I'm doing a short video segment with OddSharks.com today on some NHL team totals. I'll share it in my next ramblings.
Here are a few quick-hit strategies I employ when looking to find value in team win over/unders for the NHL.
Considering that it typically takes far less to go wrong for the under to hit than what needs to go right for a team total to go over, generally, targeting team unders is a starting point.
Carey Price's injury in 2015-16 derailed the Canadiens. Florida was dealt blow after blow to its roster last season. Jack Eichel was hurt, John Tavares was hurt, and the Penguns lost six of their final 10 games heading into the playoffs. It's difficult to envision Pittsburgh not at least winning six of 10 with both Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang in the lineup.
Those are cherry-picked examples off the top of my head without any correlation to whether a team topped or fell below their win total, but hopefully the point is obvious.
Looking ahead, if Henrik Lundqvist is injured for a month, and Ondrej Pavelec has to man the cage for 10 games, that could be the difference.
So, knowing that disaster can strike and cripple a team's over chance in short order, it's important to focus on depth. Teams that can mitigate player injuries because of their strength up and down the lineup are rare, but there are a few that jumped out from the middle range.
St. Louis Over 44.5 wins
The Blues won 46 games last season and went 22-8-2 after Mike Yeo took over behind the bench — those 22 wins were tied for most in the league from Feb. 1 through the end of the season.
However, what's most important is that St. Louis is better heading into 2017-18 than at any point last year. The blue line absorbed the loss of Kevin Shattenkirk, and adding Brayden Schenn should prove to be a significant roster boost.
Joel Edmundson, Jordan Schmaltz and Jake Walman are all pushing for bigger roles on the back end, and the Blues boast sneaky good depth up front with Magnus Paajarvi, Oskar Sundqvist and Beau Bennett all serviceable bottom-six forwards.
Obviously, the Blues boast significant star power, and remember both Robby Fabbri and Jaden Schwartz missed sizeable chunks during last year's 46-win season.