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Market Report for Friday, October. 14th
Thursday’s four recommended bets split and broke even. I’ll add my record once there’s something to report. After two days I’m 5-5 and slightly (barely) in the black.
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.
Tampa Bay Lightning (-190) at Columbus Blue Jackets (+ 170)
A bet on the Tampa Bay Lightning at -190 is a good bet, IF Andrei Vasilevskiy starts in goal. And, normally, I wouldn’t wait to act, but the Lightning are scheduled to play the Penguins on Saturday, which means there’s a good chance that head coach Jon Cooper will start 37-year-old backup Brian Elliott in goal and save his starter for Pittsburgh. Still no Anthony Cirelli, but the Lightning should be able to beat Columbus, even with Elliott in goal. Sniper Patrick Laine will be out of the Blue Jackets’ lineup for the next few weeks, at least, which significantly reduces their chances of winning a given game. The Blue Jackets are going to do a lot of losing this season, but with two big unknowns (we don’t know either team’s starting goaltender) I think it’s best to sit back and wait for some more information. Even if that means making a smaller bet later because the line moved. I mean, it’s not the Lightning are the safe bet that they were a couple of years ago.
Update: According to reports, Vasilevskiy is in the starter's crease at practice and could potentially start the first half of the back-to-back on Friday in Winnipeg. That's enough for me to justify making a bet. I'm not going all the way, though, because it isn't confirmed and there's more uncertainty here that I'd like.
Bet: Tampa Bay Lightning -190 Stake: 0.95 units to win 0.5 units
Montreal Canadiens (+ 150) at Detroit Red Wings (-170)
Montreal pulled off a thrilling come-from-behind win over the Maple Leafs in the season opener, and now they’re matching up against the Detroit Red Wings, a team that’s in a more appropriate weight class. General manager Steve Yzerman made his team better this offseason, but the Canadiens could very well end up being a superior offensive team. Only 10 teams have scored more goals than Montreal following the hiring of new head coach Martin St. Louis last season. These were two of the worst defensive teams in the league in 2021-22, and my model likes the underdog at + 150 as it suggests their odds should be closer to + 140. Shop around, as always, but especially here. It seems like the market might like the Red Wings a lot more than I do. I would love to hear the justification. Montreal has no defense, but I think Detroit’s ability to defend a potent offense is being overrated here.
Bet: Montreal Canadiens + 150 Stake: 0.6 units to win 0.9 units
New York Rangers (EVEN) at Winnipeg Jets (-120)
The Rangers picked up another impressive win on Thursday, their second in a row since the start of the season. Under normal circumstances, the Rangers would be a favorite in this game, but there’s little chance that starting goaltending Igor Shesterkin plays three games in four nights, and that means backup Jaroslav Halak will likely make his debut for the Rangers. My model prices the Jets at -110, which is quite a difference from where they would be if the Rangers were rested and starting arguably the best goaltender in hockey.
It's a small sample (45 games) and the data is noisy, but betting against road teams on the second half of a back-to-back in the very early part of the regular season (I’m talking games 1-3) has been profitable in six out of the last seven seasons. The bets have hit at 75 percent clip. But, while the Winnipeg Jets do match the criteria, my model still doesn’t see any value in backing the home team here at -120 when a fair price is around -110.
Carolina Hurricanes (-200) at San Jose Sharks (+ 175)
San Jose is a bad offensive team, but more importantly, they’re bad on defense. Only Montreal and Arizona surrendered more shots on a per 60-minute basis last season, and only four teams generated more shots than Carolina did. Stylistically, this is a terrible matchup for San Jose, and therefore, a great one for the Hurricanes. My model suggests that Carolina should be priced around -215 which means there’s enough value to justify betting one unit to win one half of a unit.
Bet: Carolina Hurricanes -200 Stake: 1 unit to win 0.5 units