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NHL weekly betting guide: True moneylines for every game

Martin Rose / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The NHL season is only two games old - courtesy of a European back-to-back between the Predators and Sharks - but we've had weeks to bet on all 32 teams. The world's sharpest hockey bettors' opinions have shaped betting futures, particularly the regular-season point total markets.

We can collate those opinions and turn them into ratings. The Avalanche were set at 111.5 points, and there wasn't enough disagreement in that projection to move them out of the top spot, let alone change that number. On the bottom end, the Coyotes' under was bet down to 65.5, as oddsmakers underestimated the markets' distaste for Arizona.

How can we translate point totals into a rating to help us create a moneyline projection?

First, divide the projected total points in the market by the combined average projected regular-season points of all 32 teams. That number should be around 91 points - last year's average - which makes sense given how many games go to overtime and provide three collective points in the standings.

For the Avalanche, that's 111.5 / 91.5 = 1.22

Colorado is 22% better than an average NHL team.

For the Coyotes, that's 65.5 / 91.5 = 0.716

Arizona is 28.4% worse than an average NHL team.

In literal terms, the Devils, lined at 91.5 points this season, embody the average NHL team.

How can we turn those numbers into a moneyline?

Using the neutral-site games between the Sharks and Predators as our example, Nashville's point total of 96.5 and San Jose's 74.5 point total suggest a 24% gap between the two teams. This means the Predators would be expected to win that game 62% of the time, and the Sharks 38% of the time.

We know from any moneyline calculator that the implied win probability of 62/38 translates to a fair moneyline price of -163/+163.

As we know, sportsbooks will add the vigorish to the equation. In Game 1, the Predators opened -177 and closed -197, while the Sharks opened +145 and closed +160. Nashville never reached the fair buy point of -163, and luckily, the Sharks never surpassed +163, which would've triggered a losing bet. For the remaining games of the season, home-ice advantage will have to be calculated for each game, along with instances in which a market-meaningful player isn't playing.

The recipe

The regular-season point totals are just a starting point, but for the first segment of the season, they're the best measurement we have - even better than a small sample size of play on the ice. Over the course of the season, we'll start adjusting team ratings using our on-ice metrics of choice to remove the cognitive bias of win-loss record. Since that can be skewed by various outliers like special teams results, poor goaltending performances, and other unreliable events like three-on-three overtime and the shootout.

The cheat sheet

The following includes my fair price on the games (true moneyline) and the moneyline price I'd need to bet either side. I only need a 1% edge for a favorite if we're getting better than a fair price on the team more likely to win. For the underdog, I'll need 4% or better to make it a bet. For games I project to be closer to a coin flip, a 2.5% edge is enough for a worthwhile wager. I also have a 5% win probability consideration for a team playing in the second game of a back-to-back with travel and a 3% consideration for a team on the second leg of a back-to-back without travel.

Oct. 11 TBL@NYR +105/-105 TBL +117/NYR +105
VGK@LAK +115/-115 VGK +135/LAK -111
Oct. 12 CBJ@CAR +191/-191 CBJ +229/CAR -183
TOR@MTL -179/+179 TOR -171/MTL +214
BOS@WSH +108/-108 BOS +119/WSH +102
CHI@COL +303/-303 CHI +380/COL -287
VAN@EDM +141/-141 VAN +167/EDM -136
SEA@ANA +114/-114 SEA +134/ANA -110
Oct. 13 ARI@PIT +248/-248 ARI +304/PIT -236
NJD@PHI -124/+124 NJD -119/PHI +146
OTT@BUF -101/+101 OTT +109/BUF +112
WSH@TOR +148/-148 WSH +176/TOR -142
FLA@NYI -115/+115 FLA -111/NYI +136
NYR@MIN +120/-120 NYR +141/MIN -115
DAL@NSH +118/-118 DAL +139/NSH -113
COL@CGY +122/-122 COL +143/CGY -117
CHI@VGK +275/-275 CHI +341/VGK -262
SEA@LAK +200/-200 SEA +241/LAK -191
Oct. 14 TBL@CBJ -140/+140 TBL -134/CBJ +165
MTL@DET +147/-147 MTL +174/DET -141
NYR@WPG +116/-116 NYR +136/WPG -111
CAR@SJS -148/+148 CAR -142/SJS +175
Oct. 15 FLA@BUF -156/+156 FLA -150/BUF +186
VAN@PHI -156/+156 VAN -150/PHI +186
TBL@PIT +112/-112 TBL +131/PIT -107
DET@NJD +169/-169 DET +201/NJD -162
MTL@WSH +232/-232 MTL +283/WSH -221
ARI@BOS +225/-225 ARI +274/BOS -215
OTT@TOR +178/-178 OTT +213/TOR -171
ANA@NYI +148/-148 ANA +175/NYI -142
CBJ@STL +167/-167 CBJ +199/STL -160
LAK@MIN +122/-122 LAK +144/MIN -117
NSH@DAL +112/-112 NSH +132/DAL -108
VGK@SEA -120/+120 VGK -115/SEA +141
CGY@EDM +113/-113 CGY +133/EDM -109
CHI@SJS +125/-125 CHI +147/SJS -120

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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