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NHL weekly betting guide: Lightning linger with No. 1 goalie on the mend

Mike Carlson / National Hockey League / Getty

Last week, we looked at the high frequency of NHL coaching changes with the idea that it's not as desperate a move as it seems. The Oilers won their first two games at home following their move but lost their subsequent two road games.

One name that popped up was John Cooper, who's served as the Tampa Bay Lightning's bench boss since 2013 and is the NHL's longest-tenured head coach. Murmurs of Cooper being on the hot seat are either erroneous or foolish, but they come during his first campaign without an elite goaltender. Cooper oversaw the transition from Ben Bishop (2.20 GAA, .917 save percentage in three seasons) to future Hall of Famer Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Vasilevskiy's missed the start of the season after back surgery but is practicing again with the expectation that he'll be back before December. With his pending return, it's worth looking at the Lightning's goaltending as part of their 9-10 record on the moneyline.

Jonas Johansson 16 GP -0.94 .894
Matt Tomkins 3 GP -1.19 .889

Tampa's leaned on Jonas Johansson despite the fact that he and backup Matt Tomkins have virtually the same, very average, statistics.

Last season, Vasilevskiy - who doesn't turn 30 until next summer - started 60 games, posting 26.41 goals saved above expected (sixth in the NHL) and a 34-26 (56.7%) moneyline record. If he comes back fully healthy, it's worth boosting the Lightning's rating by 6%-10%, especially since a smaller workload for Johansson as the backup might improve his stats on a game-by-game basis.

The Lightning's push may have already started. They extended their winning streak to three games with a dramatic overtime win against the Bruins on Monday night, where they had a slight advantage in even-strength expected goals and high-danger chances.

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 between the market opening and puck drop.

Nov. 22 NJD@DET 50.8/49.2 NJD +107/DET +114
BOS@FLA 51.8/48.2 BOS +103/FLA +119
WPG@TBL 44.6/55.4 WPG +146/TBL -119
EDM@CAR 45.1/54.9 EDM +143/CAR -117
NYR@PIT 44.4/55.6 NYR +147/PIT -120
BUF@WSH 46.5/53.5 BUF +135/WSH -110
CHI@CBJ 44.2/55.8 CHI +149/CBJ -121
PHI@NYI 39.0/61.0 PHI +186/NYI -150
CGY@NSH 49.1/50.9 CGY +114/NSH +107
STL@ARI 49.0/51.0 STL +122/ARI +100
VGK@DAL 44.4/55.6 VGK +148/DAL -120
VAN@COL 37.7/62.3 VAN +197/COL -159
MTL@ANA 48.1/51.9 MTL +127/ANA -104
SJS@SEA 33.4/66.6 SJS +240/SEA -191
Nov. 24 NYR@PHI 54.1/45.9 NYR -113/PHI +139
DET@BOS 39.2/60.8 DET +184/BOS -149
TOR@CHI 62.2/37.8 TOR -158/CHI +196
CBJ@NJD 35.9/64.1 CBJ +214/NJD -171
EDM@WSH 56.0/44.0 EDM -122/WSH +150
NSH@STL 48.0/52.0 NSH +127/STL -104
LAK@ANA 61.7/38.3 LAK -154/ANA +191
MTL@SJS 49.1/50.9 MTL +122/SJS +100
PIT@BUF 51.7/48.3 PIT +103/BUF +118
NYI@OTT 46.6/53.4 NYI +135/OTT -110
WPG@FLA 48.0/52.0 WPG +127/FLA -104
TBL@CAR 40.0/60.0 TBL +178/CAR -144
COL@MIN 50.9/49.1 COL +107/MIN +115
CGY@DAL 41.0/59.0 CGY +170/DAL -138
VAN@SEA 44.2/55.8 VAN +148/SEA -121
Nov. 25 BOS@NYR 48.7/51.3 BOS +116/NYR +105
MTL@LAK 32.4/67.6 MTL +252/LAK -199
TOR@PIT 44.4/55.6 TOR +148/PIT -120
BUF@NJD 37.3/62.7 BUF +201/NJD -161
PHI@NYI 39.0/61.0 PHI +186/NYI -150
CGY@COL 40.3/59.7 CGY +175/COL -142
VAN@SJS 56.8/42.2 VAN -126/SJS +155
ARI@VGK 34.5/65.5 ARI +228/VGK -182
Nov. 26 MIN@DET 51.0/49.0 MIN +106/DET +115
STL@CHI 52.2/47.8 STL +101/CHI +121
CBJ@CAR 30.3/69.7 CBJ +280/CAR -219
WPG@NSH 47.9/52.1 WPG +120/NSH +101
ANA@EDM 28.3/71.7 ANA +312/EDM -242
Nov. 27 BOS@CBJ 53.2/46.8 BOS -109/CBJ +133
FLA@OTT 44.6/55.4 FLA +146/OTT -119
BUF@NYR 41.9/58.1 BUF +164/NYR -133
TBL@COL 40.4/59.6 TBL +175/COL -141
VGK@CGY 49.4/50.6 VGK +113/CGY +108
WSH@SJS 54.8/45.2 WSH -116/SJS +143

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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