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

Gophers Hockey NCAA

The College Hockey Rankings system is often criticized. A lot of people hate that it’s all one big math problem now rather than taking into account what you see on the ice. For once in my life, I think I agree with the masses. Well, kind of.

With all of the turmoil surrounding the “chaos” scenarios in College Football, it is nice to be able to have a cut and dry reason to fall back on when you’re deciding who’s better. The downside is that if you’ve got a team who comes on late or dealt with injuries for a while or had any number of things happen in the middle, those couple of losses can tank any hopes at moving on to the postseason even if you become a juggernaut at the end. The best case scenario is a hybrid and that’s why we rely on the polls until the holidays and then stick to pairwise panic after that.

Updated Weekly Picks

This week, we’re winning more. No stupid +200 gimmick plays. We’re done picking overs because they’re fun. Oh, and we’re actually taking home-ice into consideration. For too long the record has suffered trying to make splash plays. New month, new me.

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:

No changes to the rankings in Minnesota from last week. The Gophers are still good. The Huskies are finding their footing more every week. UMD is still reeling and the CCHA is a crazy mess. Unfortunately, there’s more bad than there is good in the state right now, but hey…at least the Wild are good. (Note: This extremely funny quip was written before they disassembled the Preds on Thursday)

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

Big round of applause as we welcome BC back to the top of the rankings! That just goes to show how damaging one OT game against Bemidji can be. Yikes. Hockey East and the NCHC continue to show strongly at the top of the poll. Hell they make up more than half of the rankings at this point. Mix in the Big10 who has SIX of their seven total programs in the nations top 20 and there’s not much room for anyone else! The good conferences are good, the bad conferences are bad, and the world keeps spinning.

One item to note is that the computer-based rankings are creeping slowly towards being useable again. Their weight is still nerfed for the time being, but that’ll be bumped up by next week if I have anything to say about it. Spoiler alert, I do. I’m the only one who has say.

Nov 27th 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.

Minnesota College Hockey Games

#6/7 Minnesota @ #18 Penn State – Fri & Sat, Dec. 1/2

Gophers vs Nittany Lions


23.3 β€“ PP% – 26.3
80.5 – PK% – 79.1
50.7 – FO% – 49.2
1.270 – GF/GA – 1.326
.915 – SV% – .880

Vibes: Hold up a minute. Do you hear that? I think it’s 2009 knocking at the door. Wait, it is! They brought LMFAO and Lil Jon too!!

The Nittany Lions lead the nation in shots with a whopping SIX HUNDRED THIRTY ONE. That’s fifty two more than the next team and they’ve played one fewer game! I’m not a “math person” so I had to use a calculator to figure out that’s more than 42 shots a game. That is INSANITY. I don’t care if you play in the Big10 or if you scheduled the softest non-conference games in the country.

Prediction: Gophs Sweep, but it’s WAY closer than it should be both nights.

#20 Omaha @ Minnesota, Duluth – Fri & Sat, Dec. 1/2

Mavericks vs Bulldogs


13.8 β€“ PP% – 33.3
80.0 – PK% – 77.6
54.7– FO% – 49.0
1.143 – GF/GA – 0.822
.893 β€“ SV% – .895

Vibes: What do you get when two volleyball schools face off in hockey? I don’t know, but we’re about to find out! UMD is winless in their last eight, but coming off of a bye week. Sandelin’s record after a bye isn’t QUITE as impressive as Andy Reid’s, but it’s good. The Dogs’ backs are against the wall and they need wins badly. I don’t know how much Cesar Millan you’ve watched, but I know what happens when Dogs are backed into a corner. Keep in mind, they have the #1 powerplay in the country…they just need to take a few less penalties themselves.

Omaha, on the other hand, is that cute, nerdy girl in high school. They’re loved and adored by those close to them, but overlooked by everyone else. They’ve quietly assembled a respectable 8-3-1 record including six of their last eight, three in a row, and two against Western Michigan (14/15) and Denver (3).

Prediction: Dogs lose (again) Friday but bounce back in a BIG way Saturday.

St Thomas @ Ferris State – Fri & Sat, Dec. 1/2

Tommies vs Bulldogs


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 want proof that the CCHA is in the dumps this year? The Tommies are leading the conference with a 10% PP and 73% PK. That is insane. Normally you’d need a GENERATIONAL talent in net to even have a shot at that, but I can promise you that is not the case. Listen, I’m not a hater…the Tommies have been playing good hockey games. The stats just don’t reflect that. Ferris is who they’ve always been and always will be. They’re like Poison Oak. You know it exists and you’ve seen the dangers. Eventually it’ll get you, but don’t plan your trip around it.

Prediction: Tommies Sweep on the road.

Minnesota State @ Lake Superior State – Fri & Sat, Dec 1/2

Mavericks vs Lakers


15.9 β€“ PP% – 18.4
78.0 – PK% – 84.0
48.7 β€“ FO% – 45.2
1.083 – GF/GA – 1.067
.901 β€“ SV% – .902

Vibes: Remember a week ago when we could talk about Jared Westcott and how exciting it was that he was on top of the College Hockey Rankings for points? Remember a couple year ago when Dryden McKay was making highlight reel saves night after night for the Mavericks. Do you remember when the CCHA was fun to watch? Oh I ‘member.

If you’re one of the 44 Lake State fans that aren’t a member of a player’s family, you’re obligated to go to these games. It’s the first time in forever that you’ve got optimism going into the weekend against the Mavs! Take advantage of it while you can! What else are you going to to in northern Michigan after it’s cold but before the snow is here? (Go to Osmow’s Shawarma and The Breakfast Pig on the Canadian side)

Prediction: Split. This would be BLASPHEMOUS a season ago, but not this year.

Other College Hockey Games to Watch

#2 North Dakota vs #3 Denver – Fri & Sat, Dec 1/2

Fighting Hawks vs Pioneers


17.3 – PP% – 24.2
85.7 β€“ PK% – 83.3
55.1 β€“ FO% – 51.7
1.889 β€“ GF/GA – 2.081
.921 β€“ SV% – .889

Vibes: GOALS GOALS GOALS!!! Massimo Rizzo and Jack Devine lead the nation in points. Also of note, they both play for Denver. With nineteen goals and thirty assists between them through 14 games, it’s the most explosive duo in all of College Hockey.

North Dakota has weapons of their own like Jackson Blake, but that’s not necessarily their game. They dominate the faceoff battles and zone possession time and wait for you to make a mistake. How that hasn’t translated to more PP success is mind-boggling because it’s lethal when they’re skating 5-on-5.

Prediction: Split series. TOUGH to win two in Denver.

#12/13 Michigan @ #20 Notre Dame – Fri & Sat, Dec 1/2

Fighting Irish vs Wolverines


17.6 β€“ PP% – 32.4
87.5 – PK% – 73.4
53.3 β€“ FO% – 55.5
1.028 – GF/GA – 1.500
.924 – SV% – .906

Vibes: Ryan Bischel has officially beaten the curse. He’s gotten over the hump. The kid’s broken out of the slump. However you want to phrase it, the Irish goaltender is consistently playing up to the potential we saw in flashes last year. Having a .924 save percentage in a conference as good as the Big10 (albeit early in conference play) is a huge accomplishment.

Bischel was able to keep rolling after a bout with Minnesota, but now has to face Seamus Casey, TJ Hughes, and Rutger McGroarty. That’s not even all the firepower that the Wolverines have, but simply the ones at the forefront of my thoughts. Their ability to find their way onto highlight reels every single weekend is haunting. With the nations second most efficient PP, it’s easy to see why.

Prediction: Michigan sweeps.

#14/15 New Hampshire @ #11 Maine – Fri & Sat, Dec 1/2

Wildcats vs Black Bears


22.5 – PP% – 19.5
84.6 – PK% – 78.8
48.7 – FO% – 54.7
1.321 β€“ GF/GA – 1.231
.899 β€“ SV% – .891

Vibes: Frankly, I keep waiting for one of these Cinderella runs to end. To be clear, I’m not hoping for that by any means, but as a Minnesota fan, I’ve been conditioned to have fun things crumble in dramatic fashion. This border battle is one of the best in all of College Hockey and always hard-fought on both sides. I’m giving a slight edge to Maine, not only because I think they’re a better team, but because Alfond Arena is an incredible place to play and could be the biggest home-ice advantage in the country.

Prediction: Split series to keep the magic alive for both…because I’m an optimist.

Alaska (Fairbanks) @ Alaska (Anchorage) – Fri & Sat, Dec 1/2

Nanooks vs Seawolves


21.8 – PP% – 14.8
80.3 – PK% – 77.5
52.3 – FO% – 48.5
1.206 β€“ GF/GA – 0.700
.895 β€“ SV% – .907

Vibes: Based on how things went in this rivalry series last year, you’d think there was no reason to do a preview. Thankfully for all of us, this year is not last year! The Nanooks have played well, but have not found the extra gear that they ended last season with. The Seawolves, on the other hand, just upset the Wisconsin Badgers. Sure, they got waxed the next night and they’ve already lost to the Nanooks twice, but who cares! Proving you can play with a team like that makes you dangerous in every game for the rest of the season.

Prediction: Recent history be damned. Fairbanks sweeps. Again.

Previous Previews & Picks:

Don’t know whether you can trust the picks or input? 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 8: College Hockey Rankings, Betting Lines, & Preview

Week 7: College Hockey Rankings, Betting Lines, & Weekend Preview