NHL weekly betting guide: True moneylines for every game

Justin K. Aller / National Hockey League / Getty

While "Don't overreact to the results of one week" is an axiom more frequently served up in the NFL, you can also apply it to the NHL.

Saturday's Maple Leafs-Penguins matchup proved to be a good example. The visiting Leafs were +115 on the moneyline despite having an average price of -115 before a 5-2 win in Pittsburgh on Nov. 15. (Toronto had also suffered a home loss to the Penguins on Nov. 11.) That's an implied win probability drop of 7% over 11 days despite the game being played in the same venue.

The Leafs did start Erik Kallgren instead of Matt Murray on Saturday, and they didn't have Morgan Rielly. But Rielly means roughly 3% to the Leafs' game-to-game win probability, and the difference between Kallgren and Murray is even less than that. So, how did we get to 7%?

The Penguins had won two of 11 contests amidst the first two meetings with the Leafs, but they'd won five straight from Nov. 17-25. They averaged an even-strength Expected Goal Share (XG%) of 56% over their opponents during that stretch. But that didn't bear fruit Saturday, as Pittsburgh had just 44.26% of the five-on-five XG% in a 4-1 loss.

Teams will always revert to their mean. Getting Toronto at better than +110 was a bet that had to be made in order to take advantage of the value created by the market's perception.

The recipe

We started the campaign using regular-season point totals as a baseline for rating teams since it's still our best measurement. Throughout the campaign, we'll adjust club ratings using on-ice metrics to remove the cognitive bias of win-loss records, which various outliers like special teams results, poor goaltending performances, and other unreliable events - such as three-on-three overtime and the shootout - can skew.

The cheat sheet

There are no bad bets at the right price, but how do we know what a good price is?

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. When it comes to injured players, I do my best to estimate the impact on their team's win probability.

When the betting markets open up the night before, you can compare those prices with our "price to bet" column to see if you're getting any value with either side's moneyline. There's also a possibility that a moneyline moves into a betable range at some point between market open and puck drop.

DATE GAME TRUE ML PRICE TO BET
Nov. 28 TOR@DET -130/+130 TOR -124/DET +153
VGK@CBJ -159/+159 VGK -153/CBJ +189
NJD@NYR +105/-105 NJD +116/NYR +106
TBL@BUF -139/+139 TBL -133/BUF +164
DAL@STL +113/-113 DAL +133/STL -108
FLA@EDM +115/-115 FLA +135/EDM -110
Nov. 29 TBL@BOS +143/-143 TBL +169/BOS -137
SJS@MTL +105/-105 SJS +116/MTL +105
CAR@PIT +107/-107 CAR +118/PIT +103
NYI@PHI -116/+116 NYI -111/PHI +136
COL@WPG -109/+109 COL -105/WPG +128
ANA@NSH +181/-181 ANA +217/NSH -174
FLA@CGY +125/-125 FLA +147/CGY -120
WSH@VAN +117/-117 WSH +138/VAN -113
SEA@LAK +139/-139 SEA +164/LAK -133
Nov. 30 NYR@OTT -109/+109 NYR +102/OTT +120
SJS@TOR +264/-264 SJS +326/TOR -251
BUF@DET +124/-124 BUF +146/DET -119
EDM@CHI -169/+169 EDM -162/CHI +201
Dec. 1 TBL@PHI -159/+159 TBL -153/PHI +189
COL@BUF -128/+128 COL -123/BUF +150
VGK@PIT +117/-117 VGK +138/PIT -112
NSH@NJD +146/-146 NSH +173/NJD -140
EDM@MIN +142/-142 EDM +168/MIN -136
CAR@STL -111/+111 CAR +100/STL +123
ANA@DAL +176/-176 ANA +211/DAL -169
MTL@CGY +224/-224 MTL +272/CGY -213
WSH@SEA +113/-113 WSH +133/SEA -109
FLA@VAN -124/+124 FLA -119/VAN +146
ARI@LAK +259/-259 ARI +320/LAK -247
Dec. 2 OTT@NYR +150/-150 OTT +178/NYR -144
NSH@NYI +129/-129 NSH +152/NYI -123
CBJ@WPG +174/-174 CBJ +207/WPG -166
Dec. 3 ANA@MIN +198/-198 ANA +238/MIN -189
VGK@DET -119/+119 VGK -115/DET +141
STL@PIT +140/-140 STL +165/PIT -134
TOR@TBL +119/-119 TOR +140/TBL -114
COL@BOS +127/-127 COL +150/BOS -122
SJS@OTT +146/-146 SJS +173/OTT -140
NJD@PHI -162/+162 NJD -155/PHI +193
MTL@EDM +212/-212 MTL +256/EDM -202
CHI@NYR +213/-213 CHI +257/NYR -203
FLA@SEA -129/+129 FLA -123/SEA +152
ARI@VAN +222/-222 ARI +270/VAN -212
WSH@CGY +149/-149 WSH +177/CGY -143
CAR@LAK -101/+101 CAR +110/LAK +111
Dec. 4 MIN@DAL +106/-106 MIN +117/DAL +105
ANA@WPG +196/-196 ANA +236/WPG -188
DET@CBJ +104/-104 DET +122/CBJ +100
SJS@BUF +154/-154 SJS +183/BUF -148
CHI@NYI +241/-241 CHI +295/NYI -230

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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NHL weekly betting guide: True moneylines for every game
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