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NHL Hockey Betting: Most Profitable NHL Hockey Teams as of 11/28/19

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Nov/28/2019

It’s Thanksgiving Day in the United States and we’re now well into the 2019-2020 NHL hockey season.  One thing we like to do in every sport is periodically look at which teams have made—and lost—the most money for the betting public.  This exercise is valuable in a number of ways but one of the most significant things we can learn from it is which teams are overvalued and undervalued in the eyes of the public.  Yesterday, we took a look at the NHL futures odds at BetOnline.ag looking for team that are undervalued to win the Stanley Cup.  Not surprisingly, there’s a couple of these teams right at the top of the ‘most profitable’ hit parade.

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It’s important to keep in mind when you’re looking at metrics of this type that you’re trying to hit a ‘moving target’.  Teams have the lines they’re dealt modified due to their on-ice performance but what a lot of people forget is that linesmakers aren’t trying to ‘predict’ or ‘measure’ a team’s strength or weaknesses relative to other teams.  Their job is to divide action which makes public perception of a team’s abilities as significant—if not more so—than the opinion of the oddsmaker at the sportsbook.  The linesmaker’s goal is complete parity which is why so few teams are profitable from a betting perspective.  As of this writing only 12 of the NHL’s 32 teams are ‘in the black’ on the year.

MOST PROFITABLE NHL HOCKEY TEAMS AS OF 11/28/19

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (+7.9 UNITS)  One of the reasons that the ‘public’ is so bad at accurate valuations of teams is that they’re stubborn.  Sometimes this applies to more experienced bettors.  I knew a guy in Las Vegas that was considered by many to be a ‘sharp’ hockey bettor.  When this guy handicapped a game he actually factored in whether or not a team was one of the ‘Original Six’ teams in the NHL.  Now think about that for a moment.  The Montreal Canadiens are hosting the New Jersey Devils in the only NHL game on Thanksgiving Thursday.  The Habs are likely the better team but that has nothing to do with the fact they’ve been playing hockey since 1910 and were one of the charter members of the NHL when it was founded in 1917.

It’s unclear why recreational bettors can’t wrap their head around what a good team the Islanders are.  New York opened the season 1-3-0.  They lost 5-2 at Carolina on October 11 and didn’t lose in regulation again until last Monday, November 25.  That’s a 17 game point streak during which they went 16-0-1.  They’ve lost two straight since then which isn’t a huge surprise since a letdown after a long winning streak is all but inevitable.  The Islanders have been at or near the top of the team defense rankings all season currently weighing in at #4 allowing 2.52 goals per game.  They could improve offensively and their special teams haven’t been anything great but with an excellent coach and two very solid goaltenders splitting time their 5 on 5 defense is as good as anyone in the league.  They’re a grinding, relentless team that never makes it easy for opponents.  You can get the Islanders at +1400 to win the Stanley Cup on the futures odds board at BetOnline.ag and they’re the kind of team that is capable of a deep playoff run.

WINNIPEG JETS (+7.6 UNITS)  The Winnipeg Jets are the diametric opposite of the New York Islanders.  Before the season, there was considerable concern about their blueline depth and that’s been an issue all year.  Winnipeg is #27 in shots against per game (33.5) but all of a sudden they’ve become one of the hottest teams are are currently on a run of 11-4-1.  The reality is that they’ve been winning games because goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is playing out of his mind. There’s plenty of precedent for teams to ride a hot goaltender a long way—ask Buffalo Sabres legend Dominik Hasek how that works—I don’t really think the Jets can sustain this form.  The Jets are at their best when their elite offensive playmakers are scoring goals yet they’re the #19 ranked team offense in the NHL with 2.84 goals per game.  They’ve got a negative goals scored/goals against differential at -1.  You don’t have to be Don Cherry to understand that it isn’t good for a hockey team to give up more goals than they score.    They’re one of only two playoff eligible teams that is ‘in the red’ in the differential category.  Special teams have been less than mediocre with the #23 ranked power play and the #25 ranked penalty kill.  It’s definitely possible for a team to get off to a poor start and round into form.  That’s what the St. Louis Blues did last year.  I don’t see that from this Jets team and I’ll be looking for a reversal at some point in the not too distant future.

EDMONTON OILERS (+6.2 UNITS)  You can almost cut and paste everything I said about the New York Islanders above into this analysis of the Edmonton Oilers.  The Oilers are doing everything ‘right’ that they’ve done ‘wrong’ in the past few years under new head coach Dave Tippett.  The Oilers have 35 points—second most in the Western Conference—and with a very favorable schedule sequence immediately after Thanksgiving they could quickly improve upon that.  They’ve been decent on the road (9-6-1).  They’ve improved dramatically on defense currently ranking #9 allowing 2.81 goals per contest.  Special teams have been great—the Oilers are tied with Boston for the best power play in the NHL (32%) and have the #2 penalty kill in the league (87.5%).  Special teams are a function of coaching and that all comes back to Tippett.  James Neal has become a lethal weapon on the man advantage and he’s got 10 power play goals on the season.  And lest we forget, the best hockey player on the planet aka Connor McDavid wears a #97 sweater with the Oilers’ name on the front.  McDavid came into the league with almost unrealistic expectations and has managed to exceed them.  It’s absurd how good he is at just 22 years old.  Betting the Oilers to win the Stanley Cup might be the best value play on the BetOnline.ag futures board.

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