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Vegas sees rosy future for Pens

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Calling all degenerates, what are you taking on the current Vegas line?

Odds to win Stanley Cup: 7 to 1 (3rd best in league)

Thoughts:  Nice payout to add to your elation if the Pens win it all.  Injuries, luck, and ridiculous goalie performances could make you a loser in a heartbeat though.  A Stanley Cup's never ever a sure thing, but the Pens have a reasonable shot at this year if things fall they way most expect.

Odds to win Eastern Conference: 3 to 1 (tied with Washington for best)

Thoughts: Given recent history -- Pens 8 playoff series wins in past three years, Caps 1 playoff series win in 11 years -- you'd have to like that for the Pittsburgh line.  Then again, the 2010-11 season will not be played in the past.

Odds to win Atlantic: 8 to 11 (overwhelming favorite)

Thoughts:  Don't like this bet for the Pens, too heavy a favorite.  The team has only won the Atlantic once in recent memory and New Jersey and Philly will be strong contenders.  If I bet this, I like NJ's 2 to 1 payout, because they have a history of being the steadier regular season team.

Regular season points over/under: 104.5  (second best in East)

Thoughts:  Last three year's point totals: 101, 99, 102 would say take the under.  But the Pens should be better than last year's team -- health permitting.  Still getting 105 points would probably mean 50+ wins, which is a rare feat in today's NHL.  I'd say take the under, that way if you lose the bet you can still be happy knowing Pittsburgh has a high seed for the playoffs.

Hart Memorial:  Sidney Crosby 11 to 2 (second behind Ovechkin)

Thoughts:  I really like the payout here.  Crosby had the first long summer to rest/recuperate in a long time.  With Gonchar gone, he'll assume even more responsibility on the power-play, which means points.  Points mean Hart consideration.  Some might be worried Sid might not score 50 goals again, but he's always a threat to score 110+ points and if he leads the Pens to a strong regular season that may garner him the award.

Vezina:  Marc-Andre Fleury 10 to 1(tied for sixth)

Thoughts:  He's got a new look defense and looks really sharp in preseason.  Consistency has always been a problem though and Vezina winners always have gaudy GAA and save percentages.  Fleury isn't known for that, so unless you're really drinking the kool-aid, I would advise against putting money on him here.

Art Ross: Crosby 3 to 1 (Tied for tops with Ovechkin), Evgeni Malkin 8 to 1

Thoughts:  Like either Penguin.  Crosby gets the edge over AO because Sid's game can be more conducive to putting up points through his playmaking.  Malkin seems primed for a bounce-back year and has shown he can win the Art Ross even without the best of linemates.  Power play will be key: Crosby's Ross year he put up a sickening 61 points with the man advantage (compare to just 34 last season).  If Sid is running the Pens PP and racking up the assists, he seems like he could have an edge for the best bet.

Richard: Crosby 4 to 1 (Third in league), Malkin 10 to 1 (tied seventh)

Thoughts:  Last year Crosby put up a career high in shooting percentage and he shot the puck an awful lot (top 5 in league).  If he's switches to more of a playmaking gear, or some of the holes he found in goalies don't come back, it's easy to see him not winning the Richard this year.  I like the Malkin play better out of the two; he bombed 47 goals a few years back and he's been working the point on the power play so far.  If he stays there and unleashes some rockets, he could be a contender to win the Rocket.  (Ok, that was bad).

 

What's your take.  Any Penguins bets you'd bite on?  Any lines to high or low here?  And league-wide what's a sleeper that can make up for some of my bad predictions.