UFC 253 comes packed with fireworks from both inside the octagon and the betting lines as middleweight king Israel Adesanya settles his grudge with the unbeaten destroyer, Paulo Costa. Both fighters are explosive strikers and with ill will all but guaranteeing heated exchanges. Co-headlining are red-hot fighters Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz facing off for the vacant light heavyweight title. Let's break down these fights and see which bets we can cash.
Stanley Cup Futures Watch
So who do the oddsmakers like to win the Cup at this point? I never thought I would live to see the day when the 2-time defending Stanley Cup champions are ranked lower than the Toronto Maple Leafs and just above an expansion team. But here we are. Let's face it, 2017 has been a mess across the board. Let’s take a look at the odds for our key teams of interest in the NHL.
The Lightning are favoured to win it all thus far, after a very strong start to the regular season. Their offense has been insanely good so far this season, led by Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. Tampa Bay has scored 3.7 goals per game, while only giving up 2.52 goals per game. So that gives them the best offense in the NHL and the 4th best defense. Does that add up to a title? Oddsmakers think so.
I still tend to think all of this Cup talk in Toronto is a tad premature. Toronto fans need to settle their leaves a little bit. The 6ix is abuzz as fans are hoping for their first Cup since the Moon Landing and Woodstock. But they would be better to set their expectations towards their first playoff series win since 2003. Toronto is scoring 3.4 goals a game but their defense has been good-to-meh. They have the best coach in the NHL, but I feel like this young team needs to lose in the playoffs, before they can win.
The Blues being ranked this high is a bit quizzical to me. They’re still struggling to find their footing and looking up in the standings to both the Predators and the Jets, in a bit of a dogfight in the central division. They’re good, they’re talented and experienced. The Blues are only allowing 2.68 goals per game so far this season. They’re going to need the D to be strong if they’re going to survive the bar fight in the Central to win it all.
The two time defending NHL champions are ranked 4th most likely to win it all this year. A bit of a slap in the facemask? Yes and no. The Pens should change their logo to a bullseye because they are everybody’s game of the month. Everyone gets extra-amped to play the Pens, and they have to match that level of intensity every single night.
It’s mildly concerning that the Pens are averaging 35.3 shots on goal per night, good enough for second in the NHL. But they are not in the top 10 in goals scored, only converting for 2.9 goals per night.
The Habs have been one of the most entertaining teams to follow so far this season. They got off to a historically bad start and a 2-goal game was something they could only dream of. Also, the defense was allowing Carey Price to get roasted. Then, Price went down with an injury and things got worse before they could get better.
But now, Price is back and they are slowly creeping up the standings. Montreal is now scoring 2.75 goals per game, which is no longer the worst in the NHL. Just, well below average. And there is a lot of hockey left to play this season. They could grind their way into the playoffs, and then, who knows.
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