As we head towards the end of the season, it feels like the sports books are finally beginning to figure out college hockey.

Let’s all understand: nationwide sports betting is still very new, particularly to companies like DraftKinds and FanDuel. Even experienced sportsbooks like Caesars, if they run college hockey odds, likely don’t have an in-house person who pays enough attention to be educated in the necessary lines that create a profit.

Early in the season, if one team was a +110 underdog, you’d likely see the opposition as a -120 favorite at best. This week the lines are becoming wider. Ohio State is +170 versus Michigan, which is a -250 favorite. Those eighty points of juice in between are the sportsbooks vigorous, or “vig,” that buffer that guarantees a shorter loss or a bigger gain, depending on the outcome.

Looking at this week, there are a few juicy road underdogs. Ohio State traveling to Michigan is +170 on Friday playing a Wolverines team that won’t have their players back from the Olympics. North Dakota is +135 at Minnesota Duluth, despite being two spots ahead of the Bulldogs in the NCHC standings.

It’s the time of year where profits are becoming more difficult but finding the rogue underdog can pay dividends.

Last week, a perfect 5-for-5 on the parlay was profitable with $100 playing $2,866.02. That’s the biggest profit paid since week seven when Notre Dame upset Minnesota to spur a major parlay.

Let’s see if this week delivers:

You can make your selections on the games listed below as well as others in USCHO Pick ‘Em. Go to social.uscho.com to join the fun!

As usual, a disclaimer:

Understand, this is for entertainment purposes only. USCHO.com is not a licensed gambling platform and no money may be wagered through this site or any subsidiary of USCHO.

All games are the first games when they occur in a two-game series, unless noted.

Enjoy and, if you bet, may you be successful.

(Games marked with an asterisks * have odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook)

No. 11 Ohio State (+170) at No. 2 Michigan (-250)*

If Ohio State has anything going for it, there is the hunger of getting swept last weekend combined with the fact that Michigan is highly unlikely to have any of its Olympians back in the lineup with lengthen travel back from Beijing.

Still, all of that considered, I’m surprised that the sportsbooks have placed Michigan as a -250 favorite. You’re begging bettors to stay away as the opposite line of +170 isn’t appealing enough.

This is a battle for first place in the Big Ten with Minnesota also lurking. You’d think this game would have better odds, and it may on Saturday pending Friday’s outcome. But this current line doesn’t offer a ton of value.

No. 19 Providence (+115) at No. 18 UMass Lowell (-145)*

On the opposite side, the Providence-UMass Lowell line may just have decent value. Providence, despite its struggles at times this year, is a decent team on the ice with plenty of talent.

Add in the fact that the Friars have swept the regular season series versus Lowell three of the last five season seasons, you almost feel like they have the River Hawks’ number.

Neither is coming win strong after Lowell dropped two to Northeastern and New Hampshire last weekend, while Providence lost at Boston University. Talk about a must-win for both squads.

No. 3 Denver (+110) at No. 6 Western Michigan (-140)*

Even with a loss last Saturday against Minnesota Duluth, Denver remains one of the nation’s hottest teams with just that single loss since December 11. But they’re going to face a Western Michigan squad on the road that will be hungry after a weekend where it took just two of six points against St. Cloud State (shootout win and loss).

Denver already has a sweep of Western Michigan under its belt this weekend, which makes the Pioneers a curious ‘dog, even on the road. But the road has been seemingly the only play Denver loses. Its loss last Saturday against Minnesota Duluth was its first at home all season.

No. 9 North Dakota (+135) at No. 7 Minnesota Duluth (-175)*

North Dakota sits in second place in the NCHC but trails Minnesota Duluth in the PairWise. That’s what makes this series so intriguing.

The Bulldogs, in pretty solid PairWise position, will be battling to make a move up in the NCHC standings (or minimally secure their home ice spot, currently sitting in fourth), while North Dakota, 11th in the current PairWise, doesn’t want to take many more losses and possibly drop to the PairWise bubble.

If you can find a way to bet a regulation tie, you’d probably be in a +ev situation given that these two teams played the third-longest game of all time last March, a 3-2 five OT win for UMD.

Bemidji State (+175) at No. 1 Minnesota State (-290)

Minnesota State is in a position to clinch the CCHA title with a win on Friday, but Bemidji State feels like a team that could be a pain in the derriere, postponing celebrations.

The Mavericks are – and should be – massive favorites in this series. But realize that about a year ago Bemidji State pulled of an upset, winning 4-3 on February 27, 2021.

Might this be another value play for a road underdog? Quite possibly.

Pick records to date:

Jim Connelly – 46-25 (3-2)
Matthew Semisch – 46-25 (5-0)
Ed Trefzger – 44-27 (2-3)
Chris Lerch – 44-27 (2-3)
Drew Claussen – 41-30 (2-3)
Dan Rubin – 41-30 (2-3)
Paula Weston – 39-32 (2-3)
John Doyle – 38-33 (1-4)
Jack Hittinger – 37-34 (2-3)
Nate Owen – 34-37 (2-3)

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