Senators (31-15-4)
The Sens are in the middle of another goalie controversy as Ray Emery continues to be a cancer in the locker room. Showing up late for practice yet again, the net minding superstar (in his head) continues to act like the type of diva that Ottawa fans resent. The Sens broke a three-game losing skid by hammering the Lightning 8-4 before the break. No time table for Spezza’s return is set, but they’ll need him if this Saturday against Toronto in what is almost always a great fight.
Schedule: Ottawa vs. NYI (1/29), Boston vs. Ottawa (1/31), Ottawa vs. Toronto (1/2)
3. Philadelphia Flyers (27-16-5)
The Flyers took nearly half a season to do it, but they’ve found their flight path and are cruising with chemistry. They have a stiff test against the Ducks on Saturday, but two manageable matchups await against LA and the NYR. Philadelphia is 11-6-5 SU at home, and score a whopping 3.3 goals per game, good enough for third in the NHL.
Schedule: LA vs. Philadelphia (1/29), NYR vs. Philadelphia (1/31), Anaheim vs. Philadelphia (2/2)
4. Anaheim Ducks (27-20-6)
First Niedermeyer returns (to make the All-Star team, nonetheless), and now Teemu Selanne is on his way back in to the fold. They have a three game road trip this week, and are worth staying away from because of their 11-13-2 SU record on the road. But an old friend is waiting in the wings to help change all that.
The Ducks offense needs a kick in the pants after only averaging 2.5 goals per game. Their defense has done the dirty work allowing the seventh fewest goals per game with 2.6 against. But Selanne’s return sends a simple message to the league: these Ducks are hunting for another Stanley Cup.
Schedule: Anaheim vs. Minnesota (1/30), Anaheim vs. St. Louis (2/1), Anaheim vs. Philadelphia (2/2)
5. Montreal Canadiens (26-16-8)
Montreal is only six points behind Ottawa for top-spot in the North East division, and are 17-7 SU on the road. Their two-game tilt against Ovechkin and the Caps will prove if they have the scoring moxy to hang with the best. The second-half of the season, however, will prove if all the magic they conjured up in the first-half can carry them in to the playoffs. They’re worth a long-shot bet to make the Eastern Conference finals in our prop bets, especially with their three-line scoring roster.
Schedule: Washington vs. Montreal (1/29), Montreal vs. Washington (1/31), NYI vs. Montreal (2/2), NYR vs. Montreal (2/3)
6. New Jersey Devils (28-18-3)
Everyone wrote New Jersey off at the beginning of the season, and boy did they make everyone (but me, who had them finishing 4th in the East) look like suckers. And everyone knows that suckers are chumps. They have winning records both at home (14-8-0 SU) and on the road (14-10-3 SU) and are scoring an unusual amount of points. They are the Patriots of the NHL in that they draft extremely well and have a fantastic retention rate, while managing a good salary cap number. They have to keep their eyes on the Flyers, but three home games this week should profit their betting faithful big time.
Schedule: Pittsburgh vs. New Jersey (1/29), NYR vs. New Jersey (2/1), LA vs. New Jersey (1/2)
7. Minnesota Wild (28-19-3)
The Wild are my favorite to win the competitive North West division, and with Marion Gaborik at full steam, that pick looks solid right now. Vancouver and Calgary are both inconsistent, and Brian Rolston of the Wild came on strong last week with three twine finders in three games. He is finally living up to his scoring potential this season. The Wild are a dangerous team on the road with a 13-11-2 record and play fantastic team defense. They have an impossible matchup against Anaheim, essentially the only team in the league built to defeat fast, skating teams like Minnesota.
Schedule: Anaheim vs. Minnesota (1/30), Minnesota vs. Columbus (2/2)
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