How to use NHL point totals to create power ratings
Every week before the NHL season begins, we'll be reviewing the fundamentals of NHL betting to equip you with the tools needed to ensure a profitable year.
One way to start your preparation is by using regular-season point total markets to understand who the oddsmakers think is good and by how much. We can then use these numbers to make ratings for the entire league and compare them to our own personal ratings to decide which moneylines offer value throughout the campaign.
The following chart lists the current point totals available on the market. The third column is each team's market rating based off that number. It's up to you to agree or disagree as you make your own ratings.
|Tampa Bay Lightning||108||1.176|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||106.5||1.160|
|Vegas Golden Knights||106.5||1.160|
|New York Islanders||100||1.089|
|New York Rangers||97.5||1.062|
|St. Louis Blues||92.5||1.007|
|New Jersey Devils||90.5||.985|
|Los Angeles Kings||83.5||.909|
|San Jose Sharks||83||.904|
|Detroit Red Wings||79.5||.886|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||76.5||.833|
Here's how the math works in calculating the ratings. Starting at the top, the Avalanche are projected by the market to finish with 111 points. That's 67.6% of the available points in a season. However, since the advent of the three-point game, an average of 2.23 points are awarded per game. Therefore, a league-average team isn't going to finish with 82 points (one point per game with a .500 record), but rather 91.68. The market has pegged the Blackhawks (91.5) to be the closest to that average, so they're projected to be the most average team.
The three-point game complicates things, as it's not as simple as using the percentage to create a moneyline. Because the league average is 91.68 points, we need to figure out how much better the Avs are - as a 111-point team - than the average team. Here's how:
111 (Avs' market point total) ÷ 91.68 (league average point total) = 1.209
The Avalanche's rating of 1.209 means they are 20.9% better than the league-average team and thus have a 60.45% (half of 1.209) chance of beating that team on neutral ice. That translates to a true moneyline price of about -150/+150. After a sportsbook applies its straddle for the vigorish, a moneyline might look something like COL -160/CHI +140.
As another example, let's consider the Avalanche against the projected worst team in the league, the Coyotes. Arizona's .735 rating means it starts the season 26.5% worse than a league-average team.
With Colorado rated at 1.209 and the Coyotes at .735, their separation of .474 means there's about a 74% chance the Avs beat the Coyotes on neutral ice. Here's how:
1.00 - .474 (rating difference between teams) ÷ 2 = .263 (Arizona's win probability)
With Arizona's win probability at 26.3%, Colorado's win probability is 73.7%.
This translates to a true moneyline of COL -280/AZ +280. After a sportsbook applies their straddle, the prices might look like: COL -310/AZ +250.
If it becomes clear the Coyotes are headed toward going under their point total, and/or the Avalanche are clearly better than a 111-point team, that's where larger moneylines exist during the season.
Except, wait, there's something missing! Since teams aren't in a bubble, like the summer of 2020, and not playing on neutral ice, we have to account for home-ice advantage. How do we do that? Well, that's for next week.
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on twitter @mrussauthentic.