Skip to content

Wild-Blues series preview: Betting by the numbers

Scott Rovak / National Hockey League / Getty

These aren't your father's Minnesota Wild, nor are these your older brother's St. Louis Blues.

Both teams are known to be defense-first franchises. The Blues won the 2019 Stanley Cup by grinding teams into submission, a strategy that the Wild attempted for two decades to minimal postseason success.

This season, the Blues (3.77 goals/game) and Wild (3.72) are two of the NHL's five highest-scoring teams. Meanwhile, their respective goaltending situations have been murky at best. Jordan Binnington's -9.08 goals saved above expectation (GSAx) at even strength has left the door open for Ville Husso (+8.99) to get the nod in the Blues' net.

The Wild made a point to address their crease by trading for Marc-Andre Fleury. His numbers have been very similar to what they were in Chicago, except for a 9-2 record that comes from playing behind Minnesota's firepower.

The Blues have the better special teams, while only two teams won more home games than the Wild this season.

Series Odds

Wild -140 -150 MIN -1.5 (+140)
Blues +120 +130 STL +1.5 (-160)

Projected prices

Hopefully, you used our NHL betting guide to evaluate your bets during the regular season and what value truly means in hockey. For the playoffs, we're using even-strength-centric metrics like expected goals and high-danger chance rates, as well as high-danger conversion rates - both for and against - to try to predict who'll play better in the postseason.

Due to the special circumstances of the season, which included some tainted results from before the All-Star break when COVID-19 ravaged lineups, we're weighing the second half more than we normally would. Lastly, we'll make use of a formula to factor in home ice that includes each team's moneyline win percentage with the league average win probability differential.

True moneylines

The true moneyline takes the implied win probability for each team and converts it to an inverted price for each side before the sportsbook takes its vig on a bet.

The following is the expected price for each side when the games are played in Minnesota (Games 1, 2, 5, and 7), and St. Louis (Games 3, 4, and 6).

True ML in Minnesota -161 +161
True ML in St. Louis +122  -122
Series Price -149 +149

Price to bet

In the regular season, we needed at least a 4% edge on an underdog and a 1% edge for the favorite. Using that same threshold, here are the prices to bet for each scenario:

GAME 1/2/5/7 GAME 3/4/6 SERIES
Wild -154 +144 -143
Blues +191 -118 +177

We're looking to bet on Minnesota at its opening price of -140 in Game 1. As for the series, the -150 price on the Wild isn't quite low enough to take them to advance, but it's better than what we're being offered to take the Blues. Between two evenly matched teams, it looks like the sportsbook's vig is coming off of the underdog.

Derivative series market

The following is the probability for each of the eight possible series results, along with a fair price for an exact result bet.

Series result Probability / Converted Odds
Wild 4-0 7.7% / +1202
Wild 4-1 17.5% / +472
Wild 4-2 15.4% / +550
Wild 4-3 19.3% / +417
Blues 4-0 4.5% / +2144 
Blues 4-1 8.3% / +1107
Blues 4-2 15.3% / +552
Blues 4-3 12% / +731

Unsurprisingly, with such little value in the series market, there are no deals being handed out in betting the exact result, either.

Best bet

With two high-scoring teams, you're more likely to get a strange result for a game or series.

On a game-to-game basis, this series should provide numerous live-betting opportunities. A 1-0, or even a 2-0 (do I hear 3-0?), lead isn't all it's cracked up to be for a series that may go over the total more often than not.

A quick series would probably be considered a strange result as well, but if either team sees its goaltending fall through, that's what we may get. Under 5.5 total games can be found at +145.

Pick: Under 5.5 total series games (+145)

Game 1: Wild moneyline (-140)

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.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox