NHL betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Thursday 5/19

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Welcome to the daily NHL betting market report, your source for comprehensive and dynamic hockey betting analysis. This page will be updated throughout the day as needed. Be on the lookout for player prop bets. All recommended bets are tracked as one unit (bet to win one unit on favorite and risk one unit on underdog) unless stated otherwise. If you want, you can use the model projection to bet in proportion to its perceived edge.

All game lines via VSiN NHL Odds Page. All stats courtesy of Evolving Hockey. Follow me on Twitter.

Market Report Recap for Wednesday, May 18th

If the Flames had lost that game, I would have been explaining that the playoffs have taken a toll on me (they have) and that I was going to stop betting until next season. Losing a game in which the team I bet on led by four goals (twice) would have been the last straw for me after a brutal start to the playoffs. Fortunately, the Flames did win the game. I enjoy handicapping each series but handicapping the playoffs on a game-to-game basis goes against my philosophical views on how one should go about finding good bets. I live for the first four or five months of the regular season, as that’s where I have done my best work, and I have always found it more than a little frustrating that the playoffs garner so much attention in the betting world, but interest isn’t driven by sharp players. Nobody wants to hear me tell them that it’s square to bet on a line that has been sitting there for two days and hasn’t moved but a few cents, but it is, and I’m going to explain what I mean below.

Record: 112-107, + -3.35 units, -1.5 percent ROI

Note: Player prop bets (if any) can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the report.

Market Report for Thursday, May 19th

The Battle of Florida has a lot of catching up to do if they want to provide as much excitement as the Battle of Alberta. Lets’ look at things from a betting perspective.

Tampa Bay Lightning (+ 145) at Florida Panthers (-165)

Florida dropped Game 1 to the Lightning, losing by a score of 4-1 even though they led 1-0 with 25 minutes remaining in regulation. Florida is 0-21 on the power play in the playoffs, while Tampa Bay has converted on 32 percent of their power play opportunities against the Panthers dating back to last year’s first round series. The Lightning converted on three of their six power plays in Game 1. Now, things should turn for the Panthers, but they’re going to have to get to Andrei Vasilevskiy, but they’re going to have to pepper him more than they did in the series opener and stop taking so many penalties. If Florida plays the series at even strength, and their power play starts to click, they can win the series, but they didn’t put enough of a gap between them and the Lightning in Game 1.

Now, the zig-zag theorists (people that believe you should blindly bet on teams to bounce back after a playoff loss) will be out in full force heading into Game 2, but if it’s such a strong angle, wouldn’t the line have moved a lot by now? Sharp bettors don’t want the Lightning at + 140 or + 145, which is what most retail books are offering. There was some appetite out there for the Lightning at around + 160, as the market making shops opened the Panthers closer to -180, but most of those shops have dropped their line down to around -160. If you want to lay the favorite because you think they’ll bounce back, be my guest, but the betting market is telling you that it’s a square bet. One of the sportsbooks that I use is willing to take $20,000 on sides, so if the Panthers’ chances were better than their implied odds, someone with a big bankroll would have moved the line by now. Limits have been up for hours now, and good lines don’t last. The market is more efficient in the playoffs, and unless you’re somehow smarter than the wisdom of the crowd, which is a trap that we’re all guilty of falling into from time-to-time, a lot of the bets you make on game day during the playoffs are going to be -EV in the eyes of the market.

St. Louis Blues (+ 195) at Colorado Avalanche (-230)

In my opinion, Game 1 going to overtime is one of the craziest things that has happened in the playoffs thus far. The Avalanched played their best game yet, owning 70 percent of the shot attempts and 73 percent of the expected goals at even strength, and all St. Louis did was hold on for dear life. Now, the Blues will probably play better in Game 2, but that’s only because it would be hard to be any worse than they were in Game 1. High danger chances were tilted 16-5 in favor of the Avalanche at even strength, and Jordan Binnington is the only reason they didn’t win by a large margin. It might be tough for Colorado to play at that pace for an entire series, but if the Blues’ strategy is to rely on Binnington to steal games, without giving him much help, they’ll be lucky not to get swept. My model suggest the Avalanche should be priced around -220, and that means I won’t have a bet on this game. I’m worried that my model might be underestimating just how big of a mismatch this series is, but if it doesn’t suggest that there’s value Blues, I think I’ll be alright. I am going to bet on Devon Toews to register a point in Game 2, though. However, instead of laying -120 on him to go over 0.5 points, I’m going to split up one unit on a goal and an assist. He plays big minutes (averaging almost 25 minutes per game) and he registered at least one point in four out of five games. Toews dished a lot of outlet passes that lead to chances at the other end, and he’s a big part of their power play, so he’ll have a lot of touches and, therefore, a lot of chances to get his name on the scoresheet.

Player Props:

Devon Toews Anytime Goal + 350 (half size) and Over 0.5 Assists + 135 (half size)

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