Welcome to the daily NHL betting market report, your source for comprehensive and dynamic hockey betting analysis. Follow me on Twitter to stay up to date as I handicap the NHL each day.
Market Report for Saturday, Oct. 29th
Recap: The closing line converter wasn’t working on Friday, as the Penguins lost despite closing strong in the market.
Wins: 16 Losses: 13 Units Won: 2.61 units ROI: 8.7 percent
I’m tracking all my plays on Betstamp: a third party bet tracking app. The bets reveal themselves after the games start. I keep my own personal records as well and they may differ slightly from Betstamp due to several factors, but for the most part, it should line up closely.
Today: Saturday is loaded with hockey games to bet on, and I’ve already found four bets that I believe are EV. I wanted to get to these immediately. The rest of the report was updated throughout the morning and, for the most part, is finished. Good luck with your bets whether your choose to tail or not.
All game lines via DraftKings Sportsbook and BetMGM Sportsbook, but I will sometimes use the consensus odds from the VSiN NHL Odds page if it is a better price and widely available. All recommended bets will be accompanied by recommended stake size. All stats via Evolving Hockey and Natural Stat Trick.
I’ll admit that Dallas appears to be a better team than I projected them to be, but I’m not ready to give up on the Rangers. Their underlying metrics are strong, despite the fact that they haven't been scoring. New York has scored two or fewer goals in five out of its last six games, but there's too much talent here for this to continue much longer. Only two teams have generated more expected goals on a per-60 minute basis than New York has so far this season. Dallas is a great defensive team, given that Jaroslav Halak started the last game, there’s a high probability that Igor Shesterkin will be in goal on Saturday. However, I think the most important piece of information that bettors need to know is: Will Miro Heiskanen return to the lineup? He’s the Stars’ best player, and even if you like the Rangers regardless, the market will likely move toward the home team if he plays. I’m only interested in betting on the Rangers given where the market is, and where it might go if Heiskanen is able to play, but I’m not going to decide until the team makes an announcement.
Florida is off to a rough start and haven’t looked as strong as the team that dominated the NHL last season. The Panthers have lost four out of their last six games, including two in a row. Ottawa won’t reach its full potential until goaltender Cam Talbot is starting games, but they’ve played well so far this season and they have enough offensive punch to hang with the Panthers on Saturday. Florida has stronger underlying metrics, but only three teams have scored more goals than the Senators so far this season. And, of course, the Panthers are still without their best defenseman, Aaron Ekblad. According to my model, the Panthers odds are inflated, and therefore, the Senators are a good bet at %plussign% 175. There is value betting Ottawa down to %plussign% 165, but it would be a smaller bet.
Bet: Ottawa Senators %plussign% 175 Stake: 1 unit to win 1.75 units
San Jose is still one of the worst teams in the league, but it does look like their starting to turn things around a bit. The Sharks scored two or fewer goals in their first five games, but in the five games since, they’ve scored three goals or more a total of three times. That’s an improvement. It makes sense that they’ve improved on offense given that they do have some star players (Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl and even Erik Karlsson) but they’re still going to struggle to score goals against teams that have good goaltending like the Tampa Bay Lightning do. Tampa Bay isn’t the team it once was, and it doesn’t help that Anthony Cirelli is still out of the lineup, but %plussign% 170 odds aren’t generous enough. The Sharks chances of winning the game are around 34 percent, which converts to fair odds of %plussign% 195.
Note: James Reimer will start in goal for San Jose.
If we we’re going to hand out the Vezina Trophy today, Carter Hart would win it going away. John Tortorella and the rest of the Flyers’ roster are the beneficiaries of his strong play. Philadelphia has been badly outplayed in most games, and that will likely be the case on Saturday. Carolina is playing tired, having lost to the Islanders (6-2) on Friday, but Antti Raanta is a decent backup goaltender and Carolina still grades out as one of the strongest teams in the league. The Hurricanes rank fourth in expected goals and first in shot attempt percentage. The Flyers rank fourth-worst in expected goals and last in shot attempts (all situations). Goaltenders are freaking voodoo, though, and I don’t want to be put in the poor house because Hart decided to sell his soul for a Vezina Trophy. I am a bit intrigued by the line movement, though, and I might consider betting on the road team if things the line continues to trend toward Philadelphia.
Note: Carter Hart will start for the Flyers.
If you were paying attention to the Sabres injuries (two of their top four defenseman) you could see a slowdown coming. Buffalo started hot, and there might be a good hockey team here, but it isn’t a deep one and they can’t afford injuries. Chicago, if nothing else, has been good defensively, and while the Sabres have plenty of exciting forwards, they haven’t played many teams that are committed to the defensive side of the game. Of course, Arvid Soderblom is starting in goal for the Blackhawks. Don’t feel bad if you don’t know who that is. He's only played three games in the NHL and has posted a .863 save percentage. As far as betting on the Blackhawks goes, the news that Soderblom was starting was (and still is) a deal breaker given the price I would be getting. I’m going to take a neutral stance and sit this game out.
Note: Craig Anderson will start in goal for the Sabres.
It would be an understatement to say that Montreal is a bad hockey team. They’re awful. But the Blues aren’t scaring anybody with a 40 percent expected goals share at even strength. Even Montreal has a better even strength scoring differential than St. Louis through the first few weeks of the season, and their underlying metrics (expected goals, etc.) are similar. The Blues shouldn’t be priced as high as they are. I ran my first big update on Friday, and my model isn’t high on the Blues. I have such a big edge on the Canadiens that the bet size would have made me uncomfortable, and that’s why I’m only betting a small amount. The Blues will likely win the game, but their chances of doing so are nowhere near 70 percent.
Note: Jordan Binnington will start for the Blues.
Bet: Montreal Canadiens %plussign% 235 Stake: 0.5 units to win 1.175 units
The gap between these two teams is nowhere near as wide as the odds suggest. Toronto has more high-end talent, but don’t be fooled by the Kings quiet start to the season. Los Angeles can hold their own with the best teams in the league. Toronto grades out as a better team in all situations, but the Kings even strength metrics are stronger than Toronto’s in a lot of ways. The Maple Leafs will be desperate for a win after losing three out of their last five, but the Kings are in a similar boat and should be just as hungry. This is the first half of a back-to-back for the Maple Leafs, who take on the lowly Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, and the team has already confirmed that Ilya Samsonov will start in goal. Samsonov has been good for the Maple Leafs so far this season, but regardless of which goaltender the Kings decide to start, the value is on their side on Saturday, win or lose.
Bet: Los Angeles Kings %plussign% 125 Stake: 1.5 units to win 1.875 units
Before the season had started, if you told me that I could bet the Wild, at -160, against the Red Wings (without Tyler Bertuzzi and Jakub Vrana) I would have made that bet. Even on the road. I was never high on the Red Wings, and I’m not now, but Minnesota isn’t playing up to their potential, and their ceiling might be lower than I thought it was. We can blame goaltending, but the fact is, the Wild rank 25th in expected goals and shot attempts at even strength Minnesota has been as bad as Detroit has been, or worse, this season, and my model falls within the straddle here. No bet.
Note: Ville Husso will start in goal for the Red Wings.
Update: Backup Filip Gustavsson will start in goal for the Wild. I have to be honest, I'm not sure this is a bad thing given how Marc-Andre Fleury has played. I'm going to stay away from picking a side in this game.
What was a high point for the New Jersey Devils probably felt like a low point for the Colorado Avalanche. I mean, the Avalanche are the Stanley Cup champions and they were shut out by a team that finished with won 27 games and finished with 63 points last season. Not a good look. The Avalanche are dealing with injuries (Gabriel Landeskog is out long term and Val Nichushkin missed Friday’s game) but their play hasn’t been all that inspiring to start the season. I’m not a believer in the Stanley Cup hangover, but it does seem like the Avalanche are suffering from one. The Avalanche look average through the first eight games, which doesn’t add up because even without two of their top players, they’re still one of the best teams in the league on paper. Both New York and Colorado played on Friday, and my model prices this game around -140 if Nichushkin isn’t apple to play. If he does play, though, and I can get to market on time, I will bet on the Avalanche.
Everything comes down to who starts in goal for these two teams. I’m down on the Capitals a bit after their sluggish start to the season, but I’m also down on the Predators so it evens out. The Capitals are a better hockey team than the Predators, and while I’m a big fan of both goaltenders, I believe Kuemper is capable of outplaying Saros under the right circumstances. However, with a game against the Hurricanes (the last game of Washington’s four-game road trip) coming up on Monday. I think Kuemper will start this game, but I was wrong earlier in the week when I bet on the Capitals to beat the Devils, and I think it’s best if I just wait this one out.
We’re not going to see Edmonton and Calgary go head-to-head again until the end of December and it’ll be the last time they will see each other in the regular season. What a dumb move by the NHL. Edmonton has gotten a raw deal, too, having to play two out of the three games against the Flames in Calgary. The lost the first meeting by a score of 4-3 in Edmonton, and now they’re playing their third game in four days while the Flames have been resting for three days. Calgary’s underlying metrics haven’t looked all that strong, but the team is scoring at rates comparable to last season’s output, and their defense seems to be on point once again under head coach Darryl Sutter. The Oilers, meanwhile, seem to be relying on Connor McDavid more than ever. According to my model, Calgary should be priced around -155, which passes the threshold for a full-size bet.
Bet: Calgary Flames -140 Stake: 1.4 units to win 1 unit
Pittsburgh Penguins (-120) at Seattle Kraken (EVEN)
The market made a big move away from the Penguins on Saturday, because Tristan Jarry was in goal for the loss against the Canucks on Friday. That means Casey DeSmith is likely going to start versus Seattle. Of course, I’ve got to analyze the game odds in their current form. I can understand why bettors bet Seattle at the opening price. The Kraken are a good hockey team. But they don’t have enough shooting talent, and their goaltending is still horrendous. Pittsburgh could (and should, if I’m not mistaken) get Jake Guentzel back on Saturday. The return of arguably their best scorer would certainly help their chances of winning, and that’ll have to happen if I’m going to consider backing them.
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2021-22 Betting Season Recap:
NHL Betting Guide (Futures): 25.9 units
Reg Season (Sides and Totals): 6.22 units
Player Props: -15.33 units
Playoffs (Sides and Totals): -14.43 units
Thoughts: I tried to do too much last season (The Propagator is one example) because it was the first time that I was going to be producing content at large scale. I was worried that my typical betting habits would be seen as too selective and therefore not enough for the average VSiN subscriber. I was wrong.
Going forward: I am back to focusing on what has worked for me all along: Making long term forecasts for futures markets and handicapping all 1,312 regular season games.