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Does Vegas Know Something about the Thrashers Others Don’t?

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Generally, I don’t consider myself a betting man, however, since there has recently been  "Season Previews" from most of the top sporting sites, I felt compelled to see what the betting community thinks of the Thrashers. Not every site has their odds up; however, I was able to find a handful that were, and showed our chances of winning the cup. 

 

 

Now, let me pause here and make it clear, I do not think the Thrashers are Stanley Cup contenders, but the odds do give an idea of who the gambling experts think improved and who did not.

 

 

 

 

Sportsbook Site

Thrashers

Bodog

100/1

Sports Interaction

80/1

Sportsbook

100/1

expekt

150/1

Pinnacle Sports

115/1

Vegas Insider

50/1

 

 

 

The following chart shows a few teams which either finished worse than the Thrashers, or had similar numbers. The big surprise is how well the Lightning are expected to have improved. I agree that they will be a much tougher opponent for Atlanta this season, but I also think Vegas got this one right. They are loaded with talented players, but lacked chemistry; aside from the Lecavalier/St. Louis magic of course. Hopefully Rick Tocchet can get them to score over a whole season. After that we have the Islanders, who did next to nothing this offseason, but signed 15 goaltenders for the indefinitely injured DiPietro, and were ranked higher than the Thrashers in a couple of books. Is Tavares going to help out that much in his first year? Lastly, the Maple Leafs. They’ve bolstered their defense, which was definitely needed, after letting in even more goals than the Thrashers (293 vs. 280), but are they much improved overall? We shall see.

 

 

 

 

Sportsbook Site

Maple Leafs

Lightning

Islanders

Bodog

70/1

70/1

150/1

Sports Interaction

28/1

60/1

150/1

Sportsbook

100/1

60/1

100/1

expekt

120/1

60/1

200/1

Pinnacle Sports

85/1

70/1

105/1

Vegas Insider

60/1

100/1

100/1

 

 

 

More after the break.

 

Seeing that, we can focus on the Vegas Insider’s odds. What are the chances they got this right? Probably fair. But, when you look at the overall standings based on the odds (here comes the disappointing part), the Thrashers are placed at 24th in the league. So Vegas basically placed Atlanta where everyone else has, although they have high odds (1 to 100) like most of the other sites. The others simply placed the Thrashers in the basement (usually 29th). That 50/1 looked so much better when it was isolated didn’t it? But why did Vegas Insider put us higher up? Has the team actually improved?

 

Nothing can be certain, but on paper, the Thrashers do look like they have improved. Gone are Havelid, Schneider, Exelby, Williams, and Christensen who seemed to anger many fans rather than keep them happy. 

 

My prediction? The Thrashers will be better. 

 

Will they only be remotely better as Vegas suggests? I repeat, they will be better. Take a look here at The Falconer’s post on improving the PK if you haven’t read it already. It gives a great detailed look on the Thrasher’s penalties taken and their goals allowed as a result of. If his estimates are correct, with a little more disciple and with the roster changes that occurred, you can shave off about 15 Goals Against over the course of the season. Doesn’t sound like much? Well, let’s look at the 6-8 positioned teams last offseason. 


 

 

GF

GA

Hurricanes

239

226

Rangers

210

218

Canadiens

249

247

Blues

233

233

Blue Jackets

226

230

Ducks

245

238

 

All these teams allowed less goals than the Thrashers, but none of them scored more than Atlanta’s 257 GF. What this chart shows is that even teams that were about even or negative in GF:GA ratio can still make the playoffs. So, if Atlanta gives up 265 goals (hopefully less, but bear with me here), and they score at approximately the same pace as last season, we can hope for:


Kovalchuk

50

Antropov

27

Little

30

Kozlov

26

White

18

Peverley

18

???/Kane

10

Reasoner

13

Armstrong

20

Boulton

3

Slater

6

Thorburn

6

 +40 goals from the defense comes to 268 goals.


268 GF:265 GA -- That makes the playoffs a possibility. 

 

Yes there’s speculation. Yes there’s hope. Vegas may not think so, but I would be willing to gamble on the Thrashers this season.