Today's Free Picks for
Posted October 2
This wager is available at BET365 in the “To Reach Playoffs” section at the bottom of the hockey betting page but if you don’t have an account there, you can also bet the Rangers to go under 95½ points because if they do miss the playoffs, they will likely be way under that number. We could play under 95½ too but that’s an even money wager while missing the playoffs will bring us back a healthy return of +250.
Thus, in order for the Rangers to miss the playoffs, there has to be improvements in the East from two or three teams that missed the playoffs last year and that will take the Rangers place in the postseason this year. Last year’s playoff teams in the East were Montreal, Ottawa, Boston, Toronto, Washington, Pittsburgh, Columbus and New York Rangers. We can almost be certain that Washington, Toronto, Pittsburgh and Montreal will make the playoffs again this year. Columbus has too much talent to take a step backwards so that’s five playoff teams right there. That leaves three up for grabs and it would be absolutely unreasonable to expect the Lightning to miss the playoffs again. Tampa Bay might have the best talent in the East and they are not going to repeat last year.
Assuming Tampa makes it along with our other five almost sure things, that leaves two playoff spots up for grabs between Carolina, Florida, Detroit, Boston, Philadelphia, the Rangers, the Islanders, Buffalo and New Jersey. Carolina is ready to make its move. The addition of goaltender Scott Darling stabilizes the ‘Canes on the backend behind a deep, young and very talented defense core. Carolina figures to make the playoffs too. Carolina might even be a top-3 team in the East and had they not lost more OT games than any NHL team over the past two years, they would’ve made the playoffs both years. Carolina is 100% a playoff calibre team.
To recap, we can reasonably expect Toronto, Montreal, Washington, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Tampa Bay and Carolina to make the playoffs. That would leave one open spot for the Rangers and they would have to beat out Boston, Ottawa, Florida, Philadelphia, Buffalo or the Islanders, assuming that Detroit and New Jersey have no shot. Some say Philly is a year away from exploding. Surely, the Flyers could be ahead of schedule this year. Some say Florida has too much talent to miss the playoffs. Some say Ottawa can play as good as they did last year. Some say Buffalo had the best offseason of any team in the East. One cannot count out the Bruins either. The Islanders have been 94 points or better for the last three seasons and the coaching change to Doug Weight last year showed the potential for this group. Anyone of those “bubble” teams can beat out the Rangers and some might beat them out by a wide margin.
The New York Rangers are a capped out team that is in serious need at center. Factor in a suddenly less reliant Henrik Lundqvist (we call him pure garbage) without a suitable backup safety net and we’re putting the Rangers outside the playoff picture. Kevin Shattenkirk helps the power-play but he doesn’t help that wasteland of a defense. We didn’t like the Derek Stepan trade either, at least for the short term. Stepan is an outstanding defensive-minded center who is great on the penalty kill. In 81 games last season he scored 17 goals and added 38 assists for 55 points. The Rangers are on the decline and we’re suggesting it all comes to a head this year by them missing the playoffs and/or finishing below the posted point total of 95½.
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N.Y. Rangers +250 to miss playoffs (Risking 2 units - To Win: 5.00)