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= 2-2, +0.97 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 Colorado Avalanche, lost 5-2 at Joe Louis Arena against their longtime bitter rival, the Detroit Red Wings. Swedish winger Johan Franzen played the hero for Detroit, picking up his second career regular season hat trick to pace the Red Wing offense. In goal, 27-year-old netminder Jimmy Howard surrendered just two goals to the upstart Avalanche, finishing with 24 saves on 26 shots. With the loss, NHL Marketwatch suffered its second consecutive defeat to drop to 2-2 (+0.97 units) on the season.
Nashville Predators +101 over Washington Capitals
With the NHL season now in full swing, the Nashville Predators (8-5-3, 19 pts) play host to the Washington Capitals (10-4-1, 21 pts) at Bridgestone Arena, with the puck being dropped at 8:00 PM ET.
After starting the season a lackluster 3-4-1, the Predators have rebounded to post an impressive 5-1-2 record over their past eight games and now sit tied with the Red Wings for second place in the Western Conference Central Division.
Offensively, Nashville is devoid of big name stars up front yet pride themselves on cashing in on their opportunities around the net. In the absence of injured center David Legwand, 22-year-old Craig Smith has assumed the play-making role for the first line. Chosen 98th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Smith enters tonight’s game as the Predators’ leading scorer (7-7-14 in 16 games played). Beyond Smith, the Predators lean on talented winger Patric Hornqvist (7-4-11), former Boston University star and 2008 7th overall pick Colin Wilson (3-6-9), bruising left wing Sergei Kostitsyn (3-5-8) and veteran playmaker Martin Erat (2-3-5 in just 8 games thus far) up front.
On defense, the Predators are paced by one of the best blue-liners in the game, 26-year-old Shea Weber (2-7-9). The former 49th overall pick in 2003 stands at a towering 6’4”, 234 lbs and has scored at least 16 goals in four of his past five seasons. Nashville also features former 7th overall pick Ryan Suter (3-6-9) along the back end. Suter has finished with at least 30 assists in each of the past three seasons and, combined with Weber, forms one of the best 1-2 defensive punches in the NHL.
Under Head Coach Barry Trotz, the Predators play a smothering defensive system that stresses positioning and forward support in their own zone, which doesn’t make for an offensively entertaining game yet plays to the strength of Nashville’s personnel. The main reason this scheme is so successful is because Trotz has 29-year-old star Pekka Rinne as the last line of defense. Entering his fourth year as the Predator’s #1 goaltender, Rinne is off to yet another spectacular start (8-4-3, 2.28 GAA, .929 SV %). In his short career, Rinne has won at least 29 games in each of the past four seasons and boasts some jaw-dropping career numbers thus far (103-58-21, 2.33 GAA, .921 SV %). Most recently, Rinne was awarded with a 7-year, $49 million deal, making him one of the highest paid goaltenders in the NHL.
Conversely, while the Capitals remain one of the perennial favorites in the NHL, they are just 4-3-0 on the road this year and have gone a mediocre 5-4-1 over their last 10 games. In addition, Washington will be without one of their best defenseman for this matchup, as Mike Green has been ruled out with a lower body injury.
Another reason we like the Predators is because of their top-notch penalty kill, which is a big factor when taking into account that Washington boasts the 7th best power play in the league. Thus far, Nashville has the 5th best penalty kill in the league, killing 88.4% of opponent’s power plays.
The Capitals opened at -135 at Pinnacle and have dropped to -109 despite having a 59% advantage in public support for moneyline bets according to our Betting Trends. We have also received several system plays on the Predators over the past 24 hours, highlighted by a Smart Money move on Nashville +100 by CRIS Cigar (7-7, 50%, +0.95 units) and a pair of Steam Moves on Nashville +117 and +109 by Pinnacle (101-109, 48%, +0.92 units).
We are fading the road favorite Capitals and going with the upstart Predators +101 (Pinnacle) to pick up the W at home and get NHL Marketwatch back on the winning track.
Games to Watch (2-2, +0.97 units)
Nashville Predators +101
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