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NHL weekly betting guide: Examining goalie situations for Preds, Rangers

John Russell / National Hockey League / Getty

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Juuse Saros isn't good anymore.

OK, that's an attention-grabbing statement made to accentuate a point: Bettors shouldn't rely on him for anything special. If you think we're picking on a frequent Vezina Trophy contender, the same could also be said about 2022 Vezina winner Igor Shesterkin. Looking at the stats, advanced and otherwise - both goaltenders have had disappointing seasons.

Juuse Saros .902 3.02 .11
Igor Shesterkin .901 2.85 .05

OK, so it's not that Saros and Shesterkin aren't good anymore. However, coming into the season, the expectation was that each goaltender mattered to the moneyline. When they didn't play, there would need to be an adjustment to the Predators' and Rangers' rating in the betting market.

However, with goals saved above expected (GSAx) numbers of a replacement-level NHL goaltender, neither has warranted that type of regard.

The Rangers' presumptive backup goaltender, Jonathan Quick, has found a second act for his career (0.65 GSAx/60). Not only is a Shesterkin start no longer an advantage, but New York has been better off with Quick.

The picture in Nashville's crease is less complicated, but that's a bad thing. Predators backup goalie Kevin Lankinen (and his -0.31 GSAx) is replacement-level at best. Unlike Quick, Lankinen hasn't skated through the opening Saros has provided for him to take over the No. 1 job.

With better-than-average goaltending for most of Quick's 20 games, the Rangers are in first place in the Atlantic Division and hold a rating in the betting market of 10% above an average team. Meanwhile, the Predators (with their average goaltending) rate as league average and sit just outside a wild-card spot.

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.

Feb. 20 NYI@PIT 40.8/59.2 NYI +172/PIT -139
OTT@FLA 33.5/66.5 OTT +238/FLA -189
DAL@NYR 45.5/54.5 DAL +141/NYR -115
NJD@WSH 60.8/39.2 NJD -149/WSH +184
MIN@WPG 48.2/51.8 MIN +110/WPG +103
VAN@COL 31.3/68.7 VAN +267/COL -210
NSH@VGK 43.4/56.6 NSH +154/VGK -125
Feb. 21 BUF@MTL 59.6/40.4 BUF -142/MTL +175
PHI@CHI 53.1/46.9 PHI -109/CHI +133
TOR@ARI 62.2/37.8 TOR -158/ARI +196
BOS@EDM 38.3/61.7 BOS +191/EDM -154
CBJ@ANA 46.4/53.6 CBJ +136/ANA -111
Feb. 22 NYR@NJD 46.9/53.1 NYR +133/NJD -109
DAL@OTT 60.1/39.9 DAL -144/OTT +178
MTL@PIT 23.6/76.4 MTL +411/PIT -307
FLA@CAR 42.3/57.7 FLA +161/CAR -131
COL@DET 60.7/39.3 COL -148/DET +183
WSH@TB 39.8/60.2 WSH +180/TB -145
NYI@STL 51.4/48.6 NYI +105/ST +117
BOS@CGY 43.5/56.5 BOS +153/CGY -125
VAN@SEA 43.7/56.3 VAN +152/SEA -124
TOR@VGK 48.8/51.2 TOR +116/VGK +105
NSH@LAK 35.7/64.3 NSH +216/LAK -173

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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