Hockey season is one day away. We’ve been previewing each division leading up to NHL opening night on Tuesday. Rather than skim through all eight teams per division in one article, we broke it up into each division’s contenders and pretenders. Last, but certainly not least, is the Metropolitan Division.
The Metropolitan Division has five teams that are favored to make the playoffs rather than miss them. And the sixth is +105. The “bottom half” of the division still has a few contenders.
After covering the top four on Sunday, finishing out our Metropolitan Division Preview with the bottom four: Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils, Columbus Blue Jackets.
Let’s get into our Metropolitan Division Preview and Betting Guide for the 2021-22 NHL Season!
Metropolitan Division Betting Preview & Predictions
Washington Capitals 2021-22 Preview
The Capitals have made the playoffs for the last seven seasons, including the last five Metropolitan Division titles. Yet, they have the fifth-highest point total in the Metro –– granted, it’s only by one point. Alex Ovechkin is one year older, but he’ll still put up goals. He has Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Tom Wilson, and John Carlson by his side. Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek are unproven in net, though.
Washington Capitals 2021-22 Odds
Points O/U: 95.5
Make Playoffs: -135 Yes / +115 No
Win Division: +600
Win Conference: +1500
To Win Stanley Cup: +3000
Washington Capitals Best Bets & Predictions
To Win Metropolitan Division +600
History is on our side. Last season, the Capitals finished second in the East division. This season, the Metropolitan Division is back intact. It’s a division that the Capitals won in the last five “full” seasons (from 2016 to 2020).
On top of that, the Capitals’ point total is just one lower than the Penguins and Hurricanes. Yet, their odds to win the division are +475 while the Capitals sit at +600. It gives you some extra value there.
To Make the Playoffs -135
This seems like a really short line for the Capitals. The Metropolitan is going to be a dog fight, but the Capitals know how to win in this division. There are likely going to be five teams making the playoffs. The Capitals will be one of them.
Philadelphia Flyers 2021-22 Preview
The Philadelphia Flyers are coming off an abysmal season. It was a season where everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Carter Hart perhaps felt that the most with a .877 SV% after a .915 SV% in 74 games across his first two seasons. There was disappointment up and down the roster.
That disappointment drove GM Chuck Fletcher to make some major offseason moves. Jakub Voracek, Shayne Gostisbehere, Nolan Patrick, and Philippe Myers were among the players sent in with Ryan Ellis, Cam Atkinson, and Rasmus Ristolainen highlighting the additions. It’s a shakeup for the team both on the ice and in the locker room.
Claude Giroux is in a contract year, but Sean Couturier signed an extension this offseason. Youngsters Travis Konecny and Travis Sanheim are looking to bounce back while Joel Farabee looks to build off a breakout sophomore campaign.
Philadelphia Flyers 2021-22 Odds
Points O/U: 92.5
Make Playoffs: +105 Yes / -125 No
Win Division: +900
Win Conference: +2000
To Win Stanley Cup: +4000
Philadelphia Flyers Best Bets & Predictions
To Make The Playoffs +105
The Flyers are rejuvenated after a busy offseason. Ellis and Ristolainen transform their defense. Atkinson is a better fit given his playstyle. Veteran additions Derick Brassard and Keith Yandle are already looking like sharp signings. But the main reason why I believe in the Flyers this season is Carter Hart.
As mentioned above, Hart was bad last season. Both those were just 27 games (25 starts) in a crazy COVID season with a compressed schedule. In a larger sample size of 74 games (70 starts) across his first two seasons, his numbers look significantly better. I am more inclined to believe that he’ll return to that type of play in a normal 82-game season.
To Win Metropolitan Division +900
The Flyers were one of the best teams in the league from November 2019 to March 2020. Then the pandemic hit. That’s four months of top-tier hockey after a month or so gelling together under Alain Vigneault.
As with the Capitals, I think there is value here. Sprinkle some on the +900 with the bulk of the bet on Flyers to make the playoffs.
New Jersey Devils 2021-22 Preview
After five teams that look poised to make the playoffs, there has to be a dropoff for the sixth, right? Well, not so much. The Devils’ point total line is set only two points lower than the Flyers’. It seems odd to me.
Mackenzie Blackwood is a rock in the net, but his status is up in the air due to the COVID vaccine. He’ll likely end up getting it –– which he’s leaning towards –– and being fine. It’s still worth noting, though. They also had a big free-agent signing of Dougie Hamilton, and a trade for Ryan Graves on the blue line. But they don’t have many proven stars after that. What they lack in proof they make up for in potential. Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, and Yegor Sharangovich are young and could break out at any time.
New Jersey Devils 2021-22 Odds
Points O/U: 90.5
Make Playoffs: +170 Yes / -200 No
Win Division: +1700
Win Conference: +2200
To Win Stanley Cup: +5000
New Jersey Devils Best Bets & Predictions
Under 90.5 Points / To Miss the Playoffs -200
This is one of my most confident bets in the division. The Devils may be good in a year or two, but they just don’t have it yet. Especially not in this division. They’ve missed the playoffs in eight of the last nine seasons (2018 lost in five to Tampa Bay), finishing seventh or eighth in sixth of those seasons (including three straight).
Hamilton is a great addition and the Devils have the young pieces in place. But they aren’t ready yet.
I’m willing to lay the -200 juice –– which I feel is still short ––, but the under 90.5 suffices if that’s more up your alley.
Columbus Blue Jackets 2021-22 Preview
Finally, a team that has no shot of making the playoffs. Sorry, Columbus.
The Blue Jackets have taken a step back each season after sweeping the Lightning in 2019. Tampa Bay took them out in 5 the next year, and they fell to the basement of the Central Division last season with 48 points in 56 games.
This offseason was one of clear change for Columbus. They traded Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones, two of their veteran leaders. They got back good pieces in Jakub Voracek and Adam Boqvist, among others. Also, Patrik Laine is entering his first full season with the club.
John Tortorella is no longer behind the bench with Brad Larsen taking over.
Columbus Blue Jackets 2021-22 Odds
Points O/U: 76.5
Make Playoffs: +1100 Yes / -2000 No
Win Division: +13000
Win Conference: +10000
To Win Stanley Cup: +20000
Columbus Blue Jackets Best Bets & Predictions
Under 76.5 Points
This is the only possible play here: the point total. I don’t see them hitting the over in a division where they’ll be the punching bag.
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