It’s that time of year for hockey analysists to form their idea of what it will take for teams to make the playoffs, and what could lead to them missing. How many points will be the benchmark in each conference and how those numbers can be applied? It’s no easy task, but the rewards of doing so accurately can be greatly beneficial for hockey enthusiasts and sports bettors alike.
Take people who bet futures for example, it gives them an idea of each team’s chances to make the playoffs and in turn gives them a betting advantage when thinking about future playoff match-ups. Coming later in the month will be our final division winner projections.
Records from the Eastern Conference (as of March 6th):
(Please note that wins-losses-ties are the chosen format. Overtime and shootout losses are combined.)
Tampa Bay – 51-12-4 – 106 pts
Boston – 40-17-9 – 89 pts
Toronto – 41-21-4 – 86 pts
Washington – 39-21-7 – 85 pts
NY Islanders – 38-21-7 – 83 pts
Montreal – 36-24-7 – 79 pts
Carolina – 36-23-7 – 79 pts
Pittsburgh – 35-22-9 – 79 pts
Columbus – 37-26-3 – 77 pts
Philadelphia – 32-27-8 – 72 pts
These are the top ten teams in the Eastern Conference. Only eight of them can make the playoffs. Now if one looks at these teams, there are about 15-16 games left approximately in the regular season. The point total to make the playoffs in the East will be high. It could be anywhere from 96-98 points.
As the standings currently have it, the cutoff is at 79 points. Pittsburgh and Carolina have only played 66 games, and the chances they get to 95 points is high based on the fact they would only have to go .500 over the final 30 days. Last season, it took 97 points to make the second season as New Jersey was the eighth seed. Florida was eliminated on the last weekend despite winning seven of nine and the last five straight.
Right now, Columbus is on the outside looking in. Philadelphia is seven points out and looking like they may fall off the table despite a 13-5-2 stretch over their last 20 games. Buffalo and Florida have headed south into the elimination pool. One will see why below.
Again, if we use 97 points as the cutoff, the following teams are eliminated or about to be. Those teams include the following; Buffalo, Florida, NY Rangers, New Jersey, Detroit and Ottawa.
Buffalo and Florida, in theory, could still hit 100 points. Honestly, that almost has a zero percent chance of occurring. The New York Rangers would have to win every single game just to make it to 97 points. That also seems very unrealistic. The rest are eliminated though any team below .500 now would have virtually no chance of making the playoffs because so many teams must be hopped.
The possibility also remains that the 97 points mark could be too low. Although, the divisional matchups should keep most teams from going on long winning streaks, it is possible. Again, Florida comes to mind as they nearly pulled off a playoff berth last season.
Using moneypuck.com as a guide of sorts, their probabilities are easily explained. The idea is to set up those predictions on futures in order to make some money. For example, Tampa Bay is a lock from the East while Boston and Toronto are virtual locks (both around 99.5% chance of making the playoffs). Conversely, New Jersey, Detroit, and Ottawa have zero chance of entering the second season. That makes sense given our cutoff as well.
Now, it is time to look at what kind of record it would take to reach 97 points:
Tampa Bay – IN
Boston – 3-11-2
Toronto – 5-10-1
Washington – 5-7-2
NY Islanders – 6-8-2
Montreal – 8-5-2
Carolina – 8-6-2
Pittsburgh – 8-6-2
Columbus – 9-5-2
Philadelphia – 12-2-1
For Philadelphia, it appears like time is running out fast. That would leave nine teams for eight spots. Washington’s hot streak has vaulted them into the division lead and some needed breathing room. The streak is why the Capitals are +950 to come out of the East. That number was +1200-1300 a few weeks ago.
Updates will come with futures lines updates and in greater detail. It is well worth monitoring teams which get hot as they could be a tip to profit come April and beyond.
By Chris Wassel