Betting NHL Point Total Over/Under – Metropolitan Division

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NHL Metropolitan Division - Over Under

The NHL reason is right around the corner and it’s time to lock in some futures bets as a result!

One of the more popular season-long futures bets in the NHL is predicting the over/under on a given team’s projected point total. This is part two of a four-part series, broken down by division, predicting the over or under on each team’s point total, with the totals and odds supplied by SportsBetting.

Let’s take a look at inside the Metropolitan Division where there is plenty of money to be made!

Carolina Hurricanes

  • 2017-18 Point Total: 83
  • 2018-19 Points Total Over/Under: 85.5
  • My Pick: UNDER (+115)

We begin the Metropolitan Division breakdown with a very tough call on a Hurricanes club that underwent a fairly significant overhaul in the offseason.

Out is former 30-goal scorer Jeff Skinner, right winger Elias Lindholm and former fifth overall pick Noah Hanifin. In is left-winger Michael Ferland, but also blueliner Dougie Hamilton who tied for the NHL lead among defensemen with 17 goals last season.

While I like Carolina’s young and talented blueline, I am just wondering where they are going to get their goal-scoring from.

Their projected top line of Valentin Zykov, Sebastian Aho and 2018 second overall pick Andrei Svechnikov should be able to score at a quality clip. After that, it’s anyone’s guess as to where the secondary scoring will come from, aside from established second line winger Teuvo Teravainen. Carolina’s bottom nine forward group is extremely thin on offensive upside. The emphasis is going to have to be on preventing goals, which leads us to our next point.

Scott Darling was essentially the worst goaltender in the league last season as his .888 Sv% was the worst mark in the league among goaltenders who played at least 20 games (Darling played 43). The Hurricanes lost longtime goaltender Cam Ward in free agency, and signed Petr Mrazek to either back Darling up or split the crease with the former Blackhawk. The problem with that move is the fact that Mrazek’s .902 Sv% from last season split between Detroit and Philadelphia was the fifth-worst mark among goaltenders with at least 35 games played. In other words, Carolina has two of the five worst goaltenders from last season splitting duties this year.

Sure, some sort of bounce back can be anticipated here. However, in order to improve by three points in a conference full of teams likely to improve, Darling and Mrazek are going to have to be brilliant. This becomes even more crucial when we consider that the Hurricanes offense is bound to end up in the bottom third of the league again this season, and possibly the bottom five.

At the end of the day there are more reasons for regression than improvement, so sign me up for the UNDER 85.5 (+115).

Columbus Blue Jackets

  • 2017-18 Point Total: 97
  • 2018-19 Point Total Over/Under: 97.5
  • My Pick: OVER (+100)

The Blue Jackets are projected right about where they finished last season, which makes this a simple question of whether or not we think this team will improve or regress next season. I’m banking on improvement.

The Blue Jackets’ success is going to run through their back end. They have a two-time Vezina Trophy winner between the pipes in Sergei Bobrovsky, easily a top-five NHL netminder when he’s going good. Bobrovsky owns a career 2.44 GAA and .920 Sv%, so there are zero concerns in goal at this point.

The blueline is a rather stout group as well. Seth Jones is a sneaky Norris candidate and one of the best blueliners in this division at the ripe old age of 23. Zack Werenski tied Jones with 16 goals last season, so the Jackets are set with two young offensive blueliners on the back end. There is a little bit of turnover here with Jack Johnson and Ian Cole departing from last year’s club, however, it’s tough to see this team struggling to prevent goals with Bobrovsky in goal. Columbus ranked in a ninth-place tie in team defense last year.

The Jackets largely struggled to score goals last season before a red-hot March. From the start of the season through the end of February, Columbus’ 163 goals scored ranked 27th in the league. From the first of March through the end of the regular season in early April, their 74 goals scored were the most in the league.

Their true offensive capabilities probably lie somewhere in the middle. Their top line is going to produce with Artemi Panarin leading the way after a huge stretch run last season. Columbus will actually roll out four quality lines, evidenced by the fact their projected fourth line center is Riley Nash, a player who scored 15 goals and notched 41 points last season in Boston. Depth will be the key to their offensive success.

I think Columbus scores more next year while defending well with one of the best goaltenders in hockey at their disposal.

At the end of the day, I see improvement over last season, so count me in for the OVER 97.5 (+100) point total.

New Jersey Devils

  • 2017-18 Point Total: 97
  • 2018-19 Point Total Over/Under: 91.5
  • My Pick: UNDER (-120)

The truth is I went back and forth on this one quite a bit. Clearly, I expected regression here from the Devils over last season, but I was trying to pinpoint just how much regression could be had here. At the end of the day, I think the Devils are a non-playoff team and one that will indeed slide by at least six points this season over last year.

Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall was a one-man wrecking crew down the stretch last season as he put his team on his back and willed them into the postseason. I can confidently say that any sort of regression from Hall gives this pick an excellent chance to hit.

The reason why that will be the case is up front. I just don’t see where the Devils plan to get their secondary scoring from this season. After the projected top line of Hall, Hischier and Jesper Bratt, the only above-average offensive contributor on this club is Kyle Palmieri. After that, it’s anybody’s guess as to who will contribute offensively for this team.

The Devils didn’t add anything in the offseason, but lost Pat Maroon up front and John Moore on the back end, both via free agency. I’m not as concerned about the Maroon loss as much as I am the Moore loss, albeit Maroon could have helped in the secondary scoring department.

Aside from Will Butcher and Sami Vatanen, the Devils lack any sort of impact players on the back end. Butcher sees very little even strength ice time and his skills are best utilized on the power play. The same could be said for Vatanen. They are decent, but unspectacular otherwise.

In goal, it’s going to be a competition between veteran Cory Schneider and late-bloomer Keith Kinkaid. Kinkaid backstopped the Devils to their playoff berth down the stretch last season, but stumbled in the playoffs before being replaced by Schneider. Uncertainty at this position is not a good thing entering the season.

I simply don’t find enough reasons to take the over here. I expect regression, and I expect a non-playoff team. With not much offensive upside, a suspect back end and an uncertain goaltending situation, I will take the UNDER 91.5 here.

I expect regression, and I expect a non-playoff team. With not much offensive upside, a suspect back end and an uncertain goaltending situation, I will take the UNDER 91.5 (-120) here.

New York Islanders

  • 2017-18 Point Total: 80
  • 2018-19 Point Total Over/Under: 83.5
  • My Pick: UNDER (-130)

This one didn’t take too long to pick here as I find it extremely hard to believe that the Islanders will improve by four points or more without John Tavares at their disposal. It’s just about as simple as that.

Sure, they are under new management and incoming head coach Barry Trotz is fresh off a Stanley Cup victory with the Washington Capitals.

The problem on the island was never offense, it was defense. The Islanders were the NHL’s worst defensive team in the league last season at 3.57 goals against per game, and they are essentially returning the same group on the blueline, minus Calvin De Haan who was arguably their best defensive defenseman last season.

Two of the projected top six on the back end are Adam Pelech and Sebastian Aho, two defensemen who have very little NHL experience and are far from impact blueliners at this stage. The top four includes a player in Nick Leddy who is productive offensively, but had the NHL’s worst plus/minus last season at a whopping -42.

Perhaps Trotz can instill some better defensive systems into his new club, however I find it hard to believe there is vast improvement to be had in their defense from a year ago.

They should be okay up front led by Calder Trophy winner Mathew Barzal. Anders Lee, Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier will produce as well. However, the youth movement is underway with Kiefer Bellows and Josh Ho-Sang likely getting an opportunity on the third line while the fourth line should do fine in a checking role.

New York has a new number one goaltender in Robin Lehner. Lehner enters the season with a career 2.82 GAA and .915 Sv%. He’s serviceable, but he’s certainly going to have his hands full playing behind this group of defenders.

Perhaps the Islanders aren’t as bad as many will project as their offense still has some nice upside with a lot of young talent up front.

Still, their back end is going to struggle, and I am not seeing any improvement in their point total over last season. Give me the UNDER 83.5 (-130).

New York Rangers

  • 2017-18 Point Total: 77
  • 2018-19 Point Total Over/Under: 75.5
  • My Pick: OVER (-110)

Call me crazy, but I don’t think the rebuilding process is going to last all that long on Broadway.

The Rangers certainly expedited that rebuild with a couple of nice deadline moves last season, and they will welcome some talented young talent onto this year’s roster to join some established young NHL talent already in place.

There is nothing wrong with their top line of Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and either Mats Zuccarello or Pavel Buchnevich. That line is going to produce regardless of the right winger. The Rangers will add top prospects Lias Anderson and Filip Chytil to the mix up front this season to play important top-nine roles while chipping in on the power play. There is also established offensive contributors Kevin Hayes and Vladislav Namestnikov in that top nine group. If I’m a Rangers fan, I’m very happy with this forward group.

The Rangers might struggle on the back end, although they recently acquired rugged blueliner Adam McQuaid from the Bruins to provide a reliable veteran presence. There will be some rookie talent infused into this group as well while Kevin Shattenkirk remains one of the top offensive defensemen in this division. Brady Skjei continues to make strides into a potent offensive contributor from the blueline while Marc Staal is still a reliable presence at the age of just 31. This isn’t the best group around, but they could surprise some people.

Thing won’t be any different in goal with Henrik Lundqvist set for another tour of duty, his 14th go around with the blueshirts. Lundqvist is obviously no longer in his prime, but still fashioned a .915 Sv% last season, just a few ticks under his .919 career mark. He also started 61 games, so he appears to be healthier than his 36 years of age might suggest.

New York is also under a new bench boss in former Boston University head coach David Quinn. Quinn provides a fresh approach to a team that has underwent a great deal of turnover in the past eight months.

I may not be in the majority on this one, but I think the Rangers could be sneaky-good this season, and the OVER 75.5 (-110) is a fairly easy call on this one.

Philadelphia Flyers

  • 2017-18 Point Total: 98
  • 2018-19 Point Total Over/Under: 96.5
  • My Pick: OVER (-140)

Like was the case with the Blue Jackets, the over/under question for the Flyers this season is whether or not they are going to regress or not from their 98 points last season. Even one point of regression here hits the under, but I don’t think this club trends in that direction this season.

Philadelphia did some free agent shopping this offseason while grabbing the second best free agent on the market in former Maple Leaf, and Flyer, James van Riemsdyk. van Riemsdyk is coming off a career-high 36 goals with Toronto last season, and while he may not reach such a lofty total again this year, he plugs a big hole that was the second line left wing spot in Philadelphia.

The Flyers ranked 12th in offense last season and all of the sudden have an excellent top nine group that also features Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Wayne Simmonds and breakout star Travis Konecny. Keep in mind 2017 second overall pick Nolan Patrick should also take another step forward after an excellent second half last season.

The Flyers’ back end has plenty of offensive upside as Shayne Gostisbehere is one of the top offensive blueliners in hockey while Ivan Provorov tied for the lead league among defensemen with 17 goals last season at just 21 years of age. Andrew MacDonald and Radko Gudas are solid defensive veterans while youngsters Robert Hagg and Travis Sanheim will look to take another step in the right direction. It’s not the best defensive group in hockey, but it’s a group that had the Flyers in the top half of the league defensively a year ago.

The biggest question marks come in goal. The goaltending duties are likely going to be split to start with Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth fighting for the number one job. It’s possible Dave Hakstol goes with the hot hand at various points in the season unless someone steps up and steals the crease, which would be the best-case scenario. That said, I mentioned uncertainty in goal is not a good thing, and that stands true here as well.

Still, the Flyers made the playoffs with just a .904 Sv% from their goaltending last season, good for 23rd.

If their goaltending can improve a little bit, I think this is easily a playoff team and one that will go OVER the 97.5 (-140) point total this season.

Pittsburgh Penguins

  • 2017-18 Point Total: 100
  • 2018-19 Point Total Over/Under: 102.5
  • My Pick: OVER (-110)

It finally appeared that the Penguins were going to fall back to the pack after back-to-back deep playoff runs, both of which resulted in Stanley Cups. However, Pittsburgh surged their way into competing for a division crown last season. With a second round playoff exit, Pittsburgh’s core had more time off than they have enjoyed in years this past offseason. I expect a fresh and talented group to come out of the gates hard this time around.

The story has been the same in Pittsburgh for a lot of years. As long as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are around, this team is going to be one of the very best offenses the NHL has to offer year in and year out. Despite scuffling in the first half last season, Pittsburgh finished the year tied for third with the Maple Leafs in offense at 3.29 goals per game. They also cruised to the top in power play efficiency with a 26.2% clip. This unit will be lethal once again this season.

The big difference between this year and previous years is I believe Pittsburgh has a rock-solid back end. You have offensive contributors in Kris Letang and Justin Schultz while reliable defenders exist in Olli Maatta, Brian Dumoulin and free agent acquisition Jack Johnson. You could do a lot worse than Jamie Oleksiak as your sixth defenseman.

The x-factor for this Penguins club is going to be Matt Murray between the pipes. Murray excelled in the 2016-17 season, his first full NHL season, with a 2.41 GAA and .923 Sv% before notching an elite 1.70 GAA and .937 Sv% en route to a Stanley Cup victory. He endured a rough season both on and off the ice last season, one that resulted in a 2.92 GAA and poor .907 Sv%. He didn’t fare a whole lot better in the postseason.

A clean slate this season is just what the doctor ordered for Murray. He’s still only 24, and speed bumps can be expected from a young goaltender. After a bumpy season last year, I think he is primed for a big season this time around and I think the Penguins are the best all-round team in the division.

They have an elite group of forwards, a rock-solid group of defensemen and a goaltender who could sneakily become a Vezina candidate this season.

Chalk me up for the OVER 102.5 (-140) for the future Metropolitan Division champions.

Washington Capitals

  • 2017-18 Point Total: 105
  • 2018-19 Point Total Over/Under: 97.5
  • My Pick: OVER (-120)

I expect some regression from their 105 points last season, but I think Washington is still within a point, give or take, of the century mark this season.

The Capitals are largely returning the same team that recorded 105 points and won the Stanley Cup last season. Minus long-time bottom-six center Jay Beagle, Washington’s group up front is identical to last year’s squad.

The same goes for the blueline. In fact, it’s identical to last season.

So, where is the eight-point regression going to come from? Nowhere, in my opinion.

In fact, Washington overcame some down seasons from a couple of important players to win the division and the Cup last season. Second line right winger T.J. Oshie had a big postseason, but he scored just 18 goals and 47 points in the regular season, well under his production from previous seasons.

Braden Holtby, perhaps Washington’s most important player this season, faltered to a ghastly 3.70 GAA and .887 Sv% in the second half of last season and ended up with the worst numbers of his regular season career. He recovered marvellously in the postseason, but Washington notched 105 points despite their top goaltender getting torched after the All-Star break.

The Caps have a stout top three rearguards in.

  • John Carlson
  • Matt Niskanen
  • Dmitri Orlov

They brought back the steadiest of veterans in Brooks Orpik while Michael Kempny turned himself into one of the best trade deadline pickups in the league last season. There’s a lot to like about this group on the back end.

I expect Holtby to return to career norms, and I expect the Capitals to score with the best of em’ like they have done almost every season in the Alex Ovechkin era.

Add in the reliable blueline, and I think the Capitals get over the 97.5-point mark with relative ease. Sign me up for the OVER 97.5 (-140).

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