14/15 NHL Division Winner Betting Picks

Sport Betting Canadian Hockey MascotThe NHL season is now under a week from getting underway.  The sportsbooks have started to add more futures and prop bets for us to wager on.  I already added a Stanley Cup Prediction post where I picked my four favourites based on their odds.  In this post I’ll look at the divisions individually and who I think will be sitting atop each division at the end of the year.

My picks below are also my favourite picks based on the odds and not necessarily who I think has the best chance of winning the division.

Atlantic Division

  • Bruins BettingBoston Bruins 2.75
  • Tampa Bay Lightning 5.00
  • Montreal Canadiens 5.52
  • Detroit Red Wings 7.03
  • Toronto Maple Leafs 9.00
  • Ottawa Senators 11.00
  • Buffalo Sabres 17.00
  • Florida Panthers 17.00

I’m surprised the Bruins aren’t bigger favourites to win the Atlantic Division.  Last year they finished with 16 more points than the Lightning who were the second best team in the Atlantic.  The other teams have not improved nearly enough to bump Boston from the top spot.  The Bruins are such a complete team that is solid from the backend with Rask as one of the elite goaltenders in the league and Chara as arguably the best shut down defender in the NHL.  Up front the firepower is there as well as the two way game with Bergeron and Krejci one of the best one-two centreman punches in the NHL and Lucic, Marchand and Eriksson also top end players.

Play: Boston Bruins 2.75.

Metropolitan Division

  • Penguins BettingPittsburgh Penguins 3.25
  • New York Rangers 4.54
  • Philadelphia Flyers 6.58
  • Columbus Blue Jackets 7.57
  • Washington Capitals 8.00
  • New Jersey Devils 10.00
  • Carolina Hurricanes 13.00
  • New York Islanders 13.00

This division is tough to call.  I do think that the Penguins will win the division and I don’t mind taking them at odds of 3.25, but there is the risk with if Crosby can stay healthy and if Malkin plays to his potential.  I still think the Penguins are a pretty safe bet to win the Metropolitan so they are my favourite bet.

I also don’t mind the Capitals at 8.00 or the Devils at 10.00.  I think the Caps could be good if Trotz is able to get Ovechkin to play a team game (this is unlikely).  The Devils also made some big changes and now have a lot of depth up front and some solid players at the back end.  Cory Schneider being the undisputed number one could also really put this team to success.  Also, if the Devils can improve on their 0-13 shootout record that would pay big dividends in the standings.

All that said I think the Penguins at 3.25 is still probably the safest and best bet.

Play: Pittsburgh Penguins 3.25.

Central Division

  • St. Louis Blues LogoChicago Blackhawks 2.75
  • St. Louis Blues 4.01
  • Minnesota Wild 6.50
  • Colorado Avalanche 6.51
  • Dallas Stars 8.50
  • Nashville Predators 13.00
  • Winnipeg Jets 13.00

This is a very interesting division.  I think that anyone outside of Nashville and Winnipeg has a shot at finishing atop the Central this year.  Last season the other 5 teams all made the playoffs and each has tried to improve this year.  At odds of 2.75 I have to stay away from the Blackhawks.  I do believe they are the best team in the league, but they tend to go through some slumps at times and last season they finished behind both the Avalanche and the Blues.  I don’t think the Avs will be able to repeat as division winners and I don’t know if the Stars’ acquisitions will be enough to push them to the top of the division.  This leaves me with the Blues and the Wild.

St. Louis lost 6 games in a row to finish the season last year otherwise they would have easily won the division.  They have a very similar team and an awesome defense-corps with Pietrangelo, Bouwmeester and Shattenkirk leading the way.  I think the question mark is in goal where Brian Elliott will be getting the full job this season.  I don’t see how anyone in net will perform poorly behind this group though so I do like the Blues to win this division.

The Wild at 6.50 I also like though.  Their young guys are coming into their own right now while still costing hardly anything.  With Parise, Koivu, Vanek and Pominville as veterans and Coyle, Granlund and Haula on minimum contracts the offense should be no problem for the Wild, and this doesn’t even include RFA Niederreiter.  Suter will still be the anchor of the defense with Spurgeon, Scandella and Brodin also playing big roles.  I think the Wild have a legitimate shot to be a very, very good team this year.

That said, for the relative small jump in odds I think the Blues are the better bet.

Play: St. Louis Blues 4.01 @ SportsInteraction.com.

Pacific Division

  • San Jose SharksLA Kings 2.77
  • Anaheim Ducks 3.67
  • San Jose Sharks 5.50
  • Vancouver Canucks 9.00
  • Edmonton Oilers 10.00
  • Arizona Coyotes 11.00
  • Calgary Flames 15.00

This is an interesting division.  First off I have to eliminate the Kings because they have never been able to really sustain their playoff level over the course of an entire season.  Combine this with a possible Stanley Cup hangover and the odds just aren’t good enough.  For me this leaves the Ducks and Sharks because the other 4 just don’t have the talent.

The Ducks have had quite a few changes coming into this season.  They won’t have Selanne, Koivu, Winnik, Perrault, Bonino, Sbisa, Robidas or Hiller from last season.  But they are adding Kesler, Stoner, Heatley, Thompson and LaBarbera.  Kesler will be an upgrade as the second line winger and they are hoping Heatley can relocate his scoring touch as a possible addition to the Perry and Getzlaf line.  Some of the depth forwards with speed will be missed though and this team that was one of the fastest in the league has gotten slower.

The Sharks on the other hand talked a big game when it came to changes, but there actually wasn’t many.  Boyle, Stuart and Havlat are gone, while these players are expected to be replaced from within the organization.  The only real hole that will need to be filled is Boyle, who is a very strong regular season defenseman.  The core of this team is still together though with Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski, Couture, Burns and Vlasic still one of the best cores in the league.  They also have something to prove after their embarrassing loss to the Kings in the first round last season.

I think either the Ducks or Sharks could win this division, so I’m taking the Sharks for the bigger pay day.

Play: San Jose Sharks 5.50.

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