NHL betting: Using the break to recalibrate
That escalated quickly. With the NHL on pause over the holidays, we have an opportunity to catch our breath and evaluate where teams stand through the first third of the season.
I've rated each team based on analytics I value, which are heavily weighted toward even-strength play and therefore don't account for factors like injuries or illnesses. I then use the ratings to create my weekly projected moneylines, as explained here.
The following ratings measure a team's strength relative to average, which holds a rating of 1.00. The greater the number, the stronger the team.
The Panthers have played the best hockey this season and can be considered 17% better than an average team, despite being three points behind the Hurricanes for first in the NHL standings. At 18-11 on the moneyline, Florida has played better than its betting record indicates.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Canadiens are the worst-rated team at 19% below league average. This isn't a shock if you've bet on the Habs, as they're 7-24 on the moneyline.
The Kings are the biggest surprise. With their 14-11-5 record, they're on pace to surpass their projected 84 points. If they keep performing - and win more in overtime - they can be even more profitable on the moneyline.
The Islanders are the biggest disappointments relative to the point total market. However, the Isles may have an excuse for their 8-18 moneyline record: They started the season with an extended road trip while awaiting a move to their new arena.
We can use these ratings, along with our preseason priors, to create a predictive model that'll help us make positive expected value bets for the remainder of the season.
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.