Something you must know about Puck Paddy….he likes to gamble away his hard-earned currencies on sporting events. Perhaps this is not surprising given his name is similar to that of a well-known Irish bookmaker, and the fact that he is Irish.
One day in to the new NHL season, yours truly sat his ass down to try and make my four readers some money. Pretty much all of these were bets to be made over the course of the season, and now that we’ve crossed the bridge in to 2015, it’s time to reassess where we are at with these prognostications, and see if we can find any more value in the market for you, the degenerate gambler.
Paddy Done Good: Montreal to win the East
For a team that got to the Eastern Conference final’s last year, 8/1 seemed like a fairly high number to pin on a team that was 1) almost definitely going to make the play-off’s and 2) had probably the best goaltender in the conference. So far, this prognostication isn’t looking too bad as Montreal currently sit number one in the East and on an impressive six game win-streak. While I’m more than willing to pat myself on the back here, I am getting a little bit concerned by the seemingly increasing strength of some of the teams in the conference, notably the Lightning and the Penguins. However, at this stage you’ve got to be happy if you backed the Habs at their start of the season, but just pray to whatever higher-being you can that nothing happens to Carey Price.
Paddy Done Bad: Boston to win the East at 7/2
Ok, in my defense I did say wait a little bit before backing them instead of taking the relatively high 7/2 price. The problem with Boston is that what we’re seeing is a team that’s a shadow of it’s former self, severely lacking the goal scoring touch of previous years and whose injury problems at the back-end earlier in the season caused them to sputter in to 2015. As it stands right now, they are outside of the play-offs, but expect the Leafs to sink massively over the next few months making it between themselves, Florida and Detroit to fight it out for the remaining automatic space or two wildcards. There’s no doubt they’re struggling right now, and it’s been punctuated by the success of Boychuk in Jersey and Seguin in Dallas, but those guys are gone now. We’ve seen top teams like Boston go through mid-season slumps before and come out of it, so while I would be a little bit concerned that this team might be reaching the point that they’re over the hill, I would expect a power-move from management to bring in some scoring (maybe Taylor Hall?) and the likes of Rask, Chara and Bergeron to take it up a notch when it matters. There is decent value out there and they have the pedigree, it’s definitely worth a punt.
Paddy Done Good: Toss a coin between Chicago & LA for the West
Ok, no prizes for picking the two best teams to win the conference, and LA aren’t exactly lighting it up right now, but you can’t tell me anyone would be surprised if either of these make the finals this year? Chicago’s value is on the floor because they’re clearly the best team in the league, whereas LA are in their typical cruise-control mode at this stage of the season, ready to pounce. Not much more to say here except wait to see how it plays out, and if you haven’t done so already, put money on LA at the presumably better price because I don’t know if Chicago will be able to beat them either.
Paddy Done Bad: Minnesota to win the West at 12/1
Yikes. I’d like to give you some excuses like injuries or bad luck or whatever, but Minnesota just hasn’t been that good this year and I should have seen it coming. I based a lot on Vanek’s arrival, which in hindsight was foolish because he really wasn’t that good last year in Montreal, and he stinks of a man resting on his laurels. Meanwhile in net, Josh Harding clearly was not going to be the answer and they’re just looking distinctly average. The western division is ridiculously competitive, and it’s not helped by Canadian misfits Calgary and Winnipeg punching above their weight, but with Dallas making a bit of a revival and the Jets not tailing off, I’m pretty worried about this team even making it to the dance. Doh!
Paddy Done Good: Drew Doughty Best Defenseman 7/1
Hard to evaluate this one, but Drew Doughty is playing pretty damn well (as always) and is getting acknowledged in the Canadian press for his excellent 2014 that may carry him towards consideration in 2015. Shea Weber and Mark Giordano of Nashville and Calgary are also highly touted, and it’s backed up by both of their teams over-achieving first half, but they’re more likely to tail off and LA are more likely to rise than the other way around, so I’m still feeling ok about this bet.
Paddy Done Bad: Sidney Crosby Top Scorer 12/1
So I took the best player in the league to win top scorer and he only has 11 so far, big whoop! It was a bit of an outside punt but the dude has game. Tyler Seguin currently tops the charts with 26 so this is dead in the water. The longest scoring drought of his career really did not help me on this one. Cheers Sid.
The rest are hard to evaluate at this stage, and barring some of the bad choices up there, my tips have kept you still in the game which I’m happy about. There’s still a lot of hockey to be played though, so lets see where it takes us.