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Predictions For Betting On NHL Atlantic Division – Penguins, Rangers, Flyers All Feel Confident To Emerge From Atlantic Division Heading In To 2013 Se

Posted by Don Melrose on 1/8/2013 6:01:12 PM

The last time the 30 NHL teams skated off the ice following the final regular season games, four of the five Eastern Conference teams that finished the regular season with more than 100 points resided in the Atlantic division. While that may not be the case once again this coming year, the Atlantic is once again expected to be the most competitive division in the Eastern Conference, including the Stanley Cup favorite Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins are listed at +600 to win it all in 2013, and it’s no surprise they are back at the top of the online betting pyramid.

At the end of last season, Pittsburgh was right behind the New York Rangers for the most points in the conference with 108. It’s easy to forget now, but the Penguins got to that point largely without captain Sidney Crosby, who missed most of the season with concussion-like symptoms. Crosby made a full return at the end of last year and is expected to be ready from the beginning in 2013, and with fellow stars Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang both healthy as well, Pittsburgh will be expected to compete for much more than just a division crown.

As for the Rangers, the best goaltender in the NHL will have them back in the running for the Atlantic division title as Henrik Lundqvist remains among the game’s elite. New York should be able to get the most out of a healthy Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik in a lockout-shortened season, and should be even more ready for an extended playoff run this time around after running out of gas at the end of last year. The Rangers are listed at +750 sports betting odds to win the Stanley Cup in 2013, second to only Pittsburgh.

Another team that will compete for the division crown is the Philadelphia Flyers, which finished third in the Atlantic a year ago despite awful goaltending from Ilya Bryzgalov. Whether or not Bryzgalov can improve enough to help the team get to the top is yet to be seen, but he certainly can’t be any worse and the Flyers as a team have improved overall. Philadelphia is listed at +1,100 to win the Stanley Cup in 2013, and they cannot be overlooked even with the Penguins and Rangers to deal with in the Atlantic division.

While the New Jersey Devils represented the Atlantic division in last year’s Stanley Cup finals, there aren’t many online sportsbook experts that expect them to be back there this season. The Devils lost captain Zach Parise to free agency and goalie Martin Brodeur is another year older, and at +3,000 odds to win the Stanley Cup it is clear the bookies feel this isn’t their year. The lone team not to finish with at least 100 points in the Atlantic division last year will not do it this year either, as at +8,000 odds to win the Stanley Cup the New York Islanders are once again expected to miss out on the playoffs in 2013.

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