HO HO HORRIBLE HOMESTANDS AND ROAD WARRIORS
Note: This article was written during the NHL Christmas break.
The holidays are meant to be a time to relax and reflect. That is why there are no NHL games scheduled for the 24th and 25th. We can relax knowing that certain teams we have bet on will put their inevitable tailspin on hold for a few days so we can eat turkey with family and friends. We can reflect on the bets we have made over the first 3 months of the season – the early season caterpillar of optimism that has not yet blossomed into the broken-winged butterfly of despair.
The last two weeks have seen a few of our favorite teams enter their cocoon and emerge with broken wings.
Columbus Blue Jackets:
After a decisive 3-0 win against St. Louis, I was convinced the Jackets were going to make a run this year. Ken Hitchcock had given the Blue Jackets a calm confidence, the Rick and Nik show was in full effect, and Pascal Leclaire was 7-2-0, leading the NHL with 5 shutouts. “Everyone’s just buying into the system and believing in Hitch’s game plan,” said Rick Nash.
Back to reality:
Now 15-14-6, Columbus is in 11th place, Rick Nash is “injured”, and Ken Hitchcock is going with the hot goaltender (right now it is Fredrik Norrena). Most disappointing has been the Blue Jackets’ play in December, where they are playing 11 out of 14 at home. So far they are 4-4-2 during a time where they needed to grab a firm hold of a playoff spot and hold on during a road heavy January and February.
I once loved the value Columbus provided at +12500 and +10000. Now I am trying desperately to “sell” my shares in Columbus (How I sell shares) at a betting exchange at -9000. Jeff Rimer and Danny Gare, our affair was brief and left a bad taste in my mouth. While Columbus is not out of contention, their path to the playoffs will be a steep uphill battle. Carib has Columbus available at +10000.
After a December 12 road win against the Thrashers, the Bruins were 17-10-3. Even more remarkable was that 19 of their first 30 games were on the road (10-7-2). The Bruins were playing a boring, gritty style of hockey, aided by the emergence of Marc Savard as a two-way forward (sorry Flames fans). They were available at +10000. Hopes were high as Boston began a 5-game homestand.
Back to Reality:
The Bruins finished their homestand 1-3-1, scoring their lone victory over (who else but) Columbus. They are currently 18-14-4 and on a four game losing streak. Two of those losses have come to eternal journeyman Ty Conklin. During this streak Boston has given up an average of four goals per game – not the results one would expect from a hockey club focusing on defense.
It’s not time to panic yet. The Bruins are still fourth in the conference, but in a suddenly tight Eastern Conference four points separate them from the thirteenth place Philadelphia Flyers (wait, weren’t the Flyers just leading the Atlantic?). Betsson is offering odds on the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup at +6000. I am selling my shares in the Bruins at -5000.
Philadelphia Flyers – Sat Oct. 20, 6-1-0, last 6 games, 0-4-2. +3100 at Betfair.
From the ashes of our broken dreams comes a new generation of caterpillars.
Following a December 6th loss to Pittsburgh, the Flames were 11-13-5, including a mediocre 7-7-2 record at home where they had lost only 9 games in regulation last season. “We know how desperate of a situation we’re in,” lamented Craig Conroy. “We have to get points and we have to get them whenever we can.” Things looked bleak for Calgary as they began a six-game Eastern road trip.
The Flames ran the table on their road trip, including a 9-goal outburst in Tampa Bay. Kristian Huselius had multiple 5 point games and Jarome Iginla is on pace for the best statistical season of his career. Calgary is on a 6-0-2 run and is now 17-13-7, good enough for 7th place in the West, 3 points behind Colorado and Vancouver for the division lead. Most surprisingly, Calgary has scored the fourth most goals in the Conference. One has to wonder if the term “Flamesing it in” (used to describe either the game winning goal in a 2-1 victory or the lone goal in a 2-1 defeat where the puck goes in off a body part or skate of a Flames player) is becoming obsolete.
Before the season I thought it would be unlikely if the Flames were available at odds of over +3000. After their horrible start the odds climbed to over +4000. Now, Calgary has not lost in regulation in 8 games and occupies a playoff spot. Take them at +4000 at Centrebet. Once those odds are gone, they will not climb to above +3000.
Following a 3-2 loss to Ottawa, the Buffalo Sabres were 6-10-1. Ryan Miller was slumping, and the losses of Daniel Briere and Chris Drury were evident as Buffalo was slumping offensively. Lindy Ruff called out Maxim Afinegenov for his inconsistent play, and the Sabres were tied with the Capitals for the worst record in the Conference.
After the loss to Ottawa, Buffalo won 5 games in a row (3 over Montreal). Now, Buffalo is on a 6 game winning streak and are 19-14-1, good enough for 6th place in a tight Eastern Conference. The Sabres were successful last year largely because of depth at forward, and this year they have 9 forwards with 15 or more points.
The Sabres are back! Because of their loss to Ottawa in the Conference finals last year it is easy to forget they are one year removed from winning the President’s Trophy. +4000 at Centrebet is an excellent price to get on a team that is 13-4-0 in their last 17 games.
Phoenix Coyotes – Nov. 15 (after 6-0 loss to San Jose) 7-10-0. Now 17-16-1 – 4-0-1 in last 5. +25000 at Centrebet.
For illegal curve, I’m Ari Baum-Cohen
About the writer: Ari-Baum Cohen's first sports betting victory came at age 8 when he won his father's office pool. He screamed like a 14 year-old girl at a Justin Timberlake concert when Tampa Bay (had at +3500 to win Cup) and Calgary (had at +15000 to win Cup) made the Stanley Cup finals.
FROZEN ASSETS December 14, 2007
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Thursday, December 27, 2007
HO HO HORRIBLE HOMESTANDS AND ROAD WARRIORS