NHL Central Odds Update: Who Will Come Out on Top?
With Seven Left, Minnesota Wild Have Three-Point Lead Over Dallas
One of the most competitive divisions in the National Hockey League is the Central Division where three points separate the Minnesota Wild (97 points), Dallas Stars (94), and the Colorado Avalanche (94). It’s certain to get even tighter with the Stars and Avalanche owning a game in hand over the Wild. Let’s check in on the Central Division odds to see which team oddsmakers feel will take the crown.
Minnesota Wild 44-22-9, 97 points (+125)
The Minnesota Wild gave themselves some breathing room with a 4-2 road win at Colorado, Wednesday. That could be a key win considering the Avalanche own a game in hand over the Wild with eight games to play. With the win, Minnesota will maintain its lead regardless of what Colorado or Dallas does with that extra game.
Despite the victory, the Wild know that they were outplayed for most of the night, needing a 42-save effort from Filip Gustavsson to steal two valuable road points. The Avalanche outshot the Wild 44-29, including 19-4 in the third period. That leaves the Wild happy they won, but the Avalanche have to feel like they are the better team.
All three teams have easy schedules but the Wild statistically own the most difficult with two games left against the Vegas Golden Knights. The Wild are 16-1-4 in their last 21 games, with their only loss coming at home against the Boston Bruins. Let’s check out the Central Division odds for the Dallas Stars.
Dallas Stars 40-20-14, 94 points (+205)
When all is said and done we still think the Dallas Stars are the best team in the Central Division and is worth a wager at +205. The Stars don’t have a schedule as easy as the Avalanche in the next few weeks, but they do have one head-to-head match-up with Colorado on Saturday.
That game will go a long way toward determining not only the division winner but will have a massive impact on home-ice advantage should neither team win the Central. Our confidence in the Stars comes from their depth. Any team that wins a Stanley Cup will do so because NHL team stats will show a bottom six that contributes more than eating up minutes.
Pete DeBoer’s team has two third-line forwards, Max Domi (19 goals) and Tyler Seguin (18) who are likely to get to the 20-goal mark. Dallas has been sputtering some down the stretch with a 3-3-1 record in their last seven games. Two of the losses came at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks as a favorite.
We don’t want to read too much into their recent form, but their next game against the Coyotes has a little more emphasis on it with the Stars looking to find some consistency. Let’s turn our Central Division odds attention to the defending champions.
Colorado Avalanche 44-24-6, 94 points (+240)
It’s a bit curious that the Avalanche are the third choice to win the divisions considering they have the easiest remaining NHL schedule with two games against the San Jose Sharks, and one against Anaheim. Those should be three automatic wins.
It will be interesting to see how the Avs respond after their loss to the Minnesota Wild that kept Jared Bednar’s team from taking over the top spot. Bednar was not happy with how his team came out in the first 20 minutes saying there were some passengers in the first 20 minutes.
Coaches will make those comments public when they want to use the whip on their team. Usually, teams respond well which may be bad news for their key match-up with the Dallas Stars. They’ll wash that key match-up down with back-to-back games against the San Jose Sharks next Tuesday and Wednesday. Colorado has won nine of their last 11 games and has rotated over / under results in 11 straight games with the Wild game going over.
That does it for our Central Division odds preview, we suggest taking the Stars (+205) but get it now because if the Stars beat the Avalanche this weekend, the number will not move in the players’ favor. If your NHL match-up prediction includes Colorado beating Dallas then perhaps wait for this number to increase if you still like the Stars.Follow us on Twitter