The Noon Number: 106.5

This picture does not relate to the actual post, but I like it. It's screaming for a photoshop. Very Quentin Tarantino-esque.

106.5.

That's the number of points that Sports.Bodog.Ca expects the Vancouver Canucks to earn this season. While I don't necessarily endorse gambling, it's cool to go through that list and see what the oddsmakers have picked for each team. The Canucks are expected to be first in the Western Conference according to the odds.

I like sports odds because they're pretty much an amalgamation of fan expectation. No smart bookie sets the odds at what "he" thinks. A smart bookie tries to cut it down the middle and have an equal amount of bets on each side. For the Vancouver Canucks here, Bodog is pretty well betting that half the people who place a bet think the Canucks are better than 106.5 points, and the other half will think the opposite.

So, by compiling all the over/under numbers for the teams in the NHL, we can set a reasonable standings chart for fan expectation. Washington and Vancouver, of course, are the two number one seeds in their respective conferences, while Boston, Pittsburgh, Detroit and San Jose are expected as the division winners. Let's take a brief look:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

TEAM          POINTS
Washington 107.5
Boston 102.5
Pittsburgh 100.5
Buffalo 98.5
Philadelphia 98.5
Tampa Bay 98.5
NY Rangers 94.5
Montreal 92.5
New Jersey 90.5
Toronto 89.5
Winnipeg 85.5
Carolina 83.5
Florida 83.5
NY Islanders 81.5
Ottawa 74.5

WESTERN CONFERENCE

TEAM          POINTS
Vancouver 106.5
Detroit 104.5
San Jose 103.5
Chicago 102.5
Los Angeles 102.5
Anaheim 95.5
St. Louis 92.5
Nashville 91.5
Calgary 90.5
Dallas 87.5
Phoenix 87.5
Columbus 85.5
Minnesota 82.5
Edmonton 77.5
Colorado 75.5

 

It wouldn't be a "Cam Charron" sort of post without pointing out a few inefficiencies in the system. (By the way, 'inefficiencies' is a tough word to spell at 8am) I'm going to look at a few good bets and bad bets, and they're easier to pick out if they're arranged on a standings chart.

Tampa Bay Lightning - Predicted finish: T-4th. Result: Good bet.

I don't expect Tampa Bay to roll through the Eastern Conference, but they should be pretty damn close. If you saw their game last night in Montreal you can see how much they controlled possession against a pretty good possession-oriented team in the Canadiens. Steve Yzerman has done a fantastic job with that group and they should be the second best team in the conference. Expecting them to not improve on their performance on last year with a full season of Dwayne Roloson makes little sense in my mind. Take the over.

Buffalo Sabres - Predicted finish: T-4th. Result: Bad bet.

Buffalo got 96 points last season on the back of their goaltender, and didn't do much to address their concerns. Steve Montador represents a significant defensive loss for the team, and, as a result, the Sabres are left with just three defensemen who are "proven" to be able to succeed in tough minutes, in Tyler Myers and Robyn Regehr. This puts a little more pressure on Miller, and they still have limited top-end scoring. Take the under.

Winnipeg Jets - Predicted finish: 11th. Result: Bad bet.

I kind of have to eat some crow on this one. I blog for the Jets over at JetsNation.ca and I've looked at that roster up and down and don't see how they can be six points better this season, or a few spots in the standings. The progression of the younger players should be good for about two wins and many, many things need to fall into place for them to be even close to competing for the playoffs in March. That said, I like the way they're building and focusing on youth and speed, but this isn't going to be their year. Take the under.

Los Angeles Kings - Predicted finish: 5th. Result: Good bet.

I like what the Kings did this summer. They brought aboard Mike Richards, they created a bit of a competition in goal and, having just re-signed Drew Doughty to a big deal, will bring him aboard alongside a healthy Anze Kopitar. They also brought in Simon Gagne as their token veteran forward and have a good contingent of players. I expect that all five teams Bodog says will hit 100 will hit 100. In the Eastern Conference last season, five teams hit 100 points, none of them had fewer than 103 points. That's a good cutoff for the Kings. Take the over.

Chicago Blackhawks - Predicted finish: 4th. Result: Good bet.

I expect Chicago to compete for the division crown this season. They had a very good goal differential last season (258 - 225) and couldn't land a finish higher than 8th. It's not a shock to know that they were a better team than their record showed last season. Corey Crawford with a full year as starter is scary. Andrew Brunette was a very good pickup for them, along with the afore-mentioned Montador. This is just one of those "good bets" because there are five really good teams in the Western Conference this season and all of them should finish comfortably above 100 points. Like Los Angeles, take the over.

Edmonton Oilers - Predicted finish: 14th. Result: Bad bet.

I continually don't get why people think that the Oilers are rebuilding the right way or that they've figured out some magical formula to rebuild that hasn't been tried. Chicago had Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith when they brought aboard Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews and made the big trade for Patrick Sharp. Pittsburgh had a slew of vets and drafted three centremen that plugged right into first, second and third line roles, and their goalie. Edmonton has a couple of exciting wingers, no defense, and a question mark in net. If you expect the Oilers to finish with 76 points or more, you are really saying to yourself "Yes, this team is really better by 60 goals" which is not the case. Take the under.

So, the Vancouver Canucks? Good bet and 107 points or higher? Or bad bet, and 106 points or lower? I'm saying it's a "good" bet but I wouldn't endorse that with anything substantial. A lot of the Canucks record may come from the fact they're in a bad division, but that was the case in 2010 and they only hit 103 points. I don't think they can coast on bad division alone. 107 points is a lot to ask for a team that's going into the season with a few injuries, so it may be wise to avoid action on this one.

What a cop-out.

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