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THN.com Blog: Spicing up the second half with a few prop bets

Roberto Luongo may return before the All-Star Game from a groin injury. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Roberto Luongo may return before the All-Star Game from a groin injury. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

While hockey will always be my soulmate, I must admit my mistress is the pigskin. And a big part of my not-so-secret affair with football, both U.S. college and NFL, comes from the gambling.

I’m not a high-roller by any means, but I’ll lay down enough dough to make it interesting. For some reason, however, betting on hockey just isn’t as titillating. Perhaps it’s the number of games, making each less important; maybe it’s because the spreads are always the same – plus or minus 1.5 goals with a price advantage; or possibly it’s because of the dearth of prop bets.

To correct for the latter, I drew up five proposition proposals earlier this week and asked THN editor/writer and fellow wagering enthusiast Ryan Kennedy to come up with the over/under line.

(For those who don’t know, the definition of a prop bet can be found HERE)

On to the bets…

THE PROP: Number of points Mats Sundin will finish with?
KENNEDY’S LINE: 40.5
MY BET: After being held off the scoresheet in his debut Wednesday, the big Swede has 40 games to break the 40-point barrier. It’s a good line, but I’m taking the under. Sundin, 37, is coming off an extra-long layoff and I’m betting it’ll take a couple of weeks to shake off the rust. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the groin problems that kept him out of lineup for the last eight contests of 2007-08 pop up again.

THE PROP: Number of wins for the San Jose Sharks?
KENNEDY’S LINE: 53.5
MY BET: The Sharks are currently on pace for 60 wins, but it’s hard to believe they’ll be able to keep that up. That said, 54 victories would only require them to win 25 of their last 43 games (56 percent), so I’m going over.

THE PROP: Number of games played by Marian Gaborik?
KENNEDY’S LINE: 6.5
MY BET: After returning from a back injury, the oft-injured Slovak played four games (scoring two goals and four points) before hip surgery put him on the shelf again, so this is basically a question of whether he’ll return at all this season. If the 10-week guideline for his return is accurate, that would still leave him around 12 games before the end of the season. Sorry, Wild fans, I’m still taking the under. If I’ve learned anything about Gabbo, who I took in the second round of THN’s fantasy pool, it’s to never bet on his health.

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THE PROP: Number of shutouts by Roberto Luongo?
KENNEDY’S LINE: 10.5
MY BET: Despite currently being on the IR, I’m taking the over. Luongo, who had five shutouts in 19 games before being sidelined with a groin injury Nov. 22, could be back before the All-Star Game. Even on the assumption he doesn’t return until after the Montreal festivities, it would still give him 34 games in which to pick up six clean sheets. I like those odds.

THE PROP: Combined fighting majors for Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Toews, Kyle Turris and Alexander Semin?
KENNEDY’S LINE: 6.5
MY BET: Each of the five currently has one fighting major, so will this group of pacifists pick up a pair before season’s end? This is a tough one, but I’ll take the over, if for no other reason than the Pens and Caps play three more times and a Sid-Semin tilt isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I like Florida minus-5.5 in Thursday’s BCS championship game.

Edward Fraser is the editor of thehockeynews.com. His blog normally appears Thursdays.

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