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Market Report for Thursday, Oct. 20th
Recap: Wednesday was a light day. Nothing of interest to report.
+ 0.79 units
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. If you're curious, I've included the record from 2021-22 at the bottom of the article for transparency purposes.
Today: There are a dozen games today. Let’s not waste any time getting into it.
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.
Los Angeles (+ 165) at Pittsburgh Penguins (-185)
Kings’ forward Alex Iafallo travelled back to Los Angeles to deal with an injury that is expected to keep him out until the end of the month. This would have mattered a lot more last season, but L.A. is a deeper team now and will fare better than they would have in this type of spot than they would have before. This is their third game in four days, though, and their fourth game in six days. We haven’t gotten much of a look at the Penguins yet this season, as they’ve played just three games. One against the Lightning (who were playing tired without Andrei Vasilevskiy) and a couple of games, one of which they lost, against two of the worst teams in the league. The price is a little short on the Kings, here, but not short enough that I am willing to back them, yet.
Anaheim Ducks (+ 180) at Boston Bruins (-210)
I’m sure I’m not the only bettor that believes the Bruins’ effort on Thursday versus the Duck will be more reminiscent of their first three games than their last game against Ottawa. Boston did not start on time on Tuesday, and they’re probably kicking themselves for it. I mean, Boston was still able to score five goals against the Senators only playing at half speed for long stretches of the game.
The Ducks have looked awful to start the season, too. They lucked out a win in their home opener versus Seattle, but then they set out onto the road and lost the first three games. They’ve allowed at least four goals in each of their four games so far this season, while the Bruins have scored at least five goals in their four games.
That doesn’t seem like a good combination. Both teams are playing their third game in four days (and fourth game in six days). It’s not clear which goaltenders will start, but I expect John Gibson and Linus Ullmark to be in goal for their respective clubs. Boston will likely win the game between 67 and 68 percent of the time, which converts to a fair price of roughly -205. No value. No bet.
Dallas Stars (+ 145) at Toronto Maple Leafs (-165)
If you're basing your handicap off the first handful of games that each team has played so far in 2022-23, then you probably like the Dallas Stars. On paper, Dallas looks like the stronger team right now. Toronto has goaltending issues, which the Stars do not seem to have, and they're coming into this game without the services of one of their best defenders, Jake Muzzin, who has suffered yet another injury. I'm not ready to buy into Dallas yet, though, and neither is my model. There just hasn't been enough games. I've had to make adjustments, due to injury, but still it has generated a price of around -160 in favor of the Maple Leafs. Therefore, I don't have a bet on this game. Good luck to those who do.
Update: Ilya Samsonov is expected to start for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was the first goaltender to come off the ice at practice. And, in a bit of a surprise, Scott Wedgewood, not Jake Oettinger, was the first goaltender off the ice at Stars' practice and that means he could start on Thursday in Toronto. This increases Toronto's odds of winning by a bit, but the market reacted quickly and I wouldn't suggest chasing the steam on the home team.
San Jose Sharks (+ 200) at New York Rangers (-240)
If Igor Shesterkin starts in goal for the Rangers, the poor San Jose Sharks are going to be in tough. The Sharks have only scored eight goals in five games and haven’t put up more than two tallies in a single contest. The Sharks are 0-5 to start the season and -240 is a short price, assuming the Rangers put their best foot forward on Thursday. New York’s next game is on Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and after that they have the Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Avalanche on back-to-back nights to start next week. There’s enough space between the games to start Shesterkin in the next three games, but head coach Gerard Gallant doesn’t have to. The Rangers should be able to beat the Sharks or the Blue Jackets with their backup goaltender, Jaroslav Halak, in the net, and that might influence the coach’s decision.
Update: James Reimer will start in goal for San Jose.
Arizona Coyotes (+ 140) at Montreal Canadiens (-160)
Arizona was supposed to be without their only star forward, Clayton Keller, to start the season, but that wasn’t the case. However, Nick Schmaltz, their second-best forward, is out for the next 6-8 weeks due to injury. That’s a big blow to a hockey team that can’t afford to absorb any big blows. The Canadiens are close to the Coyotes in terms of team strength, but they’re a better team overall. Montreal hasn’t shown off their offensive ability yet this season, scoring just 1.9 goals per 60 minutes, and the Coyotes have scored roughly three goals a game. But I would expect that to flip going forward. Montreal is a competent offensive team, the Coyotes are not, and the injury to Schmaltz is only going to make matters worse. The Canadiens will win the game approximately 60 percent of the time, according to my model, which means there’s no value betting on either of these terrible hockey teams on Thursday.
Update: Jake Allen will start for the Montreal Canadiens.
Washington Capitals (-105) at Ottawa Senators (-115)
Ottawa is riding high after a big win over the Boston Bruins in their home opener, and they might be catching the Capitals in a bad spot. Washington already came into the season missing forwards Tom Wilson, Carl Hagelin and Nicklas Backstrom, so losing Evgeny Kuznetsov for Thursday’s game due to a suspension is a big blow to their chances of winning the game. That’s unfortunate, because there might have been some value on the Capitals. My model falls right around the straddle, though. No bet.
Update: As expected, Anton Forsberg will start again for the Ottawa Senators. Darcy Kuemper will start for the Capitals.
Nashville Predators (-135) at Columbus Blue Jackets (+ 115)
Few goaltenders have been as consistent, season-to-season, as Saros has been. He’s been an above average goaltender throughout his entire NHL career and a slow start is no reason to worry. The Predators have been awful defensively through the first five games, allowing opponents to generate upwards of 3.5 expected goals per 60 minutes. Nashville will clean things up in that area, to some degree, and I think the market is a little too low on them heading into Thursday’s game in Columbus. The Blue Jackets are being outscored by roughly two goals on a per 60-minute basis and currently sit with the fourth worst shot attempt percentage in the NHL. The team’s sniper, Patrick Laine, remains out due to injury. Nashville is desperate to get things on track, and Saros is their best chance to do so. The team hasn’t confirmed he will start, and it’s risky to make assumptions, but this is a good price and I’m willing to take a chance here.
Update: As expected, Elvis Merzlikins will start for the Blue Jackets.
Bet: Nashville Predators -135
1.35 units to win 1 unit
Correction: I posted the report at 6:24 MT, shortly after betting Nashville at an average price of -130 and tracking it on the Betstamp app. In hindsight, I think I should track the bet at -135, instead of -130, because those were the odds offered by DraftKings and BetMGM at the time of release, according to the line history at both sportsbooks.
New Jersey Devils (+ 120) at New York Islanders (-140)
I was hoping the Islanders were going to be offered at a shorter price, because my model estimates that their odds should be around -140, but although there were some shops that were offering -130 and -135, they all seemed to have begun to move closer to a fair price. The Devils are a tough team to figure out because their peripherals are strong in some areas, and there’s still some mystique surrounding what type of team the Islanders will be this season, but assuming Ilya Sorokin is in goal, the Devils will be facing an experienced team with great goaltending and that’s probably going to prove challenging for them. The Islanders will win the game approximately 58 percent of the time, according to my model, which means I can brief a sigh of relief knowing that I almost certainly won’t have to bet on the Devils in any capacity.
Update: Ilya Sorokin was the first goaltender off the ice and is expected to start on Thursday versus New Jersey.
Vancouver Canucks (+ 150) at Minnesota Wild (-170)
Four straight games with a multi-goal lead. Four straight losses. The entire Vancouver Canucks team probably feels like they’re on the hot seat right now after coming into the season with expectations of being a playoff team. Thursday’s game in Minnesota is the final game of a five-game road trip, and their last chance to salvage some dignity. Part of me wishes that the Canucks were being undervalued by the market because the Wild are a team I’m eager to bet against due to the struggles of their starting goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury. That’s not the case, though. My model prices the Wild at around -165, which means I don’t have any interest in this game from a betting perspective. That might change if Vancouver goes up by a couple of goals.
Carolina Hurricanes (EVEN) at Edmonton Oilers (-120)
Betting against Connor McDavid and the Oilers is never fun but getting arguably the best team in the NHL at + 105 is always appealing. The Hurricanes are off to a hot start thanks to their high-powered attack. Carolina has generated approximately 81 shots, and 3.8 goals on a per 60-minute basis over the first three games of the season. No team has been better in that regard. Edmonton, meanwhile, has been allowing roughly 70 shots and four goals against per 60 minutes.
There’s a chance that head coach Rob Brind ’Amour will choose to split Thursday’s game in Edmonton, Saturday’s game in Calgary and Monday’s game in Vancouver between his two goaltenders, Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta. But, given how he chose to do things on this road trip last season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Andersen make the next two or three starts because there is a day off between each game. My model suggests the Hurricanes should be the favorite in this game IF Andersen starts. I’m willing to bet on the Hurricanes without confirmation, but some bettors might want to wait. It depends on their tolerance for risk.
Bet: Carolina Hurricanes EVEN Stake: Bet 0.6 units to win 0.6 units
Buffalo Sabres (+ 240) at Calgary Flames (-280)
Buffalo has won two of three games, with their most impressive win coming Tuesday over Connor McDavid and the Oilers in Edmonton. But they've had just one day off to prepare for the Calgary Flames, arguably the best team in the Western Conference. The Flames look like a wagon, and already, people that didn't read the 2022-23 NHL Betting Guide are wondering why they picked the Oilers to win the Pacific Division.
I don't know whether head coach Don Granato will go back to youngster Eric Comrie, but he should. Comrie is has played in the Western Conference and deserves another start after he played great in Edmonton. But, let's just assume the Sabres go back to Craig Anderson. In that case, my model prices the game around -290 in favor of the home team.
Winnipeg Jets (+ 150) at Vegas Golden Knights (-170)
Ehlers missed Wednesday's game against Colorado due to an undisclosed injury. When asked if the 26-year-old would be able to play on Thursday in Vegas, associate coach Scott Arniel said that it was a nagging injury and the team would discuss it on Thursday. That doesn't sound terrible, but it doesn't sound great either, and I'm wondering how much the fact that Winnipeg picked up a huge win over Colorado on Wednesday will play into their decision to play him on Thursday or not. It doesn't matter a whole lot to me, either way, because I think the Vegas line will be inflated by the time we find out. No bet.
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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: minus-15.33 units
Playoffs (Sides and Totals): minus-14.43 units
Thoughts: I tried to do too much last season (The Propagator, an automated player prop prediction model that I used to make plays, is one example). It was the first time that I was going to be producing content at large scale and 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. Hopefully, it translates to a profitable season. Good luck.