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Thread: Point Total Predictions For All 31 NHL Teams

  1. #1 Point Total Predictions For All 31 NHL Teams 
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    Point total predictions for all 31 NHL teams

    Craig Wyshynski
    ESPN PLUS ($ MATERIAL)


    One of the astonishing aspects of sports wagering is the bookmakers' uncanny ability to choose a number for point spreads and over/under bets. I've always imagined that they're the product of a room of MIT grads working on NASA supercomputers. Or a sports almanac imported back from the future. One of the two.

    Usually it's like catnip to both the logical and frothy fan sides of one's brain, managing to entice you into believing that this wager is a rock-solid prospect right up until those waning moments when you realize that nothing short of divine intervention will prevent you from losing this bet by that pesky half-point.

    The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook recently released its NHL team point total over/unders for the 2018-19 season, which are always good for overanalysis and premature prognostication. Here are our predictions on whether every team will go over or under their number:

    Anaheim Ducks

    Points in 2017-18: 101
    Over/under for 2018-19: 96.5
    The Ducks haven't dipped under a 100-point pace in six seasons. The last time they did, Corey Perry was 26 years old with 37 goals. He's 33 now and hasn't broken 20 goals in consecutive seasons. Goalie John Gibson and an exemplary blue line give Anaheim a chance to make the playoff cut for a seventh straight season. An aging core means that another 100-point campaign might not fit the Ducks' bill. Under.


    Arizona Coyotes

    Points in 2017-18: 70
    Over/under for 2018-19: 80.5
    One of the perennial "much better on paper" teams in the NHL, the Coyotes haven't cracked 80 points since 2014. They finished with 70 points in back-to-back seasons. The additions of Alex Galchenyuk and Michael Grabner mean they might be better than 30th in the NHL in goals. A healthy Antti Raanta means they'll be better defensively. An 11-point improvement isn't outlandish, but I have a notion that they'll just miss it. Under.



    Boston Bruins

    Points in 2017-18: 112
    Over/under for 2018-19: 102.5
    The only thing we can figure here is that the oddsmakers believe the Bruins don't have a 22-3-3 run in them this season, which is a reasonable assumption. But they're also not going to be middling at the start like they were last season, and the bottom half of the Atlantic Division is going to be a virtual buffet of points for its elite teams. Over.


    Buffalo Sabres

    Points in 2017-18: 62
    Over/under for 2018-19: 79.5
    Essentially, here's the question: Can the additions of Casey Mittelstadt, Rasmus Dahlin and Carter Hutton (as well as a subtraction of a sullen Ryan O'Reilly) equal an 18-point turnaround for the Sabres? The Devils improved by 27 last season. The Avalanche improved by 37 last season. In Ras We Trust, but putting one's faith in the success of a Buffalo sports franchise is a fools' errand. Under.


    Calgary Flames

    Points in 2017-18: 84
    Over/under for 2018-19: 93.5
    On the list of things coach Bill Peters has never done in the NHL: earned more than 90 points in a season. Granted, the Flames have offensive stars the likes of which the Hurricanes didn't have during Peters' tenure in Carolina. But much like last season (OK, many seasons) for Peters with the Canes, this probably comes down to goaltending, which means this probably comes down to the wire. They improve ... and miss this mark by half a point. Under.


    Carolina Hurricanes

    Points in 2017-18: 83
    Over/under for 2018-19: 84.5
    On the one hand, they have one of the most impressive (and cost-effective!) defense corps in the NHL. On the other hand, they have a novice coach under the thumb of an intrusive owner and a goaltending tandem of Scott Darling and Petr Mrazek. But if you're asking if the Hurricanes can be two points better than they were last season, of course they can. Over.


    Chicago Blackhawks

    Points in 2017-18: 76
    Over/under for 2018-19: 84.5
    If the Blackhawks are going to be nine points better than they were last season, that improvement rests on the shoulders of goalie Corey Crawford. If he's healthy, they hit the over easily. If he can't return from the (still) undisclosed injury that derailed his 2017-18 campaign, the dynasty crumbles just a bit more. Over.


    Colorado Avalanche

    Points in 2017-18: 95
    Over/under for 2018-19: 90.5
    Perhaps Nathan MacKinnon improves on his 1.31 points per game. Perhaps the goaltending tandem is among the best in the West. Perhaps the Avalanche push for the playoffs again. Or maybe they just miss the 90-point mark and the postseason and have to settle for two lottery picks (theirs and Ottawa's) next summer. To quote Livia Soprano: "Poor you!" Under.


    Columbus Blue Jackets

    Points in 2017-18: 97
    Over/under for 2018-19: 97.5
    Provided Sergei Bobrovsky is healthy and the Blue Jackets cravenly hold on to Artemi Panarin before losing him for nothing as an unrestricted free agent, this could be a 100-point team. Over.


    Dallas Stars

    Points in 2017-18: 92
    Over/under for 2018-19: 94.5
    What does Jim Montgomery bring to the table as a first-year coach? Because say what you will about Ken Hitchcock, but he turned this team from 29th in goals against to seventh (with an assist from goaltender Ben Bishop). The baseline for the Stars is usually around 92 points. Here's saying that they can eek out two more wins. Over.


    Detroit Red Wings

    Points in 2017-18: 73
    Over/under for 2018-19: 75.5
    The Red Wings have roughly $82.7 million committed against the cap to a team that hasn't gotten north of 80 points in the past two seasons. In theory, they should tumble down the standings to a lottery pick like they were plummeting in Lake Michigan while strapped to an anchor. But in reality, they'll probably get another two wins at a minimum. Over.


    Edmonton Oilers

    Points in 2017-18: 78
    Over/under for 2018-19: 91.5
    I have an unwavering belief that Connor McDavid can will this team back into the playoffs and that having two goaltenders in walk years might be beneficial from a competitive standpoint. But there still isn't much here beyond Connor, Leon and the Nuge. We obviously hope for the best, but the best can be "an aggressive house cleaning after another non-playoff season." Under.


    Florida Panthers

    Points in 2017-18: 96
    Over/under for 2018-19: 94.5
    I spent most of the summer thinking that the "Florida Panthers are going to break 100 points this season" was a hot take, until someone reminded me that it basically means they win two more games than they did last season. So I'll shift gears on my feline hot takery and say that "Black Panther" gets a Best Picture nomination. In any event, this is an easy one for me. Over.


    Los Angeles Kings

    Points in 2017-18: 98
    Over/under for 2018-19: 93.5
    Even if Anze Kopitar falls off his wacky 1.12 points-per-game pace, even if Dustin Brown doesn't set another career high in points, even if Ilya Kovalchuk isn't exactly Ilya Kovalchuk anymore, we're going to assume that Jeff Carter plays more than 27 games this season, and that's good enough to stay above 94 points. Over.


    Minnesota Wild

    Points in 2017-18: 101
    Over/under for 2018-19: 95.5
    Sometimes these debates come down to faith vs. science, so in the paraphrased words of Mark Watney in "The Martian," we're going to science the [stuff] out of this Wild pick. The "Bruce Boudreau Unified Centurial Theorem" states that if Bruce Boudreau is coaching a team in an 82-game regular season, that season will have a team reach 100 points or be on a 100-point pace if there's a work stoppage. The only times this did not occur were in seasons in which Boudreau was hired (2007-08 and 2011-12) or fired (2011-12). So as long as Bruce Boudreau isn't replaced during the season -- and let's face it, with a new general manager, this isn't implausible -- the Wild are getting at least 100 points. That's just, like, science, man. Over.


    Montreal Canadiens

    Points in 2017-18: 71
    Over/under for 2018-19: 80.5
    You know the mighty have fallen when Carey Price is considered only the fifth-best goalie in the league by the NHL's official television network, ranking behind Jonathan Quick no less. If Price starts 12 more games than last season (48) and wins half of them, one assumes the Habs can hit the over. But that's assuming that two months without Shea Weber and whatever unfortunate result the Max Pacioretty situation yields aren't a negative drag on the Canadiens. Over.


    Nashville Predators

    Points in 2017-18: 117
    Over/under for 2018-19: 105.5
    The Predators followed their Stanley Cup Final appearance with the best regular season in franchise history, fueled by a Vezina Trophy-winning performance from Pekka Rinne that seems like it happened five seasons ago after his postseason struggles. Nashville had a .713 points share last season. The number of teams in the past decade to have that share or better and follow with a season at .713 or better is ... one: the Washington Capitals from 2015 to 2017. This isn't to say that the Predators couldn't accomplish the same feat, what with their incredible assemblage of defense, dominating top line and capable backup goalie should this be, you know, "it" for Pekka. It's to say that there's no shame in 101 or 103 points. Under.


    New Jersey Devils

    Points in 2017-18: 97
    Over/under for 2018-19: 91.5
    Taylor Hall's 93-point, Hart Trophy-winning season was a career-redefining campaign that won't be easily repeated. Nor will a 7-0-1 run to the playoffs that saw Hall score 15 (!) points in that span. That said, the Devils crested more than 100 points with substandard goaltending, including a second straight clunker of a season from Cory Schneider. They'll drop a bit, but it won't be a free fall. Over.


    New York Islanders

    Points in 2017-18: 80
    Over/under for 2018-19: 83.5
    We really like the "over" for a few reasons, which include Mathew Barzal, Barry Trotz, Mathew Barzal, Lou Lamoriello, Mathew Barzal, improved goaltending and also Mathew Barzal. But mostly, how can you wager against a team whose roster-wide motivation is "everyone thinks you're garbage because your best player abandoned your franchise, so prove them wrong?" I'm not saying they're going to be the post-Wayne Gretzky Oilers, but at the very least, these Islanders could be the post-Matt Duchene Avalanche. Did we mention they still have Mathew Barza?! Over.


    New York Rangers

    Points in 2017-18: 77
    Over/under for 2018-19: 75.5
    New York is going to finish right around 75 points again in its rebuild-by-design. While Henrik Lundqvist and a healthy Kevin Shattenkirk make a one-point improvement plausible, the fact is the Rangers' forward group can be split into four groups: Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, those rookies and some guys. Under.


    Ottawa Senators

    Points in 2017-18: 67
    Over/under for 2018-19: 71.5
    With the Erik Karlsson saga yet to reach finality as of this writing, we don't know what the Senators' roster will look like this season. What we do know: They have nearly a dozen players who are playing for a contract, a goalie in Craig Anderson looking to rebound from an atrocious season by his standards and no discernible reason to tank, given that it benefits only Colorado. Over.


    Philadelphia Flyers

    Points in 2017-18: 98Over/under for 2018-19: 98.5This is a team that's trending up, and it filled a vital need (giving Nolan Patrick a dynamic winger on James van Riemsdyk) during the summer. Yet until it's time for Carter Hart to become one of the few homegrown solutions in goal in the past 20 years of Flyers hockey (we hardly knew ye, Sergei Bobrovsky), the goaltending will give us a slight pause, as they had a .903 team save percentage last season. Under.


    Pittsburgh Penguins
    Points in 2017-18: 100
    Over/under for 2018-19: 103.5
    Sidney Crosby's teams have been better than a 103-point pace in six of the past eight seasons. With a healthy Matt Murray, the Pens probably would have done it again last season. With a healthy Matt Murray, they will do it this season. Over.


    San Jose Sharks

    Points in 2017-18: 100Over/under for 2018-19: 97.5The Sharks have cleared 97 points in each of the past three seasons under Pete DeBoer, and given the depth on this roster (even without John Tavares), there's little reason to believe they can't do it again. Over.


    St. Louis Blues

    Points in 2017-18: 94
    Over/under for 2018-19: 95.5
    With the improvements GM Doug Armstrong made to a roster that was already better than its record indicated, this might be one of the best bets of the preseason. Unless of course Jake Allen flakes again, Chad Johnson isn't the answer, and Armstrong has Ron Hextall on speed dial in case they need the stabilizing presence of Brian Elliott back on the roster. Over.


    Tampa Bay Lightning

    Points in 2017-18: 113
    Over/under for 2018-19: 107.5
    Their eyes are obviously on a different prize, seeing as how half their defense hits free agency next summer, so the Stanley Cup window is at its most gaping. It's going to be close, but I'm going to err on the side of believing this team's blessed health in the previous regular season might not repeat in 2018-19. Under.


    Toronto Maple Leafs

    Points in 2017-18: 105
    Over/under for 2018-19: 106.5
    This would be what they call a "sucker's bet" in Vegas, in the sense that the addition of John Tavares and a full season of Auston Matthews has to mean an additional win in the standings, right? Right? Wrong. The offense will still be among the NHL's best, and the defense will still linger outside the top 10. That's a recipe for a season that finds Toronto getting over the 100-point mark but not necessarily improving on last season's total. Under.


    Vancouver Canucks

    Points in 2017-18: 73
    Over/under for 2018-19: 77.5
    An interesting one, if only because the best remedy for this franchise would be the biggest tank job this side of a window washer at Sea World. (Orca joke synergy alert!) But this management team appears to believe the Canucks are closer to contending than they are to the top of the lottery, and this roster is good enough to get 78 points. Barely. Over.


    Vegas Golden Knights

    Points in 2017-18: 109
    Over/under for 2018-19: 96.5
    Are the Golden Knights a first-year anomaly, brought on by a perfect storm of low expectations, municipal pride and the Vegas Flu? Or is this meticulously constructed team going to build on its Western Conference championship, supplementing the losses of David Perron and James Neal with the arrival of Paul Stastny? An under bet would cover both a nine-point regression from their incredible first season and the possibility that they totally turn into a pumpkin in Year 2. Under.


    Washington Capitals

    Points in 2017-18: 105
    Over/under for 2018-19: 98.5
    The general perception is that the Capitals are going to suffer the kind of hangover that leads to weird face tattoos and a tiger in the bathroom. Factor in a rookie head coach in Todd Reirden and the lack of a veteran safety net as insurance for goaltender Braden Holtby, and there's additional concern. But before they became Stanley Cup champions, the Capitals excelled at one thing: vacuuming up regular-season points. It's second nature, like Alex Ovechkin doing snow angels the moment he lies down in a public fountain. Over.


    Winnipeg Jets

    Points in 2017-18: 114
    Over/under for 2018-19: 106.5
    On the one hand, they hit 114 points without Mark Scheifele for 22 games. On the other hand, they might not have hit 114 points were it not for a 15-2-1 roll at the end of the season that coincided with the arrival of Paul Stastny, who is now counting his chips in Vegas. If Connor Hellebuyck doesn't get them a .922 save percentage again, the Jets might see a slight downtick, but they're still very much a burgeoning championship contender. Under.
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  2. #2  
    Winnipeg Jets forever Puckhandler's Avatar
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    really like the over 106.5 pts for the Winnipeg Jets. I am predicting their best season ever pts-wise, even without Statsny.
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