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NHL Central Division betting preview and odds

The St. Louis Blues rode the formidable goaltending duo of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott to a Central Division title last season. Four teams from this division made the playoffs last year and the Central figures to be one of the most competitive divisions against this year. The Red Wings, Predators and Blackhawks round out this year’s playoff contending teams, with the Blue Jackets once again playing the role as the beating post.

Below is a bettor's glance at each team along with some thoughts from Covers Expert Sean Murphy, which you can also find in his weekly NHL Power Rankings. Over/under season win total odds are from SportsInteraction.

CENTRAL DIVISION


St. Louis Blues

Odds to win Stanley Cup: 14/1
Last season’s record (SU, ATS, O/U): 49-22-1-10, 35-47, 21-43-18
Season over/under win total: 27.5
Covers Power Ranking: 7th
Key betting note: The Blues lead the league in goals against (1.9), shots against (26.7) and shutouts last season (15), resulting in an excellent O/U record (21-43-18)

Murph’s take:
“The pieces are in place for the Blues to make a run. This is a young team, but that's not necessarily a bad thing in today's NHL, especially when you're led by an accomplished head coach like Ken Hitchcock. In a shortened season, the Blues could be an excellent sleeper.”

Chicago Blackhawks

Odds to win Stanley Cup:
10/1
Last season’s record (SU, ATS, O/U): 45-26-4-7, 38-44, 42-39-1
Season over/under win total: 25.5
Covers Power Ranking: 6th
Key betting note: The Blackhawks were a solid moneyline bet at home last season. Chicago cruised to a 27-8-1-5 mark at the United Center.

Murph’s take:
“The Blackhawks are loaded with talent, but haven't been able to regain the form that saw them bring home the Stanley Cup three years ago. Goaltending remains a big issue, with the inconsistent duo of Ray Emery and Corey Crawford being relied upon.”

Detroit Red Wings

Odds to win Stanley Cup:
18/1
Last season’s record (SU, ATS, O/U): 48-28-3-3, 39-43, 34-44-4
Season over/under win total: 27.5
Covers Power Ranking: 8th
Key betting note: The Red Wings were the second-best under play in the league last year (34-44-4 O/U) but they won't have stud defenseman Nick Lidstrom to take care of business on the back end this year.

Murph’s take:
“The post-Nick Lidstrom era begins in Detroit. The Red Wings aren't getting any younger, but Ken Holland always ices a competitive team, and this year will be no different. The Wings will find a way to contend for top spot in the West once again.”

Nashville Predators


Odds to win Stanley Cup:
28/1
Last season’s record (SU, ATS, O/U): 48-26-3-5, 44-38, 34-39-9
Season over/under win total: 22
Covers Power Ranking: 21st
Key betting note: According to the Covers NHL statistics database, the Preds were the third-most profitable team last season if you wagered to win $100 on each of their games.

Murph’s take:
“Credit the Preds for at least holding on to Shea Weber. This is never going to be a team that wins on talent alone. Gritty play will once again be the norm, as Nashville looks to get over the hump in a crowded Western Conference.”

Columbus Blue Jackets

Odds to win Stanley Cup:
200/1
Last season’s record (SU, ATS, O/U): 29-46-2-5, 44-38, 40-39-3
Season over/under win total: 17
Covers Power Ranking: 30th
Key betting note: Columbus finished last season on a 5-1 puckline run and was surprisingly a good bet overall last season (44-38 ATS).

Murph’s take:
“Rick Nash is gone, and so are the Blue Jackets' hopes of contending in the next 3-5 years. The cupboard isn't bare, but don't be surprised if the goaltending situation gets worse before it gets better.”

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