NHL Mid-Season Central Division Report
Surprising Stars Hanging on Atop the Standings
The NHL playoff picture in the Central Divison is as muddled and blurred as a fan could want. Realistically, four teams could win the division, with the Nashville Predators hoping to carry momentum from a three-game win streak into a wild card spot.
The Colorado Avalanche have a slight advantage over the Calgary Flames for the second wild card spot even though they both have 57 points.
Even the Chicago Blackhawks at 15-29-4 (34 points) have won six of their last 10. Let’s take a closer look at the NHL Central Division report, by breaking down each team starting with the Dallas Stars.
Dallas Stars (28-13-10, 66 points, 1st Place)
Home: 13-5-6 (32 points) Road: 15-8-4 (34 points)
Goal Differential: +40 (T-Second)
Streaming: Live Sport Stream
Last 10: 4-2-4 (12 points)
Moneline: 28-23-0, -240 units, 17th overall (based on $100 wagers)
Puckline: 28-23-0, +417 units (7th overall)
Points: Points, 1st Place
Any team with Stanley Cup aspirations knows that without depth the road to the cup will be an uphill climb. This NHL season the Stars are carrying scoring from their top nine to a lead in the Central. When you have the luxury of having Jamie Benn (19-25-44 points) playing third-line minutes, you’re a true contender.
There was a point where most had forgotten how dominant of a player Jamie Benn has been in his career. In 2015-16, the three-time all-star topped the 40-goal mark to support an 89-point season, his second straight 80-point-plus year. He is expected to have his best statistical year since 2017-18 when the 33-year-old had 79 points.
Benn has been a shell of himself since, even though he still has been a terrific defensive player for most of his career, but if he keeps on his 70+ point pace the Stars will find themselves with plenty of scoring on a team that has won with defense to date. From a betting perspective, the Stars have given players fits because the moneyline always makes it difficult to get in bed with the better teams.
The Dallas Stars have won 216 puckline units as a favorite, but that’s behind a record of 15-19. As a puck line dog, it’s been smooth sailing with a 13-4 record, +202 units. The problem with that is you’ll have to lay a bunch to get the +1 ½ goals. Our recommendation would be to go against the Stars down the stretch.
History tells us that Dallas has not been kind to bettors losing over 3200 units since 2016-2017. Perhaps this team is different from a wins/losses standpoint but betting on the Stars will be tricky down the stretch.
Winnipeg Jets (32-19-1, 65 points, 2nd Place)
Home: 18-8-0 (36 points)
Road: 14-11-1 (29 points)
Goal Differential: +29 (seventh)
Last 10: 5-5-0 (10 points)
Moneyline: 32-20-0, +727 units, 4th overall (based on $100 wagers)
Puckline: 31-21-0, +1207 units (1st overall)
The Winnipeg Jets have been a friend to bettors all season long with over 1200 units won on the puck line. That makes life easy for players because NHL teams who are good against the puck line often allow the public to avoid large moneyline prices.
Barring a collapse, this will be the fourth straight season and fifth in six seasons that the Jets have produced a puck line profit with 223-202 (52.47%) +2475 units since the 2017-18 season. In that span, no one has produced more puckline cash for bettors than Winnipeg.
With all those positive numbers there seems to be an underline feeling that the Jets may run out of gas at the finish line. They’ve had to deal with injuries and are noticeably not as deep as the Dallas Stars even though goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has been able to cover up for a team that manages just 30 on net a night (23rd).
If you listen to Head Coach Rick Bowness, his overall tone is certainly not one who is happy with his team’s performance to date.
Minnesota Wild (27-17-4, 58 points, 3rd Place)
Home: 15-8-1 (31 points)
Road: 12-9-3 (27 points)
Goal Differential: +13 (T-13th)
Last 10: 5-4-1 (11 points)
Moneyline: 27-21-0, -427 units, 21st overall (based on $100 wagers)
Puckline: 21-27-0, -175 units (13th overall)
The Minnesota Wild have been the model of inconsistency. Since the end of December, the Wild have won two, lost three, win three, win two. That’s a tough way for bettors to make a living and ultimately that inconsistency will cost them in the postseason.
There is one angle that we may hang on to for the rest of the season and that’s to bet against the Wild when they’re the underdog. With a record of 3-10 (ML) -671 units when not expected to win, they are only better than five other teams as a dog, with only the Penguins (2-9, -682 units as a dog) having a chance at the postseason.
Eight of their first nine games after the break will be against teams that made the postseason last year or will this season. We’ll get a clear understanding of who the Wild is over the next three weeks,
Colorado Avalanche (27-18-3, 57 points, 4th Place)
Home: 13-9-3 (29 points)
Road: 14-9-0 (28 points)
Goal Differential: +18 (12th)
Last 10: 7-3-0 (10 points)
Moneyline: 27-21-0, -192 units, 16th overall (based on $100 wagers)
Puckline: 22-26-0, -220 units (14th overall)
The first round of the postseason could produce an incredible Dallas Stars vs. Colorado Avalanche match-up if things stay as they are, but you can bet that the defending champions are not going down quietly. As the deadline nears Colorado is playing a dangerous game with their postseason hopes because they’re one of many teams that seem to be using LTIR as a way to stay afloat.
They will likely wait until the deadline to make a move because every day that goes by is another that they don’t have to pay a potential signing. GM Chris Mcfarland will have to get creative as injuries continue to be an issue and the lack of NHL draft picks (eight in the next two drafts) will pose a problem as they look for another forward to give them some offensive depth.
Stay from the Avalanche at home where oddsmakers are still forcing players to lay high prices with a team that is .500 at Ball Arena.
Nashville Predators (24-18-6, 54 points, 5th Place)
Home: 14-7-3 (31 points)
Road: 10-11-3 (23 points)
Goal Differential: -4 (19th)
Last 10: 6-4-0 (10 points)
Moneyline: 24-24-0, -184 units, 15th overall (based on $100 wagers)
Puckline: 25-23, -497 units (20th overall)
If the Nashville Predators could find a way to beat the Colorado Avalanche and the Dallas Stars (0-6, -600 units) perhaps the Preds wouldn’t be struggling to find their way into the postseason. Add another division foe, the St. Lous Blues (1-2, -143), into the mix and it tells a picture of a team (1-8) that is struggling against the teams in their division with a 5-9 record with three of those wins coming against the Blackhawks, Coyotes, and Blues.
GM David Poile knows that his team needs an impactful forward to pick up the pace from Matt Duchene, Mikael Granlund, and Ryan Johnson who are not close to what they’ve been in the past. Despite five wins in their last six games, all five wins came at home.
They’ll have a chance to add to that with games against the Flyers and Coyotes after a date at home against the Vegas Golden Knights.
St. Louis Blues (23-25-3, 49 points, 6th Place)
Home: 10-12-2 (22 points)
Road: 13-13-1 (27 points)
Goal Differential: -29 (26th)
Last 10: 3-7-0 (6 points)
Moneyline: 23-28-0, -155 units, 14th overall (based on $100 wagers)
Puckline: 23-28, -902 units (28th overall)
After a 109-point season last year, there isn’t a bigger disappointment in the league than the St. Louis Blues who are on pace for a 79-point year. At home, the St. Louis Blues are just 10-14 against the moneyline costing bettors -638 units of profit with only the San Jose Sharks worse with 1202 units lost. St. Louis has lost five straight games after blowing a 2-0 lead on the Winnipeg Jets, Monday.
With Doug Armstrong handcuffed with some of the pieces he could deal to turn things around, it’s not likely that the Blues will be any different when they resume play in 11 days at ‘The‘Mullet’.
Arizona Coyotes (16-28-6, 28 points, 7th Place)
Home: 10-8-2 (22 points)
Road: 6-20-4 (16 points)
Goal Differential: -46 (27th)
Last 10: 3-6-7 (7 points)
Moneyline: 16-34-0, -140 units, 13th overall (based on $100 wagers)
Puckline: 26-24, -249 units (15th overall)
Believe it or not, there are a few positive things to say about the Arizona Coyotes. The first step to getting back to respectability is their ability to win at home, something the ‘Yotes have been able to do with a 10-8-2 record at ‘The Mullet’.
Arizona is over .500 when betting the puck line telling bettors that they are not a complete pushover on most nights, although their record might indicate otherwise.
If it wasn’t for games against teams in the Eastern Conference, where they are a combined 0-8 (-800 units) against the Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, and Pittsburgh Penguins, Arizona would be a plus-money team overall. As it stands, Arizona is 13-9 against the West (PL) +87 units. Something to think about in the second half.
Chicago Blackhawks (15-29-4, 34 points, 8th Place)
Home: 9-16-2 (20 points)
Road: 6-13-2 (14 points)
Goal Differential: -58 (30th)
Last 10: 6-4-0 (12 points)
Moneyline: 15-33-0, -693 units, 25th overall (based on $100 wagers)
Puckline: 22-26, -709 units (27th overall)
Getting the ‘Hawks to cash a ticket as a puck line doh has been difficult this season. With a 20-25 record the Chicago Blackhawks have lost 1044 units for bettors that thought the extra push could help their wager.
Only the Anaheim Ducks are worse with 1212 units lost. The Blackhawks have found six wins in their last 10 games. This is a team that should be more focused on getting Connor Bedard in a Blackhawks jersey than catching the Arizona Coyotes.
That concludes our NHL Central Division report, join us tomorrow as we dive into the Pacific Division.Follow us on Twitter
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