Measured response best for hockey bettors

Has Jonathan Quick's Demise Been Overstated?

After six games, Quick had posted an .835 save percentage and had cost the Kings more than six goals, according to Evolving Hockey’s Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx). However, in the three games Quick has played since, the veteran goaltender has saved the team almost five goals above expected while posting two shutouts. Quick was elite for the better part of 185 minutes. Whether you were on the right side or the wrong side of those performances, a measured response is best. We would not expect Quick to churn out performances like that, considering he has done so only a couple of times over the last two seasons. 

Framing game-level performances with a range of uncertainty can put things into perspective. Think of it like a deck of cards. An ace has been pulled from Quick’s pack twice. Before his next start, the cards are reshuffled, and the ace is placed back in the deck. Quick could have another ace up his sleeve, but it’s much more likely that we see a lesser performance. In fact, given what we’ve seen out of Quick these last few seasons, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve already witnessed his best. Of course, if Quick continues to shut the door the way he has lately, it will be harder to deny that we’re seeing a resurgence of a once-talented goaltender. Until then, don’t expect Quick to turn back the clock.

Home Ice Still an Edge?

In February, home teams have won at a 43.1% clip. This comes after they had posted a 61.2% mark in January. Home favorites had won 74.3% of those January games, but that number dropped to 50.6% in February despite those teams carrying an average price tag of about -150. But through all this, the market has held pretty steady in terms of how home-ice advantage is valued, as the average implied win probability of home teams has hovered around 52% since the season began. In other words, sharp bettors are not keen on overreacting to a small sample of games, and it looks like it was the correct choice as home teams have won 52.3% of the games thus far. There’s nothing wrong with crafting a hypothesis to explain these happenings, but it would be wise to learn from the mistakes of those who overreacted to the initial surge in home win percentage and stay on an even keel.

Don’t Let Small Sample Sizes Influence Your Betting Decisions

Lake Tahoe provided a beautiful setting for the Golden Knights and Avalanche to battle Saturday. But due to the warmth of the sun, the ice was in terrible condition and the game had to be delayed to that evening. Eventually, fans were treated to the marquee matchup they were promised. The Golden Knights, however, probably wish the game had never resumed. The final score was close at 3-2, but the Golden Knights were badly outplayed, and the underlying numbers back that up. According to Evolving Hockey, the Avalanche held a 3.9-1.9 advantage in expected goals. This performance, coupled with the fact that it was the first game back for stars like Cale Makar and Gabriel Landeskog, led to a big shift in the odds when the same teams met Monday. The Avalanche carried a -115 price tag into the Tahoe game but were priced at or about -140 Monday. I’m not suggesting the Avalanche had no value at that number, nor am I suggesting that the Golden Knights were a good bet at + 120. I am simply suggesting that a 25-cent adjustment, when nothing besides the venue has changed, is peculiar, and bettors should scrutinize movement in any betting line that seems driven by overconfidence. In Monday’s game, the Golden Knights shut out the Avalanche 3-0 while finishing with a slight edge in expected goals and shots.

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