And it's a good thing I did. Ottawa finally made the trade that has been rumored and anticipated for months. And the return is, to be kind, underwhelming - which is pretty much what we have come to expect from the franchise.
They were a mess this morning, and they are a mess now. Some things never change - even when they change dramatically. Here is the Islanders' offseason in a nutshell - they made big upgrades in the front office and behind the bench, had real hope, and then lost all of that hope when their superstar center, who they nurtured into the player he is since drafting him, bolted for Toronto. Now everyone is sad, the future is cloudy, and maybe playing home games in two different arenas will help. I should have given a spoiler alert before that, because you pretty much know everything you need to about the team right now.
But I won't leave you there, faithful readers. We will look into things in much closer detail. I'm here for you - unlike the fans in Barclays Center have been for the Islanders since their disastrous move there. This is the last of my Western Conference previews, and it's no coincidence that I put this off as long as I could. Like everyone else, I grossly underestimated this team last year. I thought they'd be last in the conference, and they played for the Cup. You can't be more wrong than that.
I feel like I have a little better sense of them this year, but then I thought I had them figured out last year, too. So, I put this preview off so I didn't have to deal with it. Avoidance at the finest. What I am about to write about the Kings is very similar to what I have written about seven or eight other Western Conference teams - and that is what makes this conference both brutally-tough and compelling. The Kings were a playoff team last year, had a solid offseason and are fully capable of being a playoff team this year.
But they are not of the caliber of top teams like Winnipeg or Nashville in the conference. Instead, they are in a large group of teams that are playoff ready - far more teams than there are going to be spots. You know how as you get older there are things you see that remind you that time is passing, and you get a little sad for a moment?
This preview is one of those for me. For many years, writing a preview of the Leafs was an easy and repetitive process. Regardless of the expectations, all I had to say is that the Leafs suck because they always suck, that they were going to disappoint because they always do, and that they weren't making the playoffs.
Stop me if you have heard this before - the San Jose Sharks are a very good team that could easily win the Pacific but could almost as easily find themselves out of the playoffs entirely if their luck is bad because the Western Conference is so brutally deep this year.
Rarely has we seen a conference so deep and, aside from the top two teams, so hard to differentiate. You can make a case for 12 different teams to be playoff teams, and you don't have to try too hard in any of the cases.
As I have written in almost every Western Conference preview, the West is a tight and tough as it has been in a long time, with 12 teams poised to be very legitimate playoff contenders and at least nine of those very hard to distinguish from each other in real ways.
It is going to be a brutal dog fight, and some very good teams are going to be hitting the golf course much sooner than they would like. Luckily, I guess, the Canucks don't need to worry about any of that. Growing up as a Canadian hockey fan, I hated the Montreal Canadiens because they were better than us my hometown team is the Calgary Flames. Each page has something great to offer so we suggest reading them which will in turn lead to become an NHL betting money making machine.
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Update to this handicapper article for the rule changes. A Clearer Proposition The tie is gone from hockey, which means lines will look a little different this year.
Well Respected Name in the Industry. From there you can determine how they relate to one another. And, this is key, keep in mind that the majority of the time the home team in a game is able to dictate its tempo. So if a fast-and-loose Western Conference team rolls into an Eastern Conference rink to play a trap-and-grab team you should expect that the home club is going to set the pace. Home ice doesn't mean more in hockey than in other sports in terms of betting value.
But knowing how each team likes to play and where they are playing will give you a framework of how the game will be played. From there you can determine where the value lies. It's no secret that NHL is bet the least of all major sports, and I know for a fact that hockey wagers are only one percent of all bets being placed in Vegas sportsbooks. What does that mean? The oddsmakers don't pay much attention to the NHL season. So you can catch some soft moneylines because the oddsmaker is looking at the other major sports.
Some back-up goalies are just as good as the starter, so you get a good adjusted number that has great betting value. Hockey totals are by far the toughest area in which to make money betting on sports. There isn't much variance in hockey totals; they are all pretty much 5. And that right there should be a big red flag to prospective bettors.
We've found that over the last several years that there are very rarely true "over" or "under" teams during an NHL season, and most teams are within a few games of. Add in the fact that you have to deal with a lot of 'push' games on 5. Just stick to sides in the NHL. It is called the "active underdog over theory". The active underdog theory is essentially taking an underdog that you believe will be an active underdog either due to revenge against a team from an earlier season loss, coming off a double-digit loss, losing outright to a team they were heavily favored against, etc.
So you expect a team that is looking to exceed expectations over the line currently constructed for them. So anytime that you think a team that is an underdog is going to exceed expectations against a team then take the 'over'.