NHL Betting: 2008-09 NHL Futures Betting Preview

NHL Betting: 2008-09 NHL Futures Betting Preview

NHL Betting: 2008-09 NHL Futures Betting Preview
By: Ron Raymond

With baseball winding down and football in full bloom, that must mean the NHL season is just around the corner.  Here is a look at four teams worthy of your consideration when heading to the window to buy futures.

The NHL season is right around the corner and the sportsbooks have finally released their NHL futures odds on who will win the 2008-2009 Stanley Cup. The number one rule when forecasting an NHL futures bet is you have to keep in mind the playoffs are a different season; it’s all about “survival of the fittest” and “goaltending.”

Right now every media outlet is focusing on the regular season and how many points the superstars will put up for their fantasy owners. That’s all nice and dandy, but these superstars normally fade away in the playoffs and it’s the “muckers and grinders” and goalies who will be your best friend come next April!

Let’s face it, anybody can tell you Detroit and Pittsburgh are good Stanley Cup bets, but there’s no value or hedging opportunities when taking such high favorites. Here’s what I like to do at the beginning of the season and using this NHL betting strategy will give you a better opportunity to make some money:

Try to find four or five teams which have medium-to-longshot opportunities to make the playoffs. For example; if you place $100 on a team like the Phoenix Coyotes at +7575 to win the Stanley Cup, you will have a great opportunity to “hedge” your bet if they make the playoffs.

Here’s what I mean by “hedging” your bet. Let’s say you place $100 on the Phoenix Coyotes to win the Stanley Cup and that $100 pays out $7575 dollars if they win the Cup. Therefore, just by Phoenix making the playoffs, you’ve already made money, because what you will do is start betting against the Coyotes once they start getting close on being eliminated. What I normally do is hedge my original deposit in Round 1 and 2, because if you start hedging big right off the bat and the Coyotes keep winning, your net gain will be lower in the later rounds since you will be trying to recuperate your prior loses in Round 1 and 2.

Normally in Round 1 and 2, I would just hedge my original deposit. Again, this is where your risk level will come into play, as you will have the option of passing on some games that you feel your futures ticket can win. In 2004, I made $4000 on a 44-1 bet on the Calgary Flames and was able to hedge my way for a profit.

Here are the teams I would recommend laying money on to win the Stanley Cup and will give you the best hedging opportunity.

Colorado Avalanche +4373 (Pinnacle)
What I like about the Avalanche is the grit they have on this team, and players like Darcy Tucker, Ryan Smyth and Ian Laperriere are the type that will turn it up a notch come April. Peter Budaj is the question mark in nets, but he outplayed Jose Theodore two years ago and now that Theodore is gone to Washington, he might have that pressure off his back knowing he’s the go to guy for Tony Granato.

Furthermore, the Peter Forsberg rumors are out there and don’t be surprised if Forsberg gives the Avs another shot if he’s healthy. The Avs will need a proven QB on the powerplay and they will have the option of picking up a rent-a-player come trade deadline time, so take the risk and buy an Avs futures.

Carolina Hurricanes +5050 (Pinnacle)
The Canes have impact players on this team and with a Stanley Cup Champion goalie like Cam Ward between the pipes, you have a chance every night. Furthermore, when you look at the players in front of him like Eric Staal, Ray Whitney and Rod Brind’Amour on board, this team have the right playoff grit to get the job done.

Plus, with the addition of Joe Corvo at the trade deadline last year, Corvo will give the Canes some valuable points from the D position and that’s huge in a league where parity only gives clubs one QB per team, if they are lucky to own one!

One of the most important factors about the Canes is they win at home. In the last three seasons, they own a home record of 86-51 SU and that’s huge when you consider they will need those points if they are fighting for the sixth-to-eighth spot. Remember, our goal is to make the playoffs here and then we hedge.

Edmonton Oilers +4373 (Pinnacle)
One thing I love about a Kevin Lowe hockey team is they play hard and leave everything they have on the ice! When you look at this Oilers team, you have to remember they play in a Canadian city, so you’re always going to have an energized home crowd and when a Canadian team is not winning, the pressure that the players, coaches and management go through is good for the futures shareholders, as management will not sit around, they will move and get things done.

I really like this goaltending duo of Dwayne Roloson and Mathieu Garon as both players can be starters anywhere in this league. Furthermore, if the Oilers make the playoffs, they have some good playoff grinders like Dustin Penner, Erik Cole and Steve Staios who will not shy away from the rough stuff. Playoff hockey is about fear, winning every shift and goaltending, the Oilers are a bit above average in all three of these categories.

Toronto Maple Leafs +10000 (Carib sports)
Well, if you’re going to carry a four leaf clover in your pocket, might as well make it a blue one! Why not, the Leafs have a Top 5 goaltender in Vesa Toskala, Thomas Kaberle is a 50-point plus defenseman and they have an experienced head coach in Ron Wilson who will not pussyfoot around when tough decisions have to be made.

Carib Sports has posted the Leafs at 100-1 and when you consider the Leafs have a 65-58 SU record at home the last three seasons, if they can win 45% or higher of their road games, they might have a shot at making the seventh or eightth spot. Again, you have a Canadian team playing in the biggest hockey market in the world, so the pressure from the outside will force the Leafs to stay focused and there’s no room for a wait and see approach. The Leafs have to make the playoffs and with a solid goalie like Toskala, I believe it’s worth the risk.

So, we are laying $400 on these four teams, which will give us $23,796.00 of hedging opportunities if they can all four make the playoffs. Just one or two of these teams making the playoffs will be worth the small investment.

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