Gus Ruelas / associated press
Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009 | 2 a.m.
2009-10 NHL REGULAR-SEASON POINTS
- Teams must play 82 regular-season games for action. Las Vegas Hilton odds; subject to change
- Anaheim Ducks 96.5
- Atlanta Thrashers 80.5
- Boston Bruins 101.5
- Buffalo Sabres 91.5
- Calgary Flames 96.5
- Carolina Hurricanes 94.5
- Chicago Blackhawks 105.5
- Colorado Avalanche 72.5
- Columbus Blue Jackets 86.5
- Dallas Stars 89.5
- Detroit Red Wings 106.5
- Edmonton Oilers 89.5
- Florida Panthers 87.5
- Los Angeles Kings 86.5
- Minnesota Wild 88.5
- Montreal Canadiens 93.5
- Nashville Predators 84.5
- New Jersey Devils 96.5
- New York Islanders 70.5
- New York Rangers 91.5
- Ottawa Senators 83.5
- Philadelphia Flyers 102.5
- Phoenix Coyotes 72.5
- Pittsburgh Penguins 102.5
- San Jose Sharks 107.5
- St. Louis Blues 91.5
- Tampa Bay Lightning 85.5
- Toronto Maple Leafs 85.5
- Vancouver Canucks 96.5
- Washington Capitals 104.5
When Toronto acquired Phil Kessel, one of the NHL’s most promising young scorers, in a big trade with Boston last week, it was a signal that Maple Leafs management is serious about making a playoff run this season.
The Leafs, who gave up a series of draft picks in the long-rumored deal, were an also-ran in the league’s Eastern Conference a year ago, finishing 12th among 15 teams, with 81 points.
Yet when the Las Vegas Hilton sports book released its betting lines on 2009-10 NHL regular-season team points this week, the numbers indicated oddsmakers aren’t so bullish on the Leafs.
In a reflection of how challenging it can be to make significant improvements in a single year in professional sports, the over/under on Toronto opened at just 85.5 points — a step up, but a total that would likely leave the Leafs out of the playoffs again.
The San Jose Sharks, who compiled the most points in the 2008-09 regular season (117), top the board at the Hilton with an over/under of 107.5 points for 2009-10, followed by the Detroit Red Wings (106.5), Chicago Blackhawks (105.5) and Washington Capitals (104.5).
The Bruins, who led the Eastern Conference with 116 points, could be due for a drop-off. They opened at over/under 101.5 points.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, the defending Stanley Cup champs, opened at 102.5 — a figure that would place them among the league’s top playoff teams. They compiled 99 points last season.
NHL teams earn two points for a win, no points for a regulation loss, and one point for a loss in overtime or in a shootout.
Hockey bettors represent a loyal but small subset of Nevada sports gamblers. The Nevada Gaming Control Board tracks NHL betting in a category called “other” — encompassing all sports besides the big three of football, basketball and baseball.
Last year bettors in the state risked $131.5 million on those “other” sports including hockey, or about 5 percent of the $2.6 billion wagered in Nevada sports books.
The NHL’s regular season begins Oct. 1.
No. 1 heavyweight contender Chris Arreola has a tall order against WBC champion Vitali Klitschko in their title fight Saturday at Staples Center in Los Angeles, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers.
Klitschko (37-2, 36 knockouts) is a minus 800 betting favorite (risk $8 to net $1) at the Las Vegas Hilton sports book, with Arreola listed at plus 600 (risk $1 to net $6). The round proposition suggests an early stoppage in the clash between two heavy hitters. It’s over/under 7 1/2 rounds at the Hilton, with a premium of minus 240 on the under and plus 200 on the over.
Arreola (27-0, 24 KOs), of Riverside, Calif., by way of East Los Angeles, is aiming to become the first heavyweight world champion of Mexican descent.
Comments from great Mexican fighters in the buildup to the fight (HBO, Cox cable channel 200) have ranged from encouraging to coldly realistic to vaguely threatening:
Humberto “Chiquita” Gonzalez: “I find it very difficult for Chris to win this bout. However we should not forget he is an undefeated fighter, and he has a hard punch.”
Ruben Olivares: “Arreola must show he has the (guts), just like a real Mexican fighter does.”
Gabriel Ruelas: “This is a very important fight for the Mexican people because we have never had a heavyweight champion. This would put us further on the map and he knows that, so I think that motivation is going to help him push forward. I believe he’s got a great chance.”