Week 15: College Hockey Rankings, Betting Lines, and Weekend Preview

Everything Else Gophers Hockey NCAA Power Rankings

The top of all College Hockey Rankings systems should be written in ink at this point. The only changes that are going to happen outside of a mild shake-up are going to occur between 13-20. THAT could be completely different at the end of the year, but only because there seems to be more parity in the best conferences than there has been historically. The NCHC is always a slog, but the Big 10 doesn’t have anybody that “sucks” this year. The two worst teams from a season ago are currently sitting on top of the conference. Hockey East also has seen a significant shift with Maine and New Hampshire re-emerging and becoming relevant again.

If it were up to me (and what seems to be the rest of College Hockey fans) the playoffs would expand and we’d get to see all of the top 20 in the postseason. I’d personally push for 24 (much like Buccigross) if we’re going to continue automatically awarding playoff spots to conference champions, but I’ll take what I can get at this point. If the parity and inter-conference play has shown me anything this year, it’s that every one of those teams in the Top 20 can win on any given night. Give the boys a shot to make a run and see who’s got the most fight in ’em.

Updated Weekly Picks

3-2-0 last week no thanks to North Dakota…AGAIN. Those bums have been the bane of my existence all season. Will I learn from my mistakes and keep their game off of my sheet? No, absolutely not. Regardless, we’re still WAY up on the season. The biggest concern I have out of this group is the battle of Michigan…I love how Sparty has been playing, but they’re always going to feel like a “little brother” to the Wolverines.

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.

National College Hockey Rankings Roundup

Barring any major injuries or significant events, the top 12 teams in College Hockey Rankings won’t change much from now until the end of the season. Those teams have largely been there all season and were expected to finish there to start the year. The biggest surprises include impressive turnarounds for both Michigan State and Wisconsin from the Big Ten as well as Boston College and Maine out of Hockey East.

Bubble teams sound weird when you’re starting to refer to them as high as 13, but based on what happened last year, that’s not out of the realm of possibilities. Michigan falling to this realm is a shock to some, but that’s what happens when you lose immediate impact players at the NHL level from your team in addition to a long-time, reliable goaltender. New Hampshire had a strong run earlier this year, but it seems as though they have regressed to the mean as the season progressed.

Finally, RIT has been tickling the rankings on and off, just like they did last year. Unfortunately for the Atlantic Hockey apologists, the Tigers just refuse to make a push to climb. In all fairness to them, it’s hard to collect points against teams that are sitting so low in the pairwise and any losses to those teams are catastrophic.

Jan 15th 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

#6/7 North Dakota vs #12/13 St Cloud State – Fri & Sat, Jan. 19/20

Fighting Hawks vs Huskies

Stats:

22.5 β€“ PP% – 18.8
82.0 – PK% – 82.9
52.2 – FO% – 51.7
1.566 – GF/GA – 1.313
.901 – SV% – .911

Vibes: This is the battle for the top spot in the NCHC. Essentially, these two are so far ahead of everyone else in the conference that if one team were to sweep this series, they’d almost certainly win the Penrose Cup. North Dakota has given up a couple of games recently and has been wildly inconsistent from night to night. St Cloud is coming off of a weekend where they were largely embarrassed and unable to find a split. Both are hungry to establish dominance over the other and claim the postseason trophy with two months left on the books.

Prediction: Split. It’s really the only option.

Ohio State vs #10 Minnesota – Fri & Sat, Jan. 19/20

Buckeyes vs Golden Gophers

Stats:

21.3  β€“ PP% – 25.7
77.6 – PK% – 81.0
48.6 – FO% – 49.8
0.833 – GF/GA – 1.300
.898 – SV% – .911

Vibes: The Gophers HAVE TO dominate this series. That’s not because they’re in trouble for missing the tournament. It also has nothing to do with being on any sort of a losing streak. They just haven’t swept a conference opponent yet this year. If they want any chance to win the Big 10, it has to start with this series. You’re good, Gophers…play like it.

Prediction: Gophers sweep. Clean, simple, correct.

Minnesota, Duluth @ #11 Western Michigan – Fri & Sat, Jan. 19/20

Bulldogs vs Broncos

Stats:

26.3 β€“ PP% – 27.8
80.9 – PK% – 86.1
43.6 – FO% – 53.5
0.923 – GF/GA – 1.860
.905 – SV% – .917

Vibes: Despite my prediction below, the Dogs don’t have much of a shot in this series. Am I saying this to temper my own expectations and hedge the series, emotionally? Yes. But it’s not unfounded. UMD is going into the series without the top three centers that were on their opening day roster to start the season and they’re among the worst in the country at taking faceoffs already. Their most productive goaltender is questionable at the time of this writing and the defense has had trouble controlling the puck in every zone of play.

That’s got catastrophe written all over it for UMD fans. Pair that with the series being played in Kalamazoo and Western needing to win to keep themselves out of bubble territory in the pairwise and it’s one hell of a mountain to climb. It is college hockey and it is the NCHC, so anything can happen, but a win would be HUGE for Duluth.

Prediction: Bulldogs leave the series with 2 points. Could be 2 OT losses or one OT/Shootout win. Not sure how it’s going to happen, but that just feels right.

St Thomas @ Northern Michigan – Fri & Sat, Jan. 19/20

Tommies vs Wildcats

Stats:

15.9 β€“ PP% – 20.5
77.9 – PK% – 73.9
50.9 – FO% – 51.7
1.100 – GF/GA – 0.761
.910 – SV% – .885

Vibes: Somebody corrects me and shame me publicly if I’m wrong, but I believe the Tommies have a chance to complete their first four-game season sweep of a conference opponent this weekend. Doing that against NMU would be even more impressive given that the Wildcats were largely expected to be among the highest CCHA members in the College Hockey Rankings this year. The Tommies have struggled to take advantage of opportunities like this in the past, but with everything at stake this season, it seems like more people are pushing for them than not.

If you’re not aware, St Thomas is not eligible for postseason play yet. They had a 5-year ban (phrasing?) put on them when they made the direct jump from DIII to DI and have not escaped that sentence yet. If they were to win the Macnaughton Cup AND the CCHA tournament at the end of the year, it would put A LOT of heat and attention on that decision. Would the NCAA take another look at the appeal St Thomas submitted? Probably not, but it could open the door for other schools that choose to be that bold in the future.

Prediction: Tommies split a fast-paced and high-scoring (for the CCHA) series.

Minnesota State, Mankato vs Bowling Green – Fri & Sat, Jan. 19/20

Mavericks vs Falcons

Stats:

20.5 β€“ PP% – 15.4
79.7 – PK% – 82.1
50.5 – FO% – 54.0
1.232 – GF/GA – 0.729
.912 – SV% – .901

Vibes: The Mavericks may not be on top of the CCHA standings, but they are the highest of any CCHA team in the Pairwise rankings. Sitting at 28 isn’t exactly something to brag about, but it’s respectable at least! Bowling Green, on the other hand, currently sits at 61. For those of you who don’t know, there are 64 Division 1 teams in the nation. The only teams lower than them are Stonehill (0-20-0) still looking for their first D1 win, Ferris State (6-16-1), and Robert Morris (6-15-3) who just re-joined College Hockey this season. The Falcons are down bad and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Prediction: Mavericks sweep lowly and embarrass BGSU.

Bemidji State vs Michigan Tech – Fri & Sat, Jan. 19/20

Beavers vs Huskies

Stats:

14.9 β€“ PP% – 22.2
74.0 – PK% – 77.0
45.8 – FO% – 50.0
0.765 – GF/GA – 0.896
.867 – SV% – .903

Vibes: Is Michigan Tech making a push? People are asking. Outside of their PK percentage, the stats would lead you to believe this is a decent team. Somehow they still find ways to lose games. Bemidji is the exact opposite. Nothing about their team scares you on paper…but they come to battle every single weekend. Tech is a tough place to play though.

Prediction: Beavs split a low-scoring series.

Other College Hockey Games to Watch

#14/15 Michigan @ #5/7 Michigan State – Fri & Sat, Jan. 19/20

Wolverines vs Spartans

Stats:

35.4 β€“ PP% – 28.1
74.7 – PK% – 83.3
55.1 – FO% – 48.9
1.569 – GF/GA – 1.508
.902 – SV% – .916

Vibes: Pardon my French, but where the fuck has this Michigan power play been hiding? Why hasn’t this been the main point of discussion for every college writer in the country? How can Michigan win 55% of their faceoffs and score on the PP 35% of the time and STILL be 10-7-3? The math ain’t mathing. Sparty has the talent to beat Big Brother this weekend, it just seems like they’ll have to stay out of the box to do it.

Prediction: Before I saw the stats, I had written, “Sparty comes away with one regulation and one OT win.” After seeing the light, I’m calling for a full split.

#5/6 Denver @ #19 Nebraska, Omaha – Fri & Sat, Jan. 19/20

Pioneers vs Mavericks

Stats:

26.0 β€“ PP% – 13.1
80.5 – PK% – 79.7
51.4 – FO% – 54.2
1.727 – GF/GA – 1.000
.886 – SV% – .899

Vibes: Can Omaha stop the high-powered offense of Denver? That’s what the series is going to boil down to. Rizzo and Devine both don the Pioneer colors and sit at 1 and 2 (respectively) in the nation for points. Carter King, also from Denver is T6 and Zeev Buium is T12. Omaha’s leader in points comes in at T127. Simply put, the Mavericks cannot get into a boat race with Denver. They’ve got to win faceoffs and control the puck to come away with a win against the Pioneers. I have my doubts about whether they’re able to do that.

Prediction: Denver sweeps and starts to climb in the NCHC.

#2 Boston College vs Merrimack – Fri & Sat, Jan. 19/20

Eagles vs Warriors

Stats:

27.6 β€“ PP% – 19.4
91.7 – PK% – 85.3
47.9 – FO% – 46.8
1.705 – GF/GA – 1.155
.922 – SV% – .905

Vibes: Dominant from top to bottom. That can describe how the stats match up between these two as well as how I expect the series to go. The Eagles of Boston College are simply too talented and riding a wave of success that’s too high to stop right now. I don’t care that Providence found a way to do it last week.

Prediction: Boston College sweeps, CRUSHING Merrimack’s hopes & dreams.

Previous Rankings/Reviews

Week 14: College Hockey Rankings, Betting Lines, & Weekend Preview

Week 13: College Hockey Rankings, Betting Lines, & Weekend Preview

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