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Jets-Golden Knights series preview: Betting by the numbers

Darcy Finley / National Hockey League / Getty

For years, the Jets vexed handicappers. They'd fit the profile of a team getting regularly outplayed at even strength but survived by converting an unusual amount of the chances they got and relying on their goaltender to outperform the opponent in the other crease.

This season - their first under Rick Bowness - they didn't have the win total they managed in recent years but played much better overall. In fact, the wild-card Jets rate awfully similar to their first-round opponent - the Golden Knights.

Series odds

Jets +125 +140 +1.5 (-145)
Golden Knights -145 -175 -1.5 (+115)

From a win-loss perspective, the Golden Knights used a hot start and a big finish to take the Pacific Division, while the Jets held off the Flames and Predators for the final wild card. Despite a 1-8 conference seeding matchup, top-seeded Vegas is expected to win this series less than 60% of the time.


Using primarily even-strength metrics to evaluate a team's quality, we've established how a team rates relative to an average NHL team. We use these ratings to create an implied win probability split in each game which we then translate to a fair moneyline price for each before home-ice advantage is applied, and the sportsbook takes their vig on a bet. Here's how these teams rated for the season, and when isolating play after the All-Star break.

Jets +4% +2%
Golden Knights +11% +2%

The Golden Knights' second strong stretch of the season wasn't nearly as impressive from a play-driving perspective, as both Vegas and Winnipeg were merely slightly above average after the All-Star break.

Advanced metrics at even-strength

XG%= Expected goal share
HDC%= High-danger chance share
HDCV%= High-danger chance conversion rate
OPP. HDCV%= Opponents' high-danger chance conversion rate

Jets 51.0 52.4 11.2 12.0
Golden Knights 50.7 52.4 13.2 10.9

*Average NHL HDCV% = ~12.5%

You won't find a closer matchup at even strength from a chance-creation standpoint. The Golden Knights were better than the Jets at converting chances and keeping them out of the net despite Winnipeg having the former Vezina-winner still at the top of his game.

Goaltending matchup

Connor Hellebuyck 0.53
Laurent Brossoit 0.62

No, the above isn't the Jets' goaltending depth chart from 2018-21. Vegas played five different goaltenders this season, riding a hot Logan Thompson early but eventually letting Laurent Brossoit, the former backup of Connor Hellebuyck, grab the reins late after Thompson got hurt. While Brossoit's goals saved above expected (GSAx) reads better than Hellebuyck's, a small sample size of just 10 starts doesn't confirm anything other than Brossoit's right to getting the first crack in the crease against his former team.

Special teams

Jets 19.3 82.4 101.7
Golden Knights 20.3 77.4 97.7

Vegas mitigates its poor penalty kill by rarely having to kill a penalty. With an NHL-low 2.38 times shorthanded per game, is it doing something differently than the other 31 teams? Or is regression around the corner in the short sample of a playoff series?

Moneyline betting guide

If you followed our NHL betting guide where we projected moneylines for each game, allowing us to compare and contrast our price to bet with what's available on a daily basis, you may be interested in what prices would be considered valuable for each team when they're on the road, at home, and for the series as a whole.

Price to bet

Jets 47.1% +150 +110 +159
Golden Knights 52.9% -122 +111 -129

The Jets opened as high as +165 on the series but were immediately bet through our "price to bet" to as low as +140. This is a sign that the market understood that this series should be lined closer than at first look.

Best bet

I'd need the series price to return to +150 to fire on the Jets, but since the market is of the same opinion that we're in for a long series, we'll look for ways to bet that idea without having to give up much in the way of value or pay a lot of juice.

I have the fair price for Jets +1.5 games at 60%, which suggests appropriate odds of -150. That bet can be found for as low as -140. A +1.5 series bet wins no matter what happens in a potential Game 7, and I have the probability of a winner-take-all game happening at 31%. So while +223 would be fair price, anything at +200 or better would be good enough for me. That's because a potential Game 6 in Winnipeg would likely come with close to a coin-flip moneyline split, and we'd be content with needing either team to win to force a Game 7 since we'd be getting +200 on the team down 3-2.

As for the opener, we'll hope to get +133 on the Jets' moneyline before Tuesday night, and if not, we'll just let our series bets carry the weight of our interests in Game 1.

Game 1: Jets moneyline (+133 or better)
Series: Jets +1.5 (-145 or better)
Series: Over 6.5 total games (+215)

Matt Russell is the senior 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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