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NHL weekly betting guide: Which teams are the market's biggest movers?

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty

About 30% of the season has taken place, which seems like a lot until you realize there are more than twice as many games left to go. A lot can change, and teams can float back to their mean.

We know that moneylines are a function of win probability, so let's take a look at who the betting market thinks has changed the most from preseason projections. Teams with a positive percentage are that much better than an average team, while teams with a minus are rated that much below average.

Movin' up

Rangers +11.6% +25% +13.4%
Bruins +9.4% +18% +8.6%
Canucks -2.6% +5% +7.6%
Flyers -17.4% -10% +7.4%
Panthers +7.8% +15% +7.2%
Hurricanes +17.6% +23.6% +6%
Red Wings -6.5% -1% +5.5%
Coyotes -16.3% -11% +5.3%

The Rangers and Bruins lead their respective divisions and are on pace for almost 130 points apiece, so it shouldn't be surprising that two teams projected to barely get to 100 points are more highly thought of now. The other two division leaders - Vegas and Colorado - were expected to be there, so their change is marginal.

The Canucks' move from below-average to above-average feels like a bigger deal, but from a betting perspective, it's no different from the Flyers and Coyotes moving closer to league average and the Panthers and Hurricanes moving further above that line.

Fallin' down

Sharks -27.2% -42% -14.8%
Blackhawks -22.3% -35% -12.7%
Sabres +1.2% -8% -9.2%
Wild +5.6% -3% -8.6%
Kraken +1.8% -6% -7.8%
Lightning +4.5% -3% -7.5%
Penguins +6.7% 0% -6.7%
Blues -7.5% -13% -5.5%
Maple Leafs +16.5% +11% -5.5%
Ducks -26.1% -31% -4.9%
Canadiens -21.2% -26% -4.8%
Stars +15.4% +11% -4.4%

It's not shocking that the market has soured on the Sharks, but you'll notice many of the lowest-ranking teams before the season have shown up here. Bettors don't like betting on bad teams, so their perception was naturally going to take a hit.

The Sabres were expected to contend for a playoff spot, but - when factoring in games played - they're essentially dead last in the Atlantic Division.

There are some big names on the list - Lightning, Penguins, and Maple Leafs - who are easy to stomach betting on going forward. You might wonder why the Oilers aren't on this list, but while they have lost bettors money, there's been a consistent belief that they'll turn around any day now, so there aren't any discounts on Connor McDavid's team.

The cheat sheet

The dirty little secret in the betting world is that, while there are no bad bets at the right price, the discovery process of what a good price looks like is hidden.

Each week, we balance market information from regular-season point totals and in-season advanced metrics - with an even-strength focus - to determine the win probability for each team and the moneyline needed to bet on either side. The idea is to remove the cognitive bias of win-loss records, which can be skewed by outliers like special-team results, poor goaltending performances, and other unreliable events.

You can use whatever parameters you like to decide how much of an edge you need to trigger a bet, but here are mine:

  • True line favorite of -111 or longer: 1%
  • True line between -110 and +110: 2.5%
  • True line underdog of +111 or longer: 4%

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 the second leg of a home back-to-back. When it comes to injured players, an estimation is made on the player's 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 a possibility that a moneyline moves into a bet-friendly range at some point between the market opening and puck drop.

Dec. 5 LAK@CBJ 58.2/41.8 LAK -134/CBJ +165
NYR@OTT 50.4/49.6 NYR +109/OTT +112
DET@BUF 43.6/56.4 DET +153/BUF -124
SJS@NYI 34.9/65.1 SJS +224/NYI -179
NSH@CHI 53.6/46.4 NSH -111/CHI +136
ANA@COL 30.0/70.0 ANA +284/COL -222
MIN@CGY 47.1/52.9 MIN +132/CGY -108
NJD@VAN 48.3/51.7 NJD +118/VAN +102
Dec. 6 DAL@FLA 49.1/50.9 DAL +115/FLA +106
PIT@TBL 47.5/52.5 PIT +130/TBL -106
VGS@STL 50.7/49.3 VGS +107/STL +114
CAR@EDM 47.2/52.8 CAR +131/EDM -107
Dec. 7 BUF@BOS 42.3/57.7 BUF +161/BOS -131
SJS@DET 37.4/62.6 SJS +200/DET -161
TOR@OTT 52.1/47.9 TOR +102/OTT +120
LAK@MTL 58.9/41.1 LAK -137/MTL -153
CBJ@NYI 38.6/61.4 CBJ +189/NYI -153
DAL@WSH 50.1/49.9 DAL +110/WSH +111
TBL@NSH 43.4/56.6 TBL +154/NSH -125
ANA@CHI 45.1/54.9 ANA +143/CHI -117
PHI@ARI 46.2/53.8 PHI +137/ARI -112
WPG@COL 40.0/60.0 WPG +178/COL -144
CAR@CGY 47.1/52.9 CAR +132/CGY -108
MIN@VAN 49.2/50.8 MIN +114/VAN +107
NJD@SEA 46.9/53.1 NJD +133/SEA -109
Dec. 8 PIT@FLA 45.6/54.4 PIT +141/FLA -115
STL@CBJ 55.1/44.9 STL -118/CBJ +144
MIN@EDM 37.2/62.8 MIN +201/EDM -162
Dec. 9 ARI@BOS 36.4/63.6 ARI +208/BOS -167
VGS@DAL 41.3/58.7 VGS +168/DAL -136
NJD@CGY 46.2/53.8 NJD +137/CGY -112
OTT@DET 48.1/51.9 OTT +119/DET +102
NYR@WSH 53.0/47.0 NYR -108/WSH +133
NSH@TOR 39.0/61.0 NSH +186/TOR -150
MTL@BUF 38.0/62.0 MTL +194/BUF -157
LAK@NYI 50.8/49.2 LAK +107/NYI +114
STL@CHI 46.6/53.4 STL +135/CHI -110
PHI@COL 34.2/65.8 PHI +231/COL -184
CAR@VAN 54.2/45.8 CAR -113/VAN +139
TBL@SEA 46.4/53.6 TBL +136/SEA -111
Dec. 10 FLA@CBJ 56.4/43.6 FLA -124/CBJ +153
NJD@EDM 36.3/63.7 NJD +209/EDM -168
NSH@MTL 52.7/47.3 NSH -107/MTL +131
WSH@CHI 49.9/50.1 WSH +111/CHI +110
LAK@NYR 46.8/53.2 LAK +133/NYR -109
WPG@ANA 55.9/44.1 WPG -122/ANA +150
MIN@SEA 47.7/52.3 MIN +121/SEA +101
SJS@VGS 38.5/61.5 SJS +189/VGS -153
Dec. 11 ARI@BUF 40.2/59.8 ARI +176/BUF -143
TOR@NYI 51.7/48.3 TOR +103/NYI +118
DET@DAL 37.5/62.5  DET +199/DAL -160
CGY@COL 41.2/58.8 CGY +169/COL -137

*Prices above are with Cale Makar and Mathew Barzal included for the Avalanche and Islanders, respectively. Both were listed as day-to-day at publish time.

Matt Russell is the lead betting analyst for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on social media @mrussauthentic.

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