Blackhawks Clinch the Central, Favored at the Sportsbook

December 1, 2010 Sportsbook

Sportsbook odds favor the Chicago Blackhawks to win the Western Conference. The Blackhawks clinched the Central Division title on Saturday, their first division title in 17 years.

Chicago is the second choice overall in hockey odds at the sportsbook to win the Stanley Cup.

Sportsbook odds list Washington as the favorite at just under 3-1 to win the Stanley Cup followed closely by Chicago.  The Blackhawks last won a division title in 1992-93.  The Blackhawks got a 2-1 shootout win over New Jersey on Friday and then clinched the division over the weekend when Detroit lost to Nashville. “That’s a huge accomplishment as a team, especially in a division that Detroit has really owned over the past two decades,” winger Kris Versteeg said, “That’s what we strived for at the start of the season, is to try to finish at the top.” Chicago set a goal at the beginning of the season to win the division. “That was our first goal from the outset of the season,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said, “That was the one we wanted to attain and achieve.”

Chicago still has a shot at finishing first overall in the Western Conference. They are within range of San Jose and have a pretty safe lead on Vancouver for second place.  The Blackhawks are likely to face either Los Angeles or Nashville in the first round of the playoffs.  Chicago can definitely score goals and they are starting to prove they can stop other teams from scoring. Antti Niemi has looked very good in goal.  The power play still needs some work but they didn’t get any last Friday.  The game against New Jersey was the first one in nine years that did not have a penalty called in the game.

Chicago has simply been excellent vs. the odds at the sportsbook this season. They have been almost unbeatable at home and they are also very good on the road.  The stats tell the story as Chicago ranks in the Top 10 on offense and defense. When a team is that highly ranked on both ends they are going to win a lot of games. That has been the case witch Chicago this season and they get a lot of respect at the sportsbook.  The Blackhawks were almost a 2-1 favorite on Sunday against Calgary in a game that meant a lot to the Flames as they look to make the playoffs.