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NHL weekday betting guide: True moneylines for every game

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Barring an incredible hot streak and a collapse from the teams in front of them, the Ottawa Senators have likely excused themselves from Stanley Cup Playoffs contention. A win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night could resuscitate their chances, but in the three-point game era, it's very difficult to make up ground in the final weeks of the season.

Ottawa lost six of its last seven games, and its slide has come in conjunction with an injury to Cam Talbot, who missed 10 games when the season began (Ottawa went 4-6).

When the Senators (now 20-1 to make the playoffs) miss the postseason, will it simply be because their veteran 35-year-old stopgap starter wasn't available at the beginning and virtual end of their season?

Here's a look at the four goaltenders the Senators used more than once this season and how they've fared relative to the average goaltender, using goals saved above expectation.

Cam Talbot 5.04 0.17
Anton Forsberg 2.94 0.12
Mads Sogaard -3.48 -0.31
Kevin Mandolese 3.17 1.04

Per 60 minutes, Anton Forsberg has held up in deputizing for Talbot, while Mads Sogaard has been the weak link of the trio. In what is likely a good example of small-sample bias, Kevin Mandolese excelled in the three appearances he had this season.

While all this is cool for Senators fans, as bettors it's theoretically need-to-know information, especially with Forsberg out for the season and Sogaard the nominal starter until Talbot comes back. Here's the problem:

Cam Talbot 15-15
Anton Forsberg 11-13
Mads Sogaard 5-6
Kevin Mandolese 1-2

Despite the difference in the metric evaluation of each goaltender, the Senators have been virtually .500 when any of them have started. However, it's important to know what might happen with Sogaard now playing nightly. He went 4-1 in spot starts against five teams that aren't currently in the playoffs, but since getting the No. 1 workload, he's 1-5 - with four games coming against playoff teams.

On the surface, there isn't likely to be a valuable bet on Senators-Penguins on Monday night, as listed below. But if there's a hidden element that would hurt the Sens' rating based on inexperience in net, the Penguins might be the side to back.

The recipe

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

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. The moneyline could also move into a bet-friendly range at some point between market open and puck drop.

March 20 OTT@PIT +140/-140 OTT +166/PIT -134
FLA@DET -158/+158 FLA -151/DET +187
CHI@COL +220/-220 CHI +267/COL -210
SJS@EDM +221/-221 SJS +268/EDM -211
CGY@LAK +111/-111 CGY +131/LAK -107
March 21 MIN@NJD +187/-187 MIN +225/NJD -179
OTT@BOS +251/-251 OTT +309/BOS -239
CAR@NYR -124/+124 CAR -119/NYR +146
TBL@MTL -193/+193 TBL -184/MTL +232
NSH@BUF +149/-149 NSH +176/BUF -143
FLA@PHI -124/+124 FLA -119/PHI +146
CBJ@WSH +160/-160 CBJ +190/WSH -153
TOR@NYI -120/+120 TOR -115/NYI +141
ARI@WPG +176/-176 ARI +210/WPG -169
DET@STL +137/-137 DET +162/STL -132
SEA@DAL +139/-139 SEA +165/DAL -134
VGK@VAN -116/+116 VGK -111/VAN +136
CGY@ANA -151/+151 CGY -145/ANA +179
March 22 PIT@COL +116/-116 PIT +136/COL -111
ARI@EDM +300/-300 ARI +376/EDM -285
March 23 MIN@PHI -104/+104 MIN +107/PHI +115
TOR@FLA +120/-120 TOR +141/FLA -115
CHI@WSH +185/-185 CHI +222/WSH -177
NYR@CAR +172/-172 NYR +206/CAR -165
MTL@BOS +318/-318 MTL +401/BOS -301
TBL@OTT -129/+129 TBL -124/OTT +152
STL@DET +123/-123 STL +145/DET -118
SEA@NSH -120/+120 SEA -116/NSH +142
PIT@DAL +149/-149 PIT +176/DAL -143
VGK@CGY +123/-123 VGK +145/CGY -118
SJS@VAN +148/-148 SJS +175/VAN -142
WPG@ANA -146/+146 WPG -140/ANA +173

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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