Bet on vet goalies

Oct 2, 2019 3:00 AM

As a staff member of the Oakland Raiders, VSiN commentator Michael Lombardi recalled an Al Davis project to rank the best coaches in the National Football League.

To this end, Lombardi talked to a professor at Cal, who told him you can’t rank them from 1-to-32. Instead, you need to list them in clusters.

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This has been the formula I’ve utilized for National Hockey League goaltenders for years. A strictly numerical approach rarely works because there are too many factors (like the play of the defense) and too many contests in a season, along with evaluating clusters of road games over short spans.

However, to open the season, unless there were injuries during training camp and the exhibition season, all teams should be even. Thus, the better goalies from the better clubs should be the sides to wager on, no matter the betting line.

For those who want to wait-and-see before wagering on the NHL at the start of each season, you can take the high road: simply wager on the more veteran goalies.

Especially since the NHL and its players came to a labor agreement, Stanley Cup-winning teams have endured poorly with the weight of the championship seemingly embossed on their equipment.

Ever since the Los Angeles Kings hoisted their second Cup in Spring 2014, the pomp and circumstance of Opening Night has turned into either failure or a win coming deep into a shootout.

Only the most experienced goalies survived the 65-plus minutes of play, while the youngsters faded, making Opening Night picks easier than one might suspect.

Bottom Line: Take the veteran goalie over the youngster, like in the Opening Night feature game on NBCSN from St. Louis.

Wednesday

Capitals at Blues: Washington’s Braden Holtby has already survived an Opening Night/Hoist the Banner situation. St. Louis’ Jordan Binnington has not. And with the Caps’ 2018-19 season limited to under 100 games while the Blues went well into triple-figures in winning the Stanley Cup, there would be little surprise about a road victory. CAPITALS

Friday

Blackhawks vs. Flyers (In Prague, Czech Republic): The Flyers continue to play musical chairs with their goalies while the defense is in shambles.

Former tough guy Wayne Simmonds now opposing them in New Jersey to make a rise in the Metro Division even more difficult.

Conversely, the Hawks move forward with a healthy Corey Crawford backed by Robin Lehner and/or Collin Delia. BLACKHAWKS

Saturday

N,Y. Rangers at Ottawa: There are some exceptions to the veteran goalie guideline. A good sample could be in New York, If the Blueshirts are serious about their re-build, the starting goalie should be  Alexandar Georgiev — not 37-year old legend Henrik Lundqvist.

Meanwhile, the Senators dream for a return to the WHA (or relocation to Houston, north Toronto, Milwaukee or Omaha, Neb.). RANGERS

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