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[HKY] Jan 16, 2013

NHL betting preview: Atlantic Division

By SportsDirect Inc. staff

The Atlantic Division is not for the faint of heart. Three of the top six Stanley Cup favourites reside here (Pittsburgh, Rangers, Philadelphia) along with last year's Stanley Cup runner-up (New Jersey).

Below is a bettor's glance at each team along with some thoughts from Sean Murphy. Futures odds are from Proline Stadium.

New York Rangers
Odds to win Stanley Cup: 9.00
Last season’s record (SU, ATS, O/U): 51-24-2-5, 38-44, 41-41
Key betting note:
Tied for fewest regulation road losses (12) in the league with Vancouver last year.
Sean Murphy’s Take:
“This is a familiar position for the Rangers, but will they finally be able to live up to all of those lofty expectations? Rick Nash should give linemate Brad Richards a huge boost.”

Pittsburgh Penguins
Odds to win Stanley Cup: 9.00
Last season’s record (SU, ATS, O/U): 51-25-3-3, 43-39, 47-35
Key betting note:
Biggest home ice advantage in the East last season with 29 wins.
Sean Murphy’s Take:
“I'm not quite as high on the Penguins as most entering the new season. Can Sidney Crosby stay healthy? Will the Jordan Staal trade pay off? The Pens will be good, but I'm not sure they'll be great.”

Philadelphia Flyers
Odds to win Stanley Cup: 16.00
Last season’s record (SU, ATS, O/U): 47-26-2-7, 29-53, 44-38
Key betting note:
Most puckline losses in the East last season and third-worst ATS money team in the NHL for bettors - a bit of a surprise considering they had the most power play time of any team in the NHL.
Sean Murphy’s Take:
“After watching former teammates Mike Richards and Jeff Carter hoist the Cup with the Kings last summer, the Flyers will be extra-motivated to turn the trick themselves here in 2013. Until they come up with a permanent answer between the pipes, they'll remain a long shot at best.”

New Jersey Devils
Odds to win Stanley Cup: 31.00
Last season’s record (SU, ATS, O/U): 48-28-2-4, 44-38, 42-40
Key betting note:
Best penalty kill in the NHL last season.
Sean Murphy’s Take:
“New Jersey's season may rest on whether or not last year's team leader in points, Ilya Kovalchuk, returns from Russia. Without him, the Devils would be seriously undermanned offensively, especially considering Zach Parise flew the coop to Minnesota in the offseason.”

New York Islanders
Odds to win Stanley Cup:
101.00
Last season’s record (SU, ATS, O/U): 34-37-7-4, 45-37, 45-37
Key betting note:
2nd worst per-game goal differential last season (-0.67) behind only Columbus.
Sean Murphy’s Take:
“The Isles will need a lot of bounces to go their way in order to make an improbable run to the postseason. If John Tavares turns in a Hart Trophy-type year, they might have an outside shot, but that's highly unlikely.”

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