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How To Bet On NHL Central Division – Great Value For Teams Looking To Dethrone Blues In Central Division

Posted by Don Melrose on 1/9/2013 6:49:56 PM

With the NHL back after more than a three-month lockout, sports betting fans can’t wait to get in on the action. When it comes to betting NHL futures in a lockout-shortened season, it’s important to remember how things played out when there was last hockey. Only six of the 15 teams from the Western Conference finished last season with more than 100 points, and it should be noted that five of those teams came out of the Central division. The St. Louis Blues led the way with109 points, while the Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, and the Chicago Blackhawks all surpassed the century mark. All four teams are expected to once again compete for the division title in 2013, with the Columbus Blue Jackets the lone team that does not figure to have a legitimate shot.

The Blue Jackets are once again in a rebuilding process after trading Rick Nash to the New York Rangers in the offseason, and are listed as the biggest underdog at +20,000 sports betting odds to win the Stanley Cup. Columbus won’t be a pushover, but they aren’t nearly as talented as the other four teams from the Central, including the reigning division champion St. Louis Blues.

The Blues are listed as the online betting favorites to win the Central division after finishing second in the conference a year ago, and it may help that they will play a shortened schedule. Brian Elliottt overtook Jaroslav Halak as the team’s starting goaltender a year ago and posted one of the best goals against averages in the NHL, but it’s unlikely that tandem will be as good as they were a year ago once again this season. St. Louis has some scorers in Chris Stewart and David Backes, but they aren’t an offensive juggernaut. Listed at + 1,400 odds to win it all in 2013, there may be better value than the Blues.

Both the Blackhawks and Red Wings are expected to challenge St. Louis for the division crown in 2013, and the odds reflect that as Chicago is listed at +1,500, while Detroit is listed at +1,800 to win it all. The Blackhawks have more firepower up front with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, and Marian Hossa, but will have question marks in goal after Cory Crawford struggled through an awful season. The Red Wings don’t have as much firepower up front, but they do have the better goalie in Manny Legace, and Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are amore the game’s best players.

As for Nashville, the Predators have managed to consistently remain in the hunt for the playoffs despite struggling to take their season to the next level in the postseason. Nashville is listed at +2,800 to win it all, and while they may not have what it takes to win the Stanley Cup, they are certainly good enough to win the division. The Central remains the deepest and most talented grouping in the NHL heading in to 2013, and that means there is good online sportsbook value there for the teams that could dethrone the Blues at the top of the division.

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