When Sidney Crosby was added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ game March 2 against the Philadelphia Flyers, it had a major impact on the betting line. The news prompted sportsbooks to take the game off the board temporarily or adjust the odds because Flyers money was pouring in. When all was said and done, the Flyers’ implied odds had improved by about 5%, moving from + 100 to -125, and they closed as favorites on the road. Despite losing 5-2, the Flyers were listed as -125 favorites heading into the rematch two days later.
But a few hours before that game, Crosby was activated. This time the odds shifted in the Penguins’ favor by about 3%. Notice that bettors didn’t respond to the news as strongly the second time around. By analyzing the sports odds history, a novice bettor can easily estimate a player’s worth. According to the market, the Penguins are 3 to 5% more likely to win with Crosby in the lineup. Ironically, the Flyers took the second game 4-3 after trailing 3-0 early. This had to be tilting for some bettors who ended up on the wrong side of one or both of the results, but even more so if they were on the right side of each line movement.