NHL weekly betting guide: True moneylines for every game
In point-spread betting, we pay -110 on either side. We're taught early in our betting careers that we need to hit 53% to be profitable at that price, which is 3% better than breaking even.
When betting moneylines, as we do in hockey, it's more difficult to establish how to be 3% better with prices on the move. Hitting 53% isn't going to do you any good if you play favorites of more than -110 on average. On the other hand, if your bets average out to a +150 moneyline price, hitting 43% would be more than enough to be profitable.
It didn't quite match the twists and turns of an Elmore Leonard crime novel, but we provided a three-chapter series before the season on how to use the regular-season point total market to create team ratings, how to interpret home-ice advantage, and then how to use those to create your own moneylines.
Less than two weeks of hockey have been played since then. I've taken the advanced stats I value most from those games, the market rating for regular-season win total markets, and last season's advanced stats to create a rating for each team. Also, if there's an injury to a key player that was previously unaccounted for, I'll make those adjustments.
With roughly six games played per team, here's how I'm weighing those three factors as of Oct. 25th:
We need a baseline for what these teams have done in the past, which is why 35% comes from last season. The Avalanche didn't just throw a bunch of guys together three weeks ago, meaning last season's body of work matters.
Many teams have changed since last year, and the perception of those changes is built into the rating taken from the regular-season point total markets before the year.
Since we don't want to overreact to a few games, this season's results carry the least weight right now. For example, we don't want to believe too much in the Sabres' early success or the poor starts by teams like the Islanders, Golden Knights, Canadiens, and Lightning. Each Monday, we'll tweak the weighting to gradually place more importance on what's happened this season.
The Cheat Sheet
The following is a lookahead to a week's worth of games. It includes my fair price on the games (true moneyline) and the moneyline price that I would need to bet on either side. I just need a 1% edge for a favorite if we're getting better than fair price on the team more likely to win. For the underdog, I'll need 4% or better to make it a bet.
|DATE||GAME||TRUE ML +/-||PRICE TO BET|
|OCT. 25||CGY@NYR||+114/-114||CGY +134/NYR -109|
|WSH@OTT||-120/+120||WSH -116/OTT +142|
|TOR@CAR||-107/+107||TOR +110/CAR +126|
|DAL@CBJ||-131/+131||DAL -126/CBJ +155|
|TB@BUF||-156/+156||TB -150/ BUF +185|
|AZ@FLA||+209/-209||AZ +253/FLA -200|
|LAK@STL||+136/-136||LAK +161/STL -131|
|OCT. 26||CGY@NJ||+116/-116||CGY +137/NJ -112|
|TB@PIT||-150/+150||TB -144/PIT +178|
|VGK@COL||+207/-207||VGK +250/COL -198|
|SJ@NSH||+122/-122||SJ +144/NSH -117|
|MIN@VAN||-123/+123||MIN -118/VAN +144|
|WPG@ANA||+107/-107||WPG +125/ANA +110|
|MTL@SEA||+111/-111||MTL +130/SEA -106|
|OCT. 27||BOS@FLA||+116/-116||FLA -112/BOS +137|
|DET@WSH||+154/-154||WSH -147/DET +182|
|TOR@CHI||-171/+171||TOR -164/CHI +204|
|VGK@DAL||+111/-111||VGK +130/DAL +106|
|PHI@EDM||+129/-129||PHI +152/EDM -124|
|OCT. 28||AZ@TB||+233/-233||AZ +284/TB -222|
|CGY@PIT||-119/+119||CGY -115/PIT +140|
|BOS@CAR||+106/-106||BOS +125/CAR +100|
|COL@STL||-137/+137||COL -131/STL +162|
|BUF@ANA||+126/-126||BUF +148/ANA -121|
|PHI@VAN||+107/-107||PHI +126/VAN +100|
|MIN@SEA||-111/+111||MIN -101/SEA +130|
|MTL@SJ||+100/+100||MTL +118/SJ +117|
|WPG@LAK||+144/-144||WPG +170/LAK -138|
|OCT. 29||CHI@CAR||+146/-146||CHI+173/CAR -140|
|CBJ@NYR||+161/-161||CBJ +192/NYR -155|
|AZ@WSH||+178/-178||WSH -170/AZ +212|
|FLA@DET||-134/+134||FLA -112/DET +137|
|ANA@VGK||+147/-147||ANA +174/VGK -141|
|OTT@DAL||+177/-177||OTT +212/DAL -170|
|OCT. 30||NYI@NSH||-115/+115||NYI -111/NSH +135|
|MTL@LAK||+104/-104||MTL +123/LAK +103|
|NJ@PIT||+138/-138||NJ +163/PIT -133|
|WPG@SJ||+100/+100||WPG -117/SJ -117|
|FLA@BOS||+116/-116||FLA +137/BOS -112|
|DET@TOR||+195/-195||DET +234/TOR -186|
|CHI@STL||+129/-129||CHI +152/STL -124|
|MIN@COL||+133/-133||MIN +157/COL -128|
|PHI@CGY||+120/-120||PHI +142/CGY -116|
|EDM@VAN||-113/+113||EDM -109/VAN +133|
|OCT. 31||AZ@CAR||+191/-191||AZ +230/CAR -183|
|MTL@ANA||-129/+129||MTL -124/ANA +152|
|BUF@LAK||+171/-171||BUF +204/LAK -164|
|CBJ@NJ||+146/-146||CBJ +173/NJ -140|
|NYR@SEA||+102/-102||NYR +120/SEA +110|
Things like new injuries or appearances by backup goaltenders can skew these games, which is why you have to apply your own discerning opinion on whether or not to make a bet. However, don't be shy to back a heavy underdog or lay a big price on a favorite if you find a price that's profitable long term.
With lines opening the night before, you may see no edge on either side. But lines often change enough to offer value by the time the puck drops 24 hours later. You might also see value with the opener, only to see it change with a big move before puck drop. You can then decide if you're happy with the closing line value from your first bet or - if you think it's an overreaction - whether to bet the other way.
I recommend grabbing value where you can the night before and then checking back for any overadjustments.
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.