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Rounding out the NHL’s Central Division

The St. Louis Blues have played 80 games in the 2015-16 NHL season.  With most of the season now in the books, the Blues find themselves in a three-way tie for second place in the Central Divison.  The Blues, Predators, and Wild are each sitting with 23 points, while the Dallas Stars have run out to a 5-point lead with 28 points.  As fans of St. Louis, it’s natural for the members of Blues Nation to think positive and expect their team to close the gap .  But what does the truly objective crowd think of the Blues’ chances to make a run at the division title? To find out the answer, one needs to only look at ice hockey and online sports betting with Guts.

The Blues are currently sitting at 7/2 odds to win the Central Division.  Not surprisingly, the Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators are also sitting at 7/2 odds.  These odds seem fair given Dallas’ lead and the current 3-way bunch up at 2nd place, but would placing a bet down on the Blues represent good value?  One thing worth considering is that St. Louis has played an extra game compared to the Wild and Preds, who have only played 16 games so far.  It’s also worth noting that both Minnesota and Nashville have racked up 3 overtime losses a piece, given them each only three outright losses vs. St. Louis’ five.  All in all, you can make the argument that the Wild and Predators have performed slightly better over the course of the season.  You may bleed Blue, but if you’re a cerebral bettor playing for cold hard cash alone, Nashville with their +12 goal differential are the value play of the three teams sitting at 7/2.

However, if you’re looking for a real value play, the Chicago Blackhawks at 9/2 odds may just be where the money is at.  It’s very hard to count out the defending champs this early and their initial struggles may be due to fatigue from their long Cup run this summer.  Chicago’s slow start may allow a savvy bettor to capitalize on their inevitable hot streak that this team always seems to go on. After all, no team in the league has as much championship experience as Chicago.

With the middle teams wrapped up, it’s time to focus on the division-leading Stars and cellar-dwelling Avalanche.  The 11/4 odds on Dallas may be a bit rich, with a tight pack of playoff-tested teams nipping at their heels.  The Avalanche, sitting with very long 100/1 odds are slightly appealing.  Is it too early in the year to truly count a team out?  As tempting as the potential big payout is, a smart bet is to save your money and lay some action on the more reasonable bets of Nashville or Chicago.

Still, it’s never a bad thing to let a little homerism influence your wagers as long as you stay within reason.  At 7/2 odds, a bet on the Blues would certainly fall within those bounds.

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