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Thursday, October 25, 2007



Welcome to Frozen Assets. Every week I offer tips for successful futures wagering and I examine odds in the hockey futures market. This week we will look at the odds for teams in the West to win the Stanley Cup. What has changed since October 11th?

With the NHL season in its early stages, it is difficult to know how much weight to give teams’ current records when determining whether they have long-term value. Will Chicago make the playoffs? Will Anaheim miss the playoffs? Futures odds on some teams have changed drastically over the last few weeks, while for other teams the odds remain the same.

Here are the Western Conference teams in order of points as of October 24th:

1. Minnesota Wild (7-1-1, 15 pts) Then (start of season): +3300 Now: +2000 (Centrebet)

With their excellent goaltending, team speed, and ability to play with a lead (except last night), this Wild team reminds me of the Flames team that lost to the Lightning in the Stanley Cup. If you were fortunate enough to buy futures on Minnesota at +3300, congratulations – you will not see a price close to that for the rest of the season. I would put a few units on them at +2000. When a team leading the conference is +2000 you have to put a few units on them.

2. Detroit Red Wings (7-2-1, 15 pts) Then: +950 Now: +1015 (The Greek)

My apologies for not discovering the odds of +1015 on Detroit at the beginning of the season. The odds at The Greek were not up when I wrote the October 11th edition of Frozen Assets. It is business as usual for the Red Wings, as they once again sit near the top of the conference standings. Play them at +1015, but lay off once the odds go below +1000. This will happen next time The Greek updates their odds, so it is now or never for a futures bet on the Red Wings.

3. San Jose Sharks (5-3-1, 11 pts) Then: +1650 Now: +1300 (Stan James)

For the last few years, the Sharks have been a team underrated by oddsmakers in the futures market. This year is different. While I am confident the Sharks are the current favorite for the Pacific division, I recommend a wait and see approach. Lay off them at +1300 or wait for them to go on a run and then grab the +1300 if it is still around.

4. Calgary Flames (5-3-2, 12 pts) Then: +2600 Now: +2500 (William Hill)

Not much has changed when it comes to futures odds on the Flames. They responded well against Minnesota after being embarrassed at home by San Jose in their last game. I would hold off on playing Calgary at +2500 – unless they go on an extended winning streak, they should be available at odds of around +2000 for the rest of the season. Until we have a sense of how they will play under Mike Keenan I would leave them alone.

5. St. Louis Blues (5-2-0, 10 pts) Then: +8900 Now: +7000 (Portlandbet)

The Blues have been a completely different team since Andy Murray took over the team. Legace has been consistent, and the Tkachuk/Boyes/Kariya line has been outstanding. St. Louis will contend for a playoff spot and is the best long shot of the young NHL season. My only warning to you before you spend all of your allowance at one place is that Portlandbet is not ranked by Sportsbook Review. I would take them at +6400 at Betfair instead.

6. Dallas Stars (4-2-2, 10 pts) Then: +3300 Now: +3900 (Betfair)

Why did the odds go up? The Stars are 4-2-2 and are finding ways to win. Though I like the fact that they are still +3900 despite being 4-2-2, there are more enticing options at this point of the season. If they are five games over .500 at the quarter pole and this price is still around then you should take it. Otherwise, spend your money elsewhere.

7. Chicago Blackhawks (5-4-0, 10 pts) Then: +15000 Now: +12500 (Portlandbet)

Have you watched the Blackhawks play this year? Watch one period and you will want to put some of your allowance on them. The same warning I gave for the price on the Blues applies to the price on the Blackhawks - take them at Betfair at +11000 instead. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your new favorite team – young, exciting, and loaded with skill and promise. If Martin Havlat ever comes back for an extended period of time this team will seriously contend for a playoff spot.

8. Colorado Avalanche (5-4-0, 10 pts) Then: +2200 Now: +2600 (Betfair)

The Avalanche were the pre-season favorites to win the tough Northwest Division. They have not played up to their potential as of yet. Leave them alone for now; +2600 isn’t enough for yo to bother with them.

9. Columbus Blue Jackets (4-3-1, 9 pts) Then: +15000 Now: +12500 (Centrebet)

See Blackhawks, except replace “young, exciting team loaded with skill” with “well coached, well disciplined team that is learning to win on the road”. Take them at Centrebet at +12500. After St. Louis, Columbus is the best long shot on the board (Chicago comes in at #3)

10. Anaheim Ducks (4-6-1, 9 pts) Then: +1000 Now: +1100 (Betfair)

If by some miracle the odds hit +2000 and then Scott Niedermayer comes out of retirement then lay down some units. Otherwise keep your units in your pants. This team cannot win on the road (unlike Columbus) and has struggled to look like a playoff team - a disappointing start to the season for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

11. Los Angeles (4-6-0, 10 8 pts) Then: +8000 Now: +10000 (Carib)

I like Los Angeles more than I did at the beginning of the year. The Kings have plenty of offense but lack solid goaltending. The current odds on them are decent, but there are better options out there. Los Angeles has improved since the beginning of the season, but hold off. I am confident that if they put together a winning streak, you will still be able to get them at favourable odds (probably around +8000) when they are above .500.

12. Vancouver (4-6-0, 8 pts) Then: +2000 Now: +2500 (Carib)

I would take St. Louis to make the playoffs over Vancouver. So why are the Blues +7000 and the Canucks +2500? Take away Roberto Luongo and this team is competing with Nashville and Phoenix for the worst team in the conference. Oh wait, they are doing that right now.

13. Edmonton (3-6-0, 6 pts) Then: +7500 Now: +10000 (Carib)

Despite production from their young, talented forwards, Edmonton is 1-6-0 in their last 7 games. I'm sorry Oilers fans, I know it is early but it looks like Sheldon Souray will not meet expectations and you will be cheering for whoever plays against the Flames come playoff time. Until this team can put together a few wins in a row, don't even think about it!

14. Phoenix (2-5-0, 4 pts) Then: +25000 Now: +30000 (Bet365)

You should have stopped reading this article after "wait, they are doing that right now". Phoenix is not making the playoffs.

15. Nashville (2-6-0, 4 pts) Then: +3900 Now: +10000 (Carib)

See above. Nashville is terrible.

Those are my thoughts on the West – if you have opinions about the Western Conference, feel free to post them in the comments section and I will do my best to respond. Next week we will look at the Eastern Conference. For those of you that bet on Carolina and Philadelphia congratulations – you have a season of fun ahead of you.

For illegal curve, I’m Ari Baum-Cohen.

About the writer: Ari Baum-Cohen’s first sports betting victory came in 1989 when he won his father’s office pool at age 8. Since then, he has been interested in many different types of sports betting. His first major futures win came in November of the 2001-2002 hockey season when he selected “field” (field included Jarome Iginla) at odds of 30/1 to win the National Hockey League goal scoring title.

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Ballhype: hype it up!


Richard Pollock said...

I'd even be more inclined to back the Blue Jackets over the Blues mainly due to Ken Hitchock's playoff success as compared with Andy Murray's.

Ari Baum-Cohen said...

My mind is playing tricks on me because Columbus beat St. Louis last night. A problem with liking Chicago, Columbus, and St. Louis is that those three teams play each other 16 times. At best two of those teams will make it in to the playoffs.

You are right - I would rather take Columbus at +12500 then St. Louis at +6400.

I still think St. Louis has a better chance at this point to make the playoffs. On the other hand, Pascal Leclaire is on fire. Who knew?

You should know Andy Murray made it to the Stanley Cup finals with the North Stars as an assistant coach. As a head coach he has only made it past the first round once.

Hitchcock has been to the finals twice and has won one championship.

pk500 said...

So Edmonton has moved from the Western Conference? Interesting.

Ari Baum-Cohen said...

Sorry pk, I have amended the post. Big win for Edmonton yesterday, but I still think they will finish around 13th.