Welcome to the 2011-12 edition of NHL Sports Marketwatch, where the team at SportsInsights gives sports fans unprecedented insight into the sports marketplace.
Overall Record= 2-1, +1.44 units
Hockey can be a very profitable sport to bet on when you base it off moneyline odds, especially when betting underdogs. The plus odds are a reason that NHL moneyline dogs can show value over time. Most people like to win and therefore overvalue winning teams. Our selections on moneyline underdogs will normally win less than 50%, but the plus odds payoff makes it a profitable investment.
Recapping Last Week
Last week’s NHL Marketwatch “Game to Watch” selection, the Anaheim Ducks, lost 5-4 in heart-breaking fashion at the Verizon Center against the heavily favored Washington Capitals. The visiting Ducks raced out to a 3-0 lead and held a 4-2 advantage with just over 10 minutes left in the third period. However, the Capitals rallied to score three unanswered goals. Nicklas Backstrom played the hero, scoring the game-tying goal with just 42 seconds left and then knotting the game-winner at 2:18 of overtime to cap an improbable come-from-behind victory for Washington. With the loss, NHL Marketwatch suffered its first defeat of the year to drop to 2-1 (+1.44 units) on the season.
Colorado Avalanche +146 over Detroit Red Wings
With the NHL season now in full swing, the Colorado Avalanche (7-6-1, 15 pts) travel to Joe Louis Arena to renew their bitter rivalry with the Detroit Red Wings (6-5-1, 13 pts), with the puck being dropped at 7:30 PM ET.
After opening the year with a blistering 6-2-0 record, the Avs have hit the skids of late and dropped five of their last six games. However, Colorado has played a number of one goal games during that stretch (they were outscored 22-14) and remain just three points out of first place in the Northwest Division.
Offensively, Colorado is a young and talented squad with blazing speed and great depth up the middle. Centers Matt Duchene (5-6-11), Ryan O’ Reilly (2-8-10) and Paul Stastny (4-5-9) all play effective two way games- making plays for teammates while also stayed committed to the forecheck to help out their defensemen and ignite the transition game. On the wing, the Avs have several talented finishers as well, led by perennial goal scorer Milan Hejduk (4-3-7), David Jones (5-3-8) and 2011 2nd overall pick Gabriel Landeskog (4-3-7).
As good as their forward depth is, Colorado’s backbone may be their blue liners. Kyle Quincy (2-7-9) ranks third on the team in scoring, while Ryan Wilson (1-7-8) and former 2006 #1 overall pick Erik Johnson (0-7-7) are more than capable puck movers who are also not afraid to play the body.
Defensively, the Avs lean heavily on 23-year-old, former 1st round pick Semyon Varlamov, whom they acquired from the Washington Capitals during the offseason in exchange for a pair of top end draft picks. While Varlamov’s numbers aren’t anything to write home about thus far (5-5-1, 2.85 GAA, .906 SV %), the Avs goaltender is coming off a sparkling 21 save performance in a 2-1 loss against Calgary and seems to finally be finding his groove with his new team.
Conversely, while the Red Wings remain one of the most popular teams in the league with big name recognition, they haven’t played up to their usual high standards this year and find themselves six points behind Chicago for the top spot in the Central Division. Detroit still has Nicklas Lidstrom (5-5-10) patrolling the blue line and forwards Johan Franzen (5-5-10) and Pavel Datsyuk (5-5-10) up front, however several of their stars have yet to find their game this year. Henrik Zetterberg has just five points thus far (3-2), while Niklas Kronwall has only four (2-2) and Daniel Cleary just three (1-2).
27-year-old Jimmy Howard stars between the pipes for Detroit, however, despite his sparkling numbers (5-3-1, 1.77, .929), he has only won once in his last five starts.
In addition, the Red Wings are expected to be without two of their top nine forwards; Todd Bertuzzi (doubtful, illness) and play-making winger Jiri Hudler (doubtful, undisclosed).
Another reason we like the Avalanche is because of their road warrior prowess. While posting a pitiful 1-5-0 record at home, the Avs have gone an incredible 6-1-1 on the road this year. In addition, Colorado has the #1 ranked power play in the NHL (26.7%), while Detroit ranks near the bottom of the pile on the penalty kill (80%).
The Red Wings opened at -170 at Pinnacle and have dropped to -158 despite having a 65% advantage in public support for moneyline bets according to our Betting Trends. We have also received several system plays on the Avalanche over the past 24 hours, highlighted by a pair of Smart Money moves on Colorado +150 by Cata/VeagsVic (5-3, 62%, +3.35 units) and Colorado +145 by BetOnline (6-2, 75%, +4.38 units).
We are fading the heavily favored Wings and going with the upstart Avalanche +146 (Pinnacle) to pick up the W on the road and get NHL Marketwatch back on the winning track.
Games to Watch (2-1, +1.44 units)
Colorado Avalanche +146
Enjoy the games!