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NHL weekend betting guide: True moneylines for every game

Juan Ocampo / National Hockey League / Getty

In an edition of the weekday betting guide on March 6, we hypothesized that the Kings might be a buy for everything short of the Stanley Cup in what appears to be a wide-open Western Conference. Since then, in six contests, the Kings haven't lost in regulation amid a nine-game post-trade deadline stretch where they haven't surrendered more than two goals in regulation.

However, Los Angeles is having trouble catching Vegas in the Pacific Division as the Golden Knights started 8-2 in March before beating Calgary on Thursday night. The Kings are four points behind Vegas with one game in hand and 11 remaining in total. Let's take a look at how these two teams compare.

The following is each team's even-strength metrics since March 1, including expected goal share (XG%), high-danger chance share (%), and each team's high-danger conversion rate at five-on-five.

Kings 63.0% 63.6% 11.9%
Golden Knights 39.6% 41.5% 21.0%

The contrast is pretty stark. Two teams with the same 8-2 moneyline record in a concurrent 10-game span are playing drastically differently during even-strength play. Truthfully, the Golden Knights' 21% high-danger chance conversion rate made me laugh out loud. The league average for converting high-danger scoring chances this season is 11.7%.

Prior to March, those same Golden Knights converted these chances 10.9% of the time in a 60-game sample size. This could be explained by variance. (A snarkier term would be "fluke," but we're trying to be nice here.)

Both teams have more than a handful of games between now and their final showdown April 6, so we'll see whether regression strikes for both between now and then and how that will be reflected in the standings. That matchup might end up deciding who wins the Pacific Division and avoids Connor McDavid in the first round.

The recipe

We started the campaign 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. This late in the season, our priors have almost entirely been flushed out, and this season's metrics remain.

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 bet-friendly range at some point between market open and puck drop.

March 24 NJD@BUF -159/+159 NJD -153/BUF +189
NYI@CBJ -129/+129 NYI -124/CBJ +152
ARI@COL +197/-197 ARI +237/COL -189
March 25 DET@PHI +126/-126 DET +148/PHI -121
TBL@BOS +133/-133 TBL +157/BOS -128
SEA@NSH -124/+124 SEA -119/NSH +146
WPG@LAK +129/-129 WPG +152/LAK -124
SJS@CGY +140/-140 SJS +166/CGY -135
NYR@FLA +156/-156 NYR +185/FLA -149
CHI@MIN +197/-197 CHI +237/MIN -188
BUF@NYI +141/-141 BUF +167/NYI -136
OTT@NJD +202/-202 OTT +243/NJD -193
CBJ@MTL +137/-137 CBJ +162/MTL -132
TOR@CAR +130/-130 TOR +154/CAR -125
VAN@DAL +138/-138 VAN +163/DAL -133
WSH@PIT +118/-118 WSH +139/PIT -113
VGK@EDM +124/-124 VGK +146/EDM -119
STL@ANA -115/+115 STL -110/ANA +135
March 26 COL@ARI -140/+140 COL -135/ARI +166
BOS@CAR +115/-115 BOS +135/CAR -111
TOR@NSH -185/+185 TOR -177/NSH +222
VAN@CHI -125/+125 VAN -120/CHI +147
STL@LAK +174/-174 STL +208/LAK -167

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.

NHL weekend betting guide: True moneylines for every game
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