2018-19 NHL Betting Point Total Preview: Central Division

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Ricky Dimon

NHL · 3 years ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

When the Chicago Blackhawks are projected to be the worst team, you know the division is remarkably deep. That is the case with the 2018-19 Central Division, which is expected to feature Winnipeg and Nashville at the top. Let’s take a look at each team’s projected NHL Betting point total for 2018-19 and make over/under picks.

Winnipeg Jets: 106.5

J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets! The NFL’s version may be stuck on the runway, but these Jets have taken off on the ice. Winnipeg has enjoyed a steady ascension in recent seasons, from 78 points to 87 points to an awesome 114 points in 2017-18 (second best in the NHL). The Jets took down top-seeded Nashville in the second round before succumbing to Vegas. Patrick Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers are only going to keep getting better.

Pick: Over

Nashville Predators: 105.5

Nashville earned the Presidents’ Trophy with 117 points last season. Its playoff failure draws some pessimism for this 2018-19 campaign, but the Predators can take a step back and still reach the 106-point mark. They should be able to do it, as they arguably boast the best defense and goaltending in the entire NHL. Pekka Rinne (42-13, 2.31 goals-against average, .927 save percentage) won the Vezina Trophy.

Pick: Over

Minnesota Wild: 95.5

You should be Wild about the over play for Minnesota. This is a franchise that has compiled at least 100 points in three of the past four seasons (including 106 in 2016-17 and 101 last year). It has earned at least 98 points in four of the last five. The 2018-19 roster does not look much different, led by veterans Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Minnesota also boasts one of the best defenses in the business, with blue-liner Matt Dumba and goalie Devan Dubnyk—who remains in his prime at 32 years old.

Pick: Over

St. Louis Blues: 95.5

The Blues started to make moves in the middle of the 2017-18 campaign, seemingly calling it quits early before coming within one point (94) of reaching the playoffs. Their moving and shaking continued this offseason, so a new-look St. Louis team is on display. Paul Stastny left prior to last season’s trade deadline, but Ryan O’Reilly has arrived to help Vladimir Tarasenko in the points department. Goalie Jake Allen must stay healthy, because former backup Carter Hutton is gone.

Pick: Under

Dallas Stars: 94.5

Ken Hitchcock is out and Jim Montgomery has arrived in Dallas as the new head coach. Montgomery previously coached the University of Denver for five seasons and led the Pioneers to the 2016-17 national title. He has solid but unspectacular parts with which to work, as the Stars have missed the playoffs twice in a row (79 points followed by 92 points). Goalie Ben Bishop can’t seem to stay healthy; he’ll have to if Dallas wants to keep improving.

Pick: Under

Colorado Avalanche: 90.5

Where did that come from? After embarrassing themselves as the worst team on ice by a country mile (48 points) in 2016-17, the Avalanche surged to 95 points last season and snuck into the playoffs (lost to Nashville in six games). Colorado’s first line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog is awesome, but there may not be much offensive production thereafter. Semyon Varlamov could be on the hot seat at the goalie position.

Pick: Under

Chicago Blackhawks: 84.5

Since lifting three Stanley Cups in the span of six years, the Blackhawks have gone three seasons without winning a playoff series. They missed the playoffs entirely with room to spare in 2017-18, accruing a mere 76 points. Veteran goalie Corey Crawford played in only 28 games and started this season on injured reserve due to a concussion. But if Crawford gets and stays healthy, this proud franchise should improve considerably.

Pick: Over

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