I’m not one to give tips on betting or gambling on sports; but when I stumbled upon Bodog’s NHL future odds, it got me thinking. One of their features was an over/under on point totals for the 2011/12 season. Some were surprising, some were right on the money. Here’s what I would do if I were a betting man…
Anaheim Ducks: 95.5… The Ducks have averaged 93 points over the last three years and didn’t improve the defense. So they’re no lock for the playoffs. But if Jonas Hiller stays healthy, go with the OVER.
Boston Bruins: 102.5… Boston finished with 103 last season and won the Cup. Though they have the same group coming back, the Cup hangover is real. The safe bet here would be the UNDER.
Buffalo Sabres: 98.5… Pundits have mixed feelings on this Buffalo squad. I believe they are a real threat for the division title. They’ll overachieve in the regular season, so go with the OVER.
Calgary Flames: 90.5… Calgary is the definition of an average team, one that is hard to predict. Bodog is on the money with this over/under, so I’ll pass.
Carolina Hurricanes: 83.5… This may be one of the safest bets here. The ‘Canes have tallied 88 points or more in five of the last six years. I don’t see them making the playoffs, but go with the OVER.
Chicago Blackhawks: 102.5… GM Stan Bowman has put his team in position to contend for the division title (and more). When they won the Cup in 2010, they had 112 points in the regular season. They won’t get that high, but they’ll exceed 103. OVER.
Colorado Avalanche: 75.5… This is a dicey one. The Avs were awful in the second half of last year, but a playoff contender in the first half. If the defense performs better than it appears on paper, the OVER would be the bet here.
Columbus Blue Jackets: 85.5… They have averaged 80 points in the last two years, but improved in the off-season. Despite that, their goaltending makes it impossible to come to a conclusion. I’ll pass…
Dallas Stars: 87.5… Dallas reached 95 points last year, but lost Brad Richards. How much of an effect will that have? Pundits are overlooking the Stars, who will stay in the playoff picture all year. OVER.
Detroit Red Wings: 104.5… Mike Babcock and company have finished under this total for the last two years. Given the Wings’ age and strength of the Central Division, go with the UNDER.
Edmonton Oilers: 77.5… They’ll be better than the 62-point teams of the last two seasons. But 78 points is asking a lot of a team that is still a year or two from playoff contention. UNDER.
Florida Panthers: 83.5… The off-season moves will make the Panthers competitive, but not enough to get 84 points. The safe bet is UNDER.
Los Angeles Kings: 102.5… Betting the over is awfully appealing, after the Kings’ standout off-season. By April, it’ll be a two-horse race for the Pacific. I like L.A.’s chances of going OVER.
Minnesota Wild: 82.5… Wild fans are really optimistic about this season. A lot of experts are drinking the Mike Yeo Kool-aid. And the over/under is 82.5? Easy. OVER.
Montreal Canadiens: 92.5… The teams around them in the East improved over the summer. The Habs didn’t. They have been living well on the bubble in the past two seasons; they are due to fall short. 92.5 seems about right. I’ll pass…
Nashville Predators: 91.5… Nowadays, 95 points is the bench-mark for a playoff team in the West. Nashville is a playoff team. Go with the OVER here.
New Jersey Devils: 90.5… I think we’ll see more of the second half Devils from 2010-11 than the first half, especially if Martin Brodeur avoids the injury bug. OVER.
New York Islanders: 81.5… The Isles are improving and will be a playoff contender in the next couple years. But they are still young, so I’ll pass here.
New York Rangers: 94.5… Call it a gut feeling. Call it whatever. Henrik Lundqvist and the well-rounded Rangers are going to have a good year. OVER.
Ottawa Senators: 74.5… Is there anybody as bad as the Senators? They are in full rebuild mode. Look for the Sens to struggle and get UNDER 74.5 points.
Philadelphia Flyers: 98.5… Philly racked up 106 points last year and make landscape-shaking changes. The locker room reportedly had chemistry issues last year, and they brought in some high-profile personalities. That said, go with the OVER.
Phoenix Coyotes: 87.5… The bounces have gone Phoenix’s way in the last two years. With Ilya Bryzgalov out of the equation, and the ownership issues lingering, the easy bet here is the UNDER.
Pittsburgh Penguins: 100.5… Sidney Crosby’s healthy may directly effect this one. It sounds like he is progressing well, but is still no timetable for a return. Still, I’d go with the OVER.
San Jose Sharks: 103.5… The pressure is on San Jose to win now. They have averaged 111 points in the last four years, and may have gotten better this summer. It’s a bit of a risk, but I say OVER.
St. Louis Blues: 92.5… St. Louis has failed to live up to expectations in each of the last two years, finishing with 87 and 90 points. They are once again a sexy pick, per se, to make the playoffs. If I were a betting man, I’d pass.
Tampa Bay Lightning: 98.5… Steven Stamkos will have a huge year. The same goes for Martin St. Louis. However, they are not going to surprise anyone this year, which could setup a setback. My gut tells me to go with the UNDER.
Toronto Maple Leafs: 89.5… Here’s another dicey one. The Leafs will certainly be in playoff contention. And a good second half got them to 85 points in 2010-11. I’ll pass, but the over is intriguing.
Vancouver Canucks: 106.5… I’ll go on record saying the Canucks will experience a bigger ‘hangover’ than Boston. But that won’t keep them from going OVER 106.5.
Washington Capitals: 107.5… You can’t deny their regular season success, as the Caps have averaged 112 points over the last three years. With their banner off-season, they’ll capture the Presidents’ Trophy and go OVER 107.5.
Winnipeg Jets: 85.5… The Jets have great fan support, and the home games will be electric. But they are still the Thrashers. They have a good future, but UNDER.
Also, in case you haven’t seen them, here are their current Stanley Cup odds:
Vancouver – 7/1
Washington – 7/1
Boston – 10/1
Pittsburgh – 10/1
San Jose – 10/1
Philadelphia – 11/1
Chicago – 12/1
Detroit – 12/1
Los Angeles – 14/1
Buffalo – 18/1
Tampa Bay – 18/1
Anaheim – 25/1
Montreal – 25/1
Nashville – 30/1
New Jersey – 30/1
NY Rangers – 30/1
St. Louis – 35/1
Calgary – 40/1
Dallas – 40/1
Phoenix – 40/1
Carolina – 45/1
Edmonton – 50/1
Toronto – 50/1
Winnipeg – 60/1
Colorado – 65/1
Columbus – 75/1
Florida – 75/1
Minnesota – 75/1
Ottawa – 75/1
NY Islanders – 80/1
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