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Hockey Betting Odds Previewed

Oddsmakers are starting to get a handle on the teams who are for real and those that are pretenders in the early going of NHL betting.

There are 11 games on a busy Thursday night, and bettors will have a lot to chew on as they sift through some stingy hockey betting lines given to some evenly-matched teams.

Detroit will begin a four-game homestand against a Calgary squad that is steadily improving with each game. The Red Wings (-200) have some key players out due to injury - couple this with two losses at home last season to the +185  Flames, and you could have yourself a thrifty underdog bet.

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Washington is a -115 favorite as they seek revenge in the second game of a home-and-home with Boston. The Bruins skated to a 3-1 win on Tuesday at home. Tim Thomas owns the Capitals with an 11-4-2 record - including a 34-save performance in the last outing.  At +105 and a team looking like it's left the past behind, the Bruins could be a smart home dog.

If Dallas can figure out a way to kill penalties, they might have a chance against slightly-favored Florida. The Stars are +100 going into the game and they’ve allowed a league-high 10 power-play goals. However, Florida (-120) is a team they do well against.

Tomas Vokoun is attempting to set a team record with his third straight shutout, but is a lousy 6-17-1 against the Stars. Tough call to make, but it could be deja vu for Vokoun and the Panthers against a quietly-confident Dallas team.

New York has something to prove against the 4-0-1 Toronto Maple Leafs, who beat them 4-3 in OT at Madison Square Garden last time out. This time the Leafs are considered a legitimate favorite, getting the odds nod by most books at -145 on the NHL moneyline at Bovada. The Rangers (+125) have sniper Marian Gaborik on the shelf for quite some time and need someone to step up.

Over-under bettors can look here for a nice value as two of the last three games went OVER in Rangers games. The total for tonight’s game is set at 5.5.

San Jose will need to bond in a hurry as they travel to Colorado in hopes of ending a three-game losing skid. Books see the Sharks as -125 favorites in the game, while the Avalanche have won three of their last four. And at +105 it makes them a potential home dog winner as well.

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Other action Thursday includes Anaheim (+180) facing off on the road against the favorite Philadelphia (-200), while Montreal (-115) plays host to the struggling (+105) New Jersey Devils. The surprising underdog Islanders (+135) meet with the 4-1 Lightning (-155), who are undefeated in two games at home.

Pittsburgh takes on Nashville, while Minnesota goes to Edmonton for a date with the Oilers in a pair of games with even odds. Los Angeles (+105) will try and tame the (-115) favorite Phoenix Coyotes.