Week 20: College Hockey Rankings, Betting Lines, & Weekend Preview

Gambling Gophers Hockey NCAA

At this point in the season, I don’t know what to say about the College Hockey Rankings that hasn’t already been said. There are teams who have been hot from the start like BC and BU. Others have completely turned their season around like Colorado College or Northeastern. Then, you’ve got programs like New Hampshire and Michigan who can’t seem to find their footing consistently. Getting hot is one thing, staying hot is a whole different story. It might be a little early to burn at 100%, but if you’re a team on the fringe, you can’t leave anything in the tank.

Updated Weekly Picks

After starting as the hottest College Hockey bettor in February, we took a tumble last week. It happens. You going to let a little bump in the road stop you? Me neither. We’re back in the lab and cooking with what we’ve got. At this point in the season, there are no easy wins. Not ones that are worth putting money on anyways. The books have more data and the promise of playoffs make teams unpredictable. Hockey is FUN again!

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

The College Hockey Rankings belong to Boston once again. With the unanimous one and two seeds in the country, anybody who’s arguing would be wrong. The only way Beantown could own it anymore is if Harvard could figure its program out and become ranked again. There’s always next year, I guess.

Outside of that, everybody wants to know who’s going to be represented most in the NCAA tournament. As of today, it’s still a two-horse race between Hockey East and the NCHC with each having four teams above the predicted cut-line. The Big10 currently has 3 no-brainers, but if Michigan can right the ship, they’ll control their own destiny. After that, the ECAC will have Quinnipiac and PROBABLY Cornell. Then…there’s the CCHA and Atlantic Hockey, who will be the 15 and 16 seeds in the national tournament. Only another week or two before we can start making real guesses at filling out the regional brackets!

Feb 19th 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

Minnesota, Duluth @ # North Dakota – Fri & Sat, Feb. 23/24

Bulldogs vs Fighting Hawks

Stats:

28.3 β€“ PP% – 25.5
84.2 – PK% – 80.0
43.4 – FO% – 51.9
0.925 – GF/GA – 1.383
.900 – SV% – .896

Vibes: If you were a simpleton who only looked at the national polls and pairwise rankings, this series wouldn’t be one you’d tune in to. Thankfully, most college hockey fans are smarter than that. These two have one of the biggest rivalries in the NCHC and it goes deeper than you’d think. A lot of players on both sides grew up with this rivalry from the WCHA. The coaches were both teammates for North Dakota growing up. Luke Bast transferred from UND to UMD in the off-season. There’s so much going into this series and it always delivers.

They may not be the national game of the week for CBS, but there WILL be additional eyes on the series this weekend, adding to the anticipation. Mike Grinnell is FINALLY taking the Spittin Chiclets College Spotlight out of the Northeast and will be at the Ralph. Of course, that has something to do with releasing some co-branded NoDak merch with UNRL, but extra eyes are imminent. You know the Dogs want payback for earlier this season so the boys are going to put on a show.

Prediction: NoDak takes 5 of 6 Points.

Bemidji State vs St Thomas – Fri & Sat, Feb. 23/24

Beavers vs Tommies

Stats:

14.9 β€“ PP% – 16.4
74.7 – PK% – 77.2
45.8 – FO% – 50.1
0.878 – GF/GA – 1.012
.880 – SV% – .907

Vibes: This is the most impactful series of the year for both programs. Neither one of them is going to get an at-large bid to the tournament. Hell, St Thomas isn’t even eligible. Cracking the top 20 is also out of the question for them. They ARE, however, fighting for the rights to the MacNaughton Cup. It would be the first time that anyone BUT Minnesota State won it in seven years. You’re lying to yourself if you don’t think that means something. The biggest factor in this series is Bemidji finally getting healthy while St Thomas is still losing players left and right. Can the Beavs take advantage of that, sweep St Thomas, and extend their lead in the CCHA?

Prediction: The Beavs take 4 of 6 points.

Lake Superior State @ Minnesota State, Mankato – Fri & Sat, Feb. 23/24

Lakers vs Mavericks

Stats:

22.8 β€“ PP% – 19.1
86.4 – PK% – 81.0
46.5 – FO% – 50.5
0.989 – GF/GA – 1.240
.903 – SV% – .910

Vibes: Lake State is one of those programs you feel bad for at the end of every season. There’s no chaotic event to blame their losses on and there are not enough wins to brag about. The Lakers are a small market school that will never get big names unless they’re from in-state. Luckily, Michigan is one of the largest producers of College Hockey Players in the country. Unfortunately, the hope of success in the future isn’t going to help them this year. At least their jerseys are cool.

Minnesota State is one of the schools who DOES have an excuse to fall back on this season. In fact, they might have THE BEST excuse with their coach and a healthy dose of their top players skipping town. With Bemidji and St Thomas playing each other this weekend, the Mavs have a golden opportunity in front of them. If they sweep the weekend, Bemidji has to come away with at least 4 points. If they don’t the Mavs take over first place in the CCHA.

Prediction: Mavs Sweep.

#12/13 Western Michigan @ #15 St Cloud State – Thurs & Fri, Feb. 23/24

Broncos vs Huskies

Stats:

23.3 β€“ PP% – 22.2
83.8 – PK% – 79.2
54.0 – FO% – 50.1
1.672 – GF/GA – 1.219
.912 – SV% – .904

Vibes: St Cloud State started the season pretty poorly, then rebounded with some big wins before the Holiday break. Since then, the Huskies have slipped again by only collecting 2 regulation wins in the 2024 Calendar year. Those two wins came against last place (in the NCHC) Miami. Luke Grainger, Dylan Wendt, and Sam Colangelo are formidable weapons for Western and have led the way when the Broncos win. Unfortunately, these three combined for just one point over two games the last time these teams met. Can SCSU find a way to corral them again?

Prediction: Sssssppppplllliiiiitttttt.

Other College Hockey Games to Watch

#10 Colorado College @ #19 Nebraska, Omaha – Fri & Sun, Feb. 23/24

Tigers vs Mavericks

Stats:

14.2 – PP% – 15.9
79.8 – PK% – 78.9
55.1 – FO% – 54.7
1.282 – GF/GA – 0.943
.915 – SV% – .
896

Vibes: Colorado College has only lost one game in regulation since December 2nd. ONE GAME! They are, without a shadow of a doubt, the hottest program in the nation. They’ve gone from fighting for a possible home-ice spot in the NCHC playoffs to competing for the Penrose Cup in just a few weeks. I’ll be the first to say that Omaha doesn’t get the respect they deserve with their resume this year. With that off my chest, their hands are going to be full this weekend. Kaidan Mbereko doesn’t have the flashiest goalie stats in the nation, but he absolutely wins games and deserves a closer look for the Mike Richter Award.

Prediction: Colorado College comes back to earth with a series split against Omaha.

Northeastern @ #9 Maine – Fri & Sat, Feb. 23/24

Huskies vs Black Bears

Stats:

23.7 – PP% – 19.8
82.9 – PK% – 80.9
55.5 – FO% – 52.5
1.165 – GF/GA – 1.311
.911 – SV% – 
.897

Vibes: If the Huskies sweep this weekend series, these two teams could easily pass one another in the College Hockey Rankings like ships in the night. Northeastern has won seven of their last eight games while Maine has lost 4 of their last six. This includes a 3-6 loss to this same Northeastern team on Feb 2nd. One thing that Maine has going for them this weekend is the Alfond Sports Arena. The Black Bears only have ONE home loss this season and they play like a different team in front of the home crowd.

Prediction: Northeastern wins Friday, but Maine bounces back with a HUGE win Saturday.

#20 Notre Dame vs #16/17 Michigan – Fri & Sat, Feb. 23/24

Black Bears vs Wildcats

Stats:

18.3 β€“ PP% – 34.2
84.1 – PK% – 79.6
54.6 – FO% – 53.2
1.120 – GF/GA – 1.440
.924 – SV% – .902

Vibes: Thinking about the NCAA playoffs without Michigan is a wild concept. Well, it WAS a wild concept before this season. The Wolverines have maintained high-caliber talent on the offensive side and boast the nation’s #1 power-play unit. Where they’ve struggled is on the defensive side of the puck with average goaltending and a sub-80 percent penalty kill, and that’s where Notre Dame shines. The Fighting Irish are #14 playing a man down and have Ryan Bischel. The Mike Richter finalist is allowing 2.43 GAA, but currently holds a .929 save percentage which is good enough for second in the nation. That tells me he’s been stealing games when he’s hot. The question is, will he be hot or not this weekend.

Prediction: Michigan wins big on Friday, but falls by one on Saturday.

#18 Arizona State @ Alaska (Fairbanks) – Fri & Sat, Feb. 23/24

Sun Devils vs Nanooks

Stats:

27.2 β€“ PP% – 19.5
82.4 – PK% – 78.1
51.3 – FO% – 53.4
1.403 – GF/GA – 1.130
.915 – SV% – .891

Vibes: With only six losses on their record all season, some Arizona State fans are furious with their team’s ranking. I want to be mad, but a lot of these people are new to the sport and don’t understand why strength of schedule matters and how it factors into the Pairwise math. Because of those factors, ASU is currently at 17 in the pairwise, well below the projected cut-line.

The Sun Devils are running out of time to climb in the College Hockey Rankings and there’s nobody on the planet that knows that better than Alaska…their opponent this weekend. Alaska ended their season at 12th in the pairwise last year and without a postseason tournament to play in, ended up falling outside of the cut-line for the national tournament. While it was an unusual circumstance, Arizona State could see the same fate if they don’t win out. There are only 6 games left on the schedule and the average pairwise rank of their opponent is below 40, so wins aren’t going to do a ton and any loss would be devastating. Time to nut up or shut up in the desert.

Prediction: Sun Devils sweep.

Previous Rankings/Reviews

Week 19: College Hockey Rankings, Betting Lines, & Weekend Preview

Week 18: College Hockey Rankings, Betting Lines, & Weekend Preview