NHL weekly betting guide: True moneylines for every game
Two weeks ago, we broke down the betting market's perception gap between a starting goaltender with all the accolades like Andrei Vasilevskiy and his veteran backup, Brian Elliott. Even if early moneyline results don't necessarily reflect it, the Lightning have an obvious quality difference between their No. 1 and No. 2. Just because other teams also have a nominal "starter" and "backup," it doesn't mean there's an actual difference in quality.
It's not quite addition by subtraction, but the Devils are winning a ridiculous number of games this season despite their goaltending.
New Jersey started the season with Mackenzie Blackwood as their starter. We can presume they looked up and down their organization, saw all of their goaltending options in action, and chose Blackwood. He's 59th out of 70 qualifying NHL goaltenders in Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx).
Akira Schmid started the season with the AHL's Utica Comets, but through his first four games, he's averaging almost plus-1.0 GSAx. So how is the market affected when New Jersey has started Schmid - the Devils' fourth-most expensive netminder? The easy answer: it's not.
Here are the moneylines on open and close for each of Schmid's first four starts:
|DATE||OPP.||NJ ML (Open)||NJ ML (Close)|
|Nov. 10||vs. OTT||-175||-185|
|Nov. 12||vs. ARZ||-275||-305|
|Nov. 19||@ OTT||-145||-130|
|Nov. 25||@ BUF||-160||-170|
All four games saw negligible moves from open to close, and three of the four actually moved in the favor of the Devils. By the time Schmid got his fifth start on Saturday - an expected turn against the Flyers - the line barely moved from open until close.
Call these goalie uncertainties "controversies" if you want, but for bettors, this is a good thing. We don't need to care who starts in net since even the Devils' brass didn't seem to know who the best option is. So why should we have a set-in-stone opinion on who plays between the pipes?
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|
|Dec. 5||VGK@BOS||+151/-151||VGK +179/BOS -145|
|STL@NYR||+144/-144||STL +170/NYR -138|
|COL@PHI||-139/+139||COL -133/PHI +164|
|WSH@EDM||+137/-137||WSH +162/EDM -132|
|ARI@CGY||+307/-307||ARI +385/CGY -291|
|MTL@VAN||+166/-166||MTL +197/VAN -159|
|Dec. 6||CBJ@PIT||+228/-228||CBJ +278/PIT -218|
|CHI@NJD||+290/-290||CHI +362/NJD -275|
|LAK@OTT||-101/+101||LAK +109/OTT +112|
|DET@TB||+173/-173||DET +207/TB -166|
|STL@NYI||+143/-143||STL +169/NYI -137|
|FLA@WPG||-114/+114||FLA -110/WPG +134|
|TOR@DAL||+104/-104||TOR +115/DAL +106|
|CAR@ANA||-166/+166||CAR -159/ANA +198|
|MTL@SEA||+210/-210||MTL +254/SEA -201|
|Dec. 7||WSH@PHI||-119/+119||WSH -114/PHI +140|
|BUF@CBJ||-149/+149||BUF -143/CBJ +177|
|MIN@CGY||+126/-126||MIN +148/CGY -121|
|BOS@COL||-106/+106||BOS +105/COL +117|
|ARI@EDM||+263/-263||ARI +324/EDM -250|
|NYR@VGK||+108/-108||NYR +119/VGK +102|
|VAN@SJS||-101/+101||VAN +110/SJS +111|
|Dec. 8||LAK@TOR||+132/-132||LAK +156/TOR -127|
|NSH@TB||+141/-141||NSH +167/TB -135|
|DET@FLA||+173/-173||DET +207/FLA -166|
|WPG@STL||+119/-119||WPG +140/STL -115|
|OTT@DAL||+139/-139||OTT +165/DAL -134|
|Dec. 9||NYI@NJD||+169/-169||NYI +201/NJD -162|
|PIT@BUF||-111/+111||PIT -107/BUF +131|
|CGY@CBJ||-194/+194||CGY -185/CBJ +233|
|SEA@WSH||+121/-121||SEA +143/WSH -116|
|WPG@CHI||-110/+110||WPG +100/CHI +122|
|MIN@EDM||+112/-112||MIN +131/EDM -107|
|NYR@COL||+111/-111||NYR +131/COL -107|
|BOS@ARI||-231/+231||BOS -221/ARI +282|
|SJS@ANA||+103/-103||SJS +114/ANA +107|
|PHI@VGK||+207/-207||PHI +250/VGK -198|
|Dec. 10||OTT@NSH||+139/-139||OTT +164/NSH -133|
|DET@DAL||+144/-144||DET +170/DAL -138|
|FLA@TB||+117/-117||FLA +138/TB -113|
|BUF@PIT||+154/-154||BUF +183/PIT -148|
|CGY@TOR||+138/-138||CGY +163/TOR -133|
|LAK@MTL||-140/+140||LAK -134/MTL +165|
|CAR@NYI||-132/+132||CAR -127/NYI +156|
|MIN@VAN||+112/-112||MIN +131/VAN -107|
|Dec. 11||COL@STL||+101/-101||COL +112/STL +109|
|LAK@CBJ||-163/+163||LAK -156/CBJ +194|
|SEA@FLA||+132/-132||SEA +156/FLA -127|
|PHI@ARI||-110/+110||PHI +101/ARI +121|
|WSH@WPG||+116/-116||WSH +137/WPG -112|
|BOS@VGK||+100/+100||BOS +110/VGK +110|
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.