Scoring up in NHL

Oct 21, 2008 7:26 PM

by Mark Mayer | The World Series doesn’t begin until Wednesday and the NBA opener is two weeks away. So if you’re not involved with the Ohio-Temple college football game, it’s all National Hockey League tonight for bettors.

It seems like a month ago since the season began in Stockholm and Prague, but through two weeks of play there are still four unbeatens left. And neither Montreal, Buffalo, Edmonton nor Minnesota lead the NHL in total points. That distinction belongs to the New York Rangers with 13 through nine games (6-2-1). That odd stat is due to the Rangers being involved in the European openers, which gave them a two-game head start over the field.

Buffalo (4-0-1) is the one unbeaten in action tonight, hosting the Boston Bruins on the VS network. If you like taking the Sabres at -170, note that favorites are 46-27 on the season and home teams are 42-29. However, in hockey, favorites are often highly priced due to the pronounced home ice advantage over the years.

Visiting teams have had success, like last night when they went 3-1. The one setback was nearly a +1½-goal cover as Florida lost to Montreal 3-1. The Canadiens (5-0-1) were a -230 favorite to win and +135 at -1½.

The Anaheim Ducks at 1-5 have been the biggest money losers so far. Three of their defeats have come as favorites of at least -150, including a 3-1 setback as a -165 home favorite against Carolina last Sunday. If you’re looking for a hot underpriced team try either Minnesota or Edmonton. Both teams are off to 4-0 starts and neither has been favored higher than -135.

Still with the rise in offense, goaltending still decides games. So, it’s not surprising that the four unbeatens are the stingiest in the league in goals allowed. Minnesota is tops with 7, followed by Buffalo with 8, Edmonton 9 and Montreal 11.

The most proficient scoring team is surprising St. Louis (4-1) with 22 goals in five games. As for the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, who are favored to repeat, they are a solid 3-1-1. Hopefully these tidbits will help you make money.