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Market Insights: NHL contenders, pretenders emerge as trading deadline approaches

February 19, 2020 04:02 AM

The NHL Trade Deadline is just five days away (Feb. 24) but we're already starting to see a flurry of moves across the league. Most teams are sitting at the 60-games-played mark, meaning each team only has about 20-22 games left of its 82-game season. Now is the time for contenders to bolster their clubs while pretenders sell off assets for picks and prospects. 

Here are the latest moves to go down this week

  • Blues acquire D Martin Scandella from the Canadiens for 2nd and 4th round pick
  • Capitals acquire D Brenden Dillon from the Sharks for a 2nd and 3rd round pick
  • Canucks acquire F Tyler Toffoli from the Kings for F Tim Schaller, F Tyler Madden plus a 2nd and 4th round pick
  • Lightning acquire F Blake Coleman from the Devils for F Nolan Foote and a 1st round pick
  • Islanders acquire D Andy Green from the Devils for D David Quenneville and a 2nd round pick
  • Penguins acquire F Jason Zucker from the Wild for F Alex Galchenyuk, D Calen Addison and a 1st round pick

Here are the latest Stanley Cup odds at Circa Sports


Lightning + 550

Bruins + 700

Penguins + 850

Caps + 1050

Avalanche + 1200

Blues + 1300

Stars + 1300

Golden Knights + 1500

Leafs + 2000

Islanders + 2500

Blue Jackets + 2500

Hurricanes + 3000

Canucks + 3000

Predators + 3000

One team to keep an eye on: the Bruins. The Lightning, Penguins and Caps, Boston's top competition, have all made moves. The B's have not. Boston has an aging but still productive core and hopes to make another run at the Cup. One report has Boston as a frontrunner to acquire highly coveted Rangers forward Chris Kreider. 


Wednesday's action features a whopping 49 college basketball games along with 6 NHL games. For an updated breakdown of sharp action across the marketplace be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 3:30 p.m. ET.


Now let's analyze a handful of Wednesday games receiving smart money from professional bettors.


College basketball

7 p.m. ET: Michigan (16-9) at Rutgers (18-8)

The public is having a hard time deciding who to back in this Big Ten clash. Both teams have impressive won-loss records despite being unranked. Michigan is the bigger name school and has won three straight, most recently crushing Indiana 89-65 as 8.5-point favorites. Rutgers, however, is at home, has won two of three -- including a 72-57 win over Illinois in its last time out -- and now is laying close to a pick'em type spread. Flip a coin right? This line opened with Rutgers listed as a 1.5-point favorite. Tickets are even but juice movement looks as though liability exists on the Scarlet Knights. Big Ten home favorites are 61-16 (79%) straight up and 40-32 ATS (56%) on the season. This is also a revenge spot for Rutgers, which lost to Michigan 69-63 on Feb. 2. Pros wary of laying -1.5 might rather take Rutgers on the moneyline at closer to -125. Ken Pom has Rutgers winning by two 68-66.


9 p.m. ET: Villanova (19-6, ranked 12th) at DePaul (13-12)

This short spread looks way too good to be true for Villanova backers. The Wildcats have a far better record, an impressive ranking, have won two in a row and are 8-4 in Big East play. DePaul has completely fallen off the map. The Blue Demons started the year 12-1, but have gone just 1-11 (all in conference play) since. Depaul just got waxed by Creighton 93-64 as an 8 point dog. This line opened with Nova listed as a short 5-point road favorite. More than eight-out-of-10 bets are laying the wood with Nova, yet this line has remained frozen at 5. It's even seen juice movement toward DePaul (+ 5 at -115), signaling liability on the home dog. These teams met a month ago with Nova winning 79-75 but failing to cover as a 9.5-point favorite. Ken Pom has this as a two-point win for Nova 71-69.


More sharp action

North Dakota + 4.5 to + 4 vs South Dakota State

Air Force-Fresno State Under 145 to 143

Tulsa-Houston Over 128 to 130

SMU-Tulane Under 140 to 139

Miami FL + 4.5 to + 4 at Virginia Tech




8:30 p.m. ET: Boston Bruins (37-11-12) at Edmonton Oilers (32-21-6)

This non-conference showdown features two first-place teams hoping to make a deep Stanley Cup run. The Bruins sit atop the Atlantic Division and also own the best record in the NHL. The Oilers are tied for first with the Golden Knights in a loaded and competitive Pacific Division. Boston owns several key advantages in this matchup. The Bruins are + 53 in goals for vs goals against while the Oilers are just + 7. Boston is also in a revenge spot having lost to Edmonton 4-1 in early January. Most of all, the Oilers will be without their best player Connor McDavid who is out with a quad injury. This line opened with Boston listed as a -170 road favorite and we've seen the line climb closer to -180. Non-division road favorites are 103-72 (59%) this season. Road favorites who are well rested (between 3 or 4 days rest) are 61% this season.


10 p.m. ET: Florida Panthers (31-22-6) at Anaheim Ducks (24-28-7)

It may not be your marquee game of the night, but pro hockey bettors have targeted this late night matchup between warm climate clubs. Florida is pushing for a playoff spot and only finds themselves 4 points out of the final Wild Card. On the flip side, the Ducks have been out of it for months and could be looking at a fire sale leading up to Monday's NHL trade deadline. Florida is + 5 in goals for vs goals against and 15-10-4 on the road. Anaheim is a putrid -31 and just 12-11-3 on home ice. This line opened with the Panthers listed as a short -125 road favorite and early smart money have pushed the line up to -130. Non-division visiting favorites off of a win 57.8% since 2005 and 63.1% this season.

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