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NHL betting: How to make your own moneylines

Mark Blinch / National Hockey League / Getty

While learning is a life-long exercise - especially when it comes to sports betting - this is the final class before the big test: The NHL regular season. We're going to take the team ratings from part one, add home-ice advantage from part two, and put it all together to create our own moneylines so we can have an idea of what value truly means when the real games start.

So grab a pen and paper or your favorite spreadsheet ...

Step one: Make your ratings

As you'll recall from part one, we used the team ratings derived from the campaign's point total markets. Any number you disagree with you can bet into, but instead of just making one bet and waiting months to get paid, you can put that opinion to work right away.

First, make your ratings, starting with point totals of your own.

Think the Maple Leafs' number is too high at 106.5? What should it be?

Is the Canadiens' number too low? Write down the number of points you think they'll finish with.

Do that for every team in the league, but make sure the total adds up to somewhere around 2,930 - the approximate number of points all the teams have earned this season, thanks to the three-point game.

Next, to get each club's rating, take your point total for each and divide it by the NHL's average number of points, which we know from part one is 91.5.

Here's how your work might look:

Avalanche 117 1.28
Lightning 108 1.18
Golden Knights 107 1.17
Bruins 106 1.16
Panthers 104 1.14
Hurricanes 104 1.14
Penguins 103 1.13
Oilers 102 1.12
Rangers 101 1.10
Islanders 99 1.08
Maple Leafs 99 1.08
Wild 97 1.06
Stars 96 1.05
Capitals 96 1.05
Blues 95 1.04
Jets 94 1.03
Flyers 94 1.03
Flames 93 1.02
Blackhawks 92 1.01
Devils 92 1.01
Canadiens 90 .98
Kraken 88 .96
Canucks 87 .95
Predators 85 .93
Kings 84 .92
Sharks 81 .89
Senators 77 .84
Red Wings 76 .83
Blue Jackets 72 .78
Ducks 70 .77
Sabres 64 .70
Coyotes 61 .67

Now that you have your team ratings, you can take the difference between two clubs to create win probabilities for any matchup on the schedule.

For example, Montreal's visit to Toronto on the campaign's second night:

Toronto (1.08) - Montreal (.98) = .10

Using our formula from part one:

(1.00 - .10) / 2 = .450

The Habs' neutral-ice win probability is 45%, while the Leafs' win probability is 55%.

Step two: Home-ice advantage

Now that you have neutral ice win probabilities, you can factor in home-ice advantage, as discussed in part two. To do that, you average a side's home/road win percentage difference with the league average home win probability of +3.5%, which allows for some regression to the mean.

In this case, Toronto has shown it is just 1.4% more likely to win at home than on the road, but since the NHL average is 3.5%, my expected home-ice advantage for the Leafs is 2.45%.

On the flip side, since I've done the same thing with Montreal, I know the squad's 2.75% less likely to win on the road.

Splitting the difference to find the home-ice advantage for this specific contest adds a 2.6% increase in win probability to Toronto's 55% neutral win probability when this matchup takes place at Scotiabank Arena.

 42.4% 57.6%

Now that we have win probabilities with home-ice accounted for, we can turn that into a true moneyline. Here's that formula from part one, using the Canadiens' 42.4% win probability:

(100/0.424) - 100 = 136

Our true moneyline is MTL +136 / TOR -136

Step 3: Where's the value?

Now we compare our true moneyline to what the betting market is offering. The odds for this matchup are MTL +165/TOR -185.

We'll take those moneylines from the sportsbook and turn them into win probabilities using the following formulas, which includes converting minus odds for a favorite into a positive for the sake of simple math:

Favorite Formula:

ML / (ML + 100) * 100 = Win Probability

185 / (185 + 100) * 100 = 64.9%

Underdog Formula:

100 / (ML + 100) = Win Probability

100 / (165 + 100) = 37.7%

Note: When adding those percentages together, the closer the result gets to 100%, the less hold the sportsbook is taking and the more advantageous that is for you. In the above example, the sportsbook takes a 2.6% hold, which is standard.

Enough value to make a bet?

Lastly, you need to determine what your threshold is for a bet. Let's compare the sportsbooks' win probabilities to ours:

Our True Win Prob. 42.35% 57.65%
Market Win Prob 37.7%  64.9%
Difference +4.65% -7.25%

Personally, with a sportsbooks' common hold of 2.6%, I need at least a 3% edge to make a bet based on my numbers. A +4.65% edge on the Habs under our hypothetical ratings is good enough for me to fire on the underdog.

So there it is. Now you're equipped with the tools to build your own moneylines using your own ratings. How you come up with those ratings is up to you. Once you do, you can compare the moneylines you create to the moneylines available to you by sportsbooks and test your knowledge against the oddsmakers.

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.

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