NHL Eastern Conference Make-Miss Playoffs Odds Posted
With the NHL All-Star break in the rearview mirror, the focus now shifts to the final half of the regular season and the playoff races in both conferences. In the Eastern Conference in particular, there are some intriguing battles to keep an eye on the rest of the way as teams jockey for position in the standings. Let’s take a look at the Eastern Conference bubble teams and see which ones are good bets to make or miss the playoffs.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
MAKE PLAYOFFS: -190
MISS PLAYOFFS +150
The Blue Jackets have been one of the surprise stories in the NHL throughout the first 51 games of the season. Currently holding down the top Wild Card spot with a 27-16-8 record, it might be only a matter of time before the clock strikes midnight for Columbus. There are currently three teams within three points back of the Blue Jackets in the Wild Card race. First of all, this team isn’t exactly deep up front Pierre Luc-Dubois and Gustav Nyquist currently 1-2 in scoring. As impressive as the goaltending tandem of Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo have been, it’s hard to imagine that pair carrying Columbus to a playoff spot over the course of a full season. If you’re looking to fade a team, they might be a good one to bet on.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
MAKE PLAYOFFS: -145
MISS PLAYOFFS +115
Toronto is one of the three teams we mentioned are chasing Columbus. The Maple Leafs are a much more lethal scoring team than the Blue Jackets with Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander leading the way up front. However, Toronto’s goaltending situation is still of concern even with Frederik Andersen coming off an All-Star Game appearance. While Andersen owns an impressive 23-9-6 record, his 3.45 goals-against average and .898 save percentage over the last month isn’t exactly All-Star worthy. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs are stuck with Michael Hutchinson and his .883 save percentage in their backup role. Should anything ever happen to Andersen, Toronto could be in big trouble.
As it stands, fatigue could slow down Andersen over the second half and make it very tough for the Maple Leafs to make the postseason – even with all of their fire power.
MAKE PLAYOFFS +110
MISS PLAYOFFS: -140
After explaining why Columbus and Toronto won’t make the playoffs, it makes sense to point out one team that will beat them both out for a Wild Card. Philadelphia 5-2-0 since January 8th, climbing to within one point of the Carolina Hurricanes for the final Wild Card. The Flyers have already earned five of a possible six points versus the Maple Leafs and four of a possible four points against the Blue Jackets. With young stars like Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny stepping up to provide some support for the veterans like Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia has some firepower. More importantly, young goaltender Carter Hart is 15-11-3 with a 2.61 goals-against average. They’re offering some decent value to make the playoffs.
MAKE PLAYOFFS: +450
MISS PLAYOFFS -600
While the value isn’t anything to write home about by any means, the fact that this option is still on the board at all might make it worth putting some money on. Carey Price owns a pedestrian 2.85 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage this season. Montreal has also been hit hard by injuries up front, which played a big role in the team’s eight-game losing streak from December 28th to January 9th. The Canadiens already seem to have run out of gas. Already 11 points out of a wild card spot, they have an uphill climb to make the playoffs.
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