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Columbus Blue Jackets Odds - Be cautiously optimistic about this overachieving squad

Posted by Don Melrose on 9/17/2009 10:59:24 AM
hockey bettingAfter an eternity, Columbus Blue Jackets odds matter for the first time in franchise history. The Jackets finally rewarded their underrated fan base by reaching the postseason. We know they have a top-notch goalie and goal scorer; can the rest of the team catch up and keep this team competitive in NHL betting?

Columbus Blue Jackets Odds: Improving, but still thin on talent

  • Nash, Mason are studs at their positions
  • Defensive forwards are studs but blueline lacks star power
  • Power play is the league’s worst

Columbus Blue Jackets odds maker breakdown: OFFENSE
Under Ken Hitchcock’s defense-first system, the Blue Jackets don’t score much – less than any other Western Conference playoff seed last season. Rick Nash, a pure goal scorer with surprising speed and hands for his size, is the engine of this offense. Without him, Columbus would be in serious trouble. Derek Brassard may finally give Nash a No. 1 center and Nikita Filatov will eventually give Columbus a second elite sniper but he’s no guarantee to excel just yet.

Columbus Blue Jackets odds maker breakdown: DEFENSE
The Jackets arguably have no real top-four defenders but their scrappy committee gets the job done and helped Columbus allow the ninth-fewest goal total in hockey betting last season. Mike Commodore leads a group that plays smart “D” but contributes nothing offensively; even Rotislav Klesla and Fedor Tyutin haven’t delivered on their offensive promise. Columbus gets more defense from its forwards than most teams do; Antoine Vermette is a great two-way player, Samuel Pahlsson is the standard for shutdown forwards and role players like R.J. Umberger and Jason Chimera are defensively responsible.

Columbus Blue Jackets odds maker breakdown: GOALTENDING
Online betting fans have to temper their expectations for Steve Mason slightly, simply because we’ve seen so many great rookie goalies flop after initial success. That said, Mason has a good chance to become a perennial All-Star. He’s big, athletic and competitive; you could argue that he, not Alexander Ovechkin, was the most valuable player to his team last season. Where would Columbus be without him?

Columbus Blue Jackets odds maker breakdown: SPECIAL TEAMS
Gulp. Special teams are a sore spot for the Blue Jackets; they had the league’s worst power play at 12.7 per cent last season – a devastating stat for an offensively challenged team that needs to capitalize on its opportunities. Columbus didn’t acquire any major playmaking help and lacks a power-play quarterback, so it hasn’t remedied the situation. The P.K. should improve with a full-season of Vermette and Pahlsson.

Columbus Blue Jackets odds maker breakdown: SEASON OUTLOOK
The Blue Jackets are a likeable, scrappy team and their 2008-09 season was inspiring, but I can’t help but think they overachieved slightly. They have to hope their youngsters – especially Brassard and Filatov – can contribute sooner rather than later, as the Kings and, possibly, the Oilers will nip at their heels for the No. 8 playoff seed this season.

Check out our world-renowned sportsbook for full Columbus Blue Jackets odds. For more sports betting analysis, keep reading the Betting Edge at

Don Melrose is's hockey expert.



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