Week 10: College Hockey Rankings, Betting Lines, & Weekend Preview

Gambling Gophers Hockey NCAA

This is the last chance to move your team up the College Hockey Rankings before (almost) everyone takes a long holiday break. I’m sure that’s what every coach in the nation is telling their team heading into this weekend. Everyone knows that they all care deeply about the polls and what the rest of the nation thinks about them.

In all seriousness, the rankings might not matter yet, but the momentum does. The teams that are playing well want to carry that into the break. Teams who are underperforming want to prove to themselves that there’s still hope for the rest of the year. Then there’s the CCHA where every team is just looking to find some sort of consistency in their game one way or another.

With every passing week, the discrepancies between the Pairwise rankings and the polls are less egregious. Don’t get it twisted, some of them ARE still egregious…just less. Anyone below 40 in the pairwise rankings can pretty much pack it in for the season now. There IS still technically time to make moves but if you’re not already in the top twenty, that time is quickly running out.

Updated Weekly Picks

Last week I said that we’d no longer be picking up stupid +200 gimmick plays. We still aren’t. Instead, we’re nabbing an insane +300 line that’s lingering out there! Look, CC has been underperforming and they’re playing in one of the toughest barns in the sport. I don’t care. Anyone can win any given night in College Hockey.

We were bit by saying that 7 was too many goals in the UND/DU matchup last weekend and then the game had 12 goals. Western has scored 8 fewer goals on the season than North Dakota and are LETHAL in Kalamazoo. I’m not saying it’s a lock, but if this is anywhere near a slow 3-2 game, I’ll be shocked. The Big10 schools have stats behind the picks, but if we’re being honest it’s simply based on the eye-test.

If you think you’re smarter than me, prove it. You can go on BettorEdge and either set your own lines or pick up one that someone else (me) has already thrown out there. I’ll be putting affordable lines out there on each of these if you’re just looking to “dabble” a bit. Just make sure to use β€œ10K” at sign-up.

Explaining the Minnesota Rankings:

Another week has gone by. Another week where there are no changes to the rankings in Minnesota. There’s simply no need to update anything. Everyone knows who everyone is at this point. Nobody is ELITE. A few teams are good. Most everyone else is fighting amongst themselves.

1. University of Minnesota – Gophers
2. St. Cloud State – Huskies
3. University of Minnesota, Duluth – Bulldogs
4-6. St. Thomas University – Tommies
4-6. Minnesota State – Mavericks
4-6. Bemidji State – Beavers

National College Hockey Rankings Roundup

Ladies and gentlemen, we have FINALLY upgraded the computer-based rankings system weights! Officially, they’re still a minority impact, but TECHNICALLY they count for twice as much as they did last week! We’re slowly going to ramp them up until they mean the most. In the end, the Pairwise is really the only thing that matters anyways, but sometimes the computer is still wrong. Checks and balances are in place. False ones, just like America!

North Dakota continues their dominant tour and incredible record with one of the toughest schedules to date to boot. Any idiot that was questioning how a new goaltender and 100% turnover at their blueline would affect them has their answer. The two true Boston schools have both rebounded to a prominent position and lead the six hockey east teams inside the rankings. Denver is still sniffing around the top tier with Quinnipiac and then you get into the rest of the list.

Wisconsin, Michigan State, Minnesota, Michigan, Penn State, and Notre Dame could all make runs in the postseason for the Big 10. As it stands right now, only four of them would make the tournament, but the point remains. They’re cannibalizing themselves with solid play across the board right now with no clear “winners” as has been the case the last 4-5 years.

RIT. I had to put their name in the blog because there’s one person who will complain if I don’t. They aren’t in an at-large spot right now and they won’t be at the end of the season either. Call me a pessimist or a “hater” if you want, but facts are facts and Atlantic Hockey isn’t competitive enough to have two teams taking up spots in the postseason race. Sorry ’bout it.

Dec 4th College Hockey Rankings Roundup

Note: The National Rankings Roundup weighs each of the ranking sources instead of treating them all as equal. This takes into account the credibility of the source, potential committee influence, what data they utilize, evident bias, and amount of teams ranked. USCHO and USA Hockey still remain the drivers.

Minnesota College Hockey Games

#9/10 Minnesota @ Ohio State – Fri & Sat, Dec. 8/9

Gophers vs Buckeyes

Stats:

25.0 β€“ PP% – 17.2
82.6 – PK% – 78.4
49.7 – FO% – 47.6
1.227 – GF/GA – 0.637
.914 – SV% – .894

Vibes: How Ohio State went from the best PK team in the nation last year to some middling nobody this year needs to be studied. Even with talented players leaving, normally a coach is able to maintain SOME semblance of the team’s identity, but that’s not the case for the Buckeyes. What makes it even more interesting is that the top teams in the Big 10 aren’t considered the top teams in the nation anymore. Sure, there are MORE good teams in the Big 10, but the ceiling has come down a little bit.

As referenced above, Minnesota is not the same team they were a season ago either. Their top players are great individually, but that top line isn’t guaranteed to put in multiple goals a game. While they may not have THAT going for them they do have one thing going for them. Technically, they have EVERYTHING going for them in this matchup. More shots on net, more goals for, fewer goals against, better special teams play on both sides of the puck, winning more faceoffs, a better goalie, which all leads to…more wins.

Prediction: Gophs sweep on the road.

#15 St Cloud State @ Omaha – Fri & Sat, Dec. 8/9

Huskies vs Mavericks

Stats:

19.3 β€“ PP% – 12.3
84.6 – PK% – 82.4
52.1 – FO% – 55.8
1.176 – GF/GA – 1.103
.904 β€“ SV% – .898

Vibes: Whoever tells you what’s going to happen in this series with certainty is lying to you. Hand up, everything that I write in this section of the blog is a wild guess. These two teams are eerily similar in every way. The Huskies are slightly better in both stats and the “eye test”, but they’re also playing on the road. It’ll be the first time they face off against one another this season, but they split the one series they played a year ago. I expect this to come down to whichever goalie controls rebounds better and/or whoever gives up fewer odd-man rushes. It’s hockey, what do you want me to say?

Prediction: Huskies take Friday, Omaha wins Saturday

Minnesota, Duluth @ Miami, Ohio – Fri & Sat, Dec. 8/9

Bulldogs vs Redhawks

Stats:

29.8 β€“ PP% – 15.1
79.7 – PK% – 83.0
47.4 – FO% – 44.8
0.854 – GF/GA – 0.771
.900 β€“ SV% – .889

Vibes: Combined, these schools have 78 goals on the season. Denver ALONE has 85! Let’s not pretend that either of these schools has ever been known for a high-powered offense as the reason for their success, but that is a crazy stat nonetheless. Both schools had decent start to the season. Hell, some would even call it good. Now, they’re fighting to remain relevant in their conference conversation.

Duluth (39) and Miami (41) are by far and away the furthest down the pairwise rankings for any NCHC teams. Getting swept this weekend would eliminate any remaining hope of making the College Hockey tournament as an at-large bid. Miami has historically given UMD fits when playing in Ohio, even when the Bulldogs had teams that were performing better. Now, Persson is playing in North Dakota and the Redhawks are having to rely on other ways to stay in games. They’ll have to play clean all weekend to avoid the UMD power play…in my opinion, that’s the only way they win these games.

Prediction: Dogs finally get a sweep in Ohio.

St Thomas @ Minnesota State – Fri & Sat, Dec. 8/9

Tommies vs Mavericks

Stats:

10.3 β€“ PP% – 16.2
72.9 – PK% – 73.2
51.0 β€“ FO% – 49.7
1.167 – GF/GA – 0.698
.909 β€“ SV% – 0.893

Vibes: You might not know this, but the Tommies are the best team in the CCHA. That is as long as you believe the standings as they sit today. They’re in first place by two points, and four points ahead of the 3rd place Mavericks. Of note, sixth place in the conference is just six points away from the top as well. That just goes to show you how close that conference is right now. Every weekend has had upsets and I’m not sure if that’s due to sloppy play or creative coaching. From a game-to-game basis, the reasons for wins (and losses) seems to be a roll of the dice for every team in the conference. All I know is that it’s been fun to watch.

Prediction: Tommies refuse to sweep when I call for it. Split.

Lake Superior State @ Bemidji State – Fri & Sat, Dec 8/9

Lakers vs Beavers

Stats:

17.8 β€“ PP% – 15.3
83.6 – PK% – 68.2
45.5 β€“ FO% – 46.7
1.039 – GF/GA – 0.698
.902 β€“ SV% – .868

Vibes: Respect to the fanbases of both of these schools. Neither of them want to win a faceoff and their power play units are incredibly frustrating to watch. You’ve got to be a certain kind of person or enjoy a special kind of “hockey” to be able to enjoy watching these two play. That being said, it’s going to be a huge weekend for both of them in Bemidji! They’re only separated by one point in the CCHA standings and are very much alive for winning the MacNaughton Cup. Technically EVERYONE in the CCHA is still alive in that race, but that’s not the point.

Prediction: Split…despite the fact that the Beavs should sweep on home ice

Other College Hockey Games to Watch

#4/5 Denver @ #13 Western Michigan – Fri & Sat, Dec 8/9

Pioneers vs Broncos

Stats:

22.5 – PP% – 25.0
81.0 β€“ PK% – 90.2
51.2 β€“ FO% – 53.9
1.848 β€“ GF/GA – 2.000
.882 β€“ SV% – .925

Vibes: Denver may be well ahead of Western in the national standings, but the Broncos are DOMINATING the Pios in a head to head matchup on paper. As good as Western is on the man advantage, they’re even more impressive playing a man down. Anybody that is 90% efficient on the penalty kill needs to be taken seriously, but if someone WERE to poke holes in that stat you could. Their schedule to date includes just ONE team that’s currently ranked, St Cloud (15). Other programs include Ferris State, Bowling Green, Omaha, CC, St Lawrence, and Lindenwood. That’s not exactly what I would call murderer’s row, so we’ll see how this version of the Broncos holds up against a championship contender.

Prediction: Split at the zoo.

#17 Penn State @ #6 Wisconsin – Fri & Sat, Dec 8/9

Nittany Lions vs Badgers

Stats:

24.2 β€“ PP% – 17.6
77.1 – PK% – 89.8
50.0 β€“ FO% – 54.6
1.283 – GF/GA – 1.963
.877 – SV% – .936

Vibes: This is going to be like every game Penn State has played in this year. They’re going to put up 40 shots a game and hope they get some good bounces and/or the goalie is having a bad night. Thankfully (for the Badgers and the viewers) Kyle McClellan is one of the best goaltenders in the country. He’s got the second-best save percentage in the nation and the number one Goals Against Average. Combine that with a top-five penalty kill and the Badgers might be the best-suited team to stop Penn State’s weekly barrage of shots.

Prediction: It’s the Big10…Split

#9/10 Providence @ #2/3 Boston College – Sat, Dec 9

Friars vs Eagles

Stats:

19.0 – PP% – 26.2
88.2 – PK% – 93.5
51.7 – FO% – 47.3
1.567 β€“ GF/GA – 1.714
.911 β€“ SV% – .925

Vibes: Boston College have the nations best Penalty Kill. Pair that with the 6th best Power Play and it is easy to see why they’ve captured a large share of the national spotlight this year. Providence has gone with a different approach. They go about their business quietly and may be the most under-represented team in the sport given their current ranking. They may be behind in a good chunk of the statistical categories in this matchup, but their numbers are solid across the board. Expect this single game to be close from start to finish.

Prediction: BC by a single goal.

#19 RIT @ American Int’l – Fri & Sat, Dec 8/9

Tigers vs Yellow Jackets

Stats:

20.4 – PP% – 14.3
83.1 – PK% – 84.5
51.8 – FO% – 52.9
1.429 β€“ GF/GA – 1.119
.920 β€“ SV% – .899

Vibes: This one can be quick and dirty. The winner of this series has historically gone on to be the lone Atlantic Hockey representative in the NCAA playoffs. As it stands right now, RIT is the only AHA team in the College Hockey Rankings. RIT will NOT make it into the top 14 teams, so it’s all going to come down to who wins the AHA tournament at the end of the year…again. I know that Sacred Heart is playing well and had a good run last season, but I fully expect this to be a preview of the Atlantic Hockey championship.

Prediction: RIT sweep

Previous Previews & Picks:

Don’t know whether you can trust the picks or input regarding the College Hockey Rankings? I don’t blame you. I’m not anywhere near a β€œBig J”. In fact, I’m just some idiot with an outlet. An idiot who watches more college hockey than 99% of the nation, but an idiot nonetheless. Take that how you will.

Week 9: College Hockey Rankings, Betting, & Weekend Preview

Week 8: College Hockey Rankings, Betting Lines, & Preview