Professor MJ's daily NHL projections (statistical models)

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Professor-MJ PM Professor-MJ
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Posted: 3/20/2017 4:22:45 PM
QUOTE Originally Posted by MaurickRBI:

Thank you Professor
Attentive and successful as always
Follow these predictions

You're welcome, have a good evening!
Professor-MJ PM Professor-MJ
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Posted: 3/21/2017 11:10:20 AM
There are 11 games tonight in the NHL. As of this morning, I see 3 profitable bets (none that is extraordinarily good though) and 2 more where you should verify throughout the day whether the line will move in your favor or not. Also, the lines on Senators-Bruins and Coyotes-Lightning are off the board at this time of writing, so as usual I will provide some guidelines. Without further ado, let’s dive into the details!

SENS-BRUINS (Pinnacle off the board, Prof MJ +149 vs -149)
PENGUINS-SABRES (Pinnacle -181 vs +163, Prof MJ -149 vs +149)
RANGERS-DEVILS (Pinnacle -145 vs +131, Prof MJ -164 vs +164)
FLAMES-CAPITALS (Pinnacle +164 vs -182, Prof MJ +159 vs -159)
WINGS-CANADIENS (Pinnacle +222 vs -250, Prof MJ +232 vs -232)
COYOTES-LIGHTNING (Pinnacle off the board, Prof MJ +229 vs -229)
HURRICANES-PANTHERS (Pinnacle +115 vs -127, Prof MJ +135 vs -135)
FLYERS-JETS (Pinnacle +121 vs -133, Prof MJ +109 vs -109)
CANUCKS-BLACKHAWKS (Pinnacle +252 vs -285, Prof MJ +272 vs -272)
SHARKS-WILD (Pinnacle +150 vs -166, Prof MJ +170 vs -170)
BLUES-AVALANCHE (Pinnacle -193 vs +173, Prof MJ -161 vs +161)

The bet that yields the highest ROI (Return on Investment) at 5.7%, which is nothing to write home about, is Philadelphia +121 (decimal 2.21) in Winnipeg. The Jets were already without Tyler Myers at the blue line, and they will be missing two more defensemen tonight: Jacob Trouba and Toby Enstrom. Those three guys are 2nd, 3rd and 4th in average time on ice for Winnipeg. That hurts. The Jets snapped a 4-game losing streak by beating the Islanders and then Minnesota two days ago. The Flyers beat the Jets 5-2 earlier this season, which extended their winning streak against Winnipeg to 6 games (including two on the road)!

My next recommendation goes to another underdog: I suggest taking the Sabres +163 (decimal 2.63) against Pittsburgh. Evgeni Malkin will miss his third straight game, while Letang, Daley, Maatta, Hainsey and Hagelin are also likely out. Will the Penguins start Fleury for a second straight game since he just shutout the Panthers, or will they go back to their starter (Murray)? We’ll find out soon. Pittsburgh has won 7 of its last 9 games, but we can’t say they have faced tough opposition recently (Florida, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Buffalo). The Penguins have won 9 of the last 10 meetings over Buffalo, but the last 5 have ended by a 1-goal differential (including a 2-1 Sabres win in Buffalo earlier this year). Buffalo played last night, which was accounted for when making the projections. 79% of the money line bets by the public have gone on Pittsburgh, and yet the line hasn’t moved.

The last pick is the Rangers -145 (decimal 1.69) in New Jersey. Henrik Lundqvist may be back this weekend, but he’s not ready yet. Raanta has now started the last 5 games, and with tonight’s game being the first of back-to-back games, I’m a little worried that they might rest him in favor of their third-string goalie. You may want to wait until Raanta is confirmed before placing a bet, but the line may move in the wrong direction, so it’s up to you to make the call. The Rangers have won all 3 matchups against the Devils in 2016-2017. New York holds the league’s best road record at 26-9-0. The Devils seem to be lost, having won a single game over their past 13 contests.

Keep track of the following two games:

  • Bet the Panthers against the Hurricanes if the line moves from -127 to -120 (decimal 1.83).
  • Bet the Avalanche against the Blues if the line moves from +173 to +177 (decimal 2.77).

Finally, here are my guidelines regarding the couple of games where the lines are currently off the board:

  • Bet the Senators if the line is +162 (decimal 2.62) or higher. Bet the Bruins if the line is -132 (decimal 1.76) or higher.
  • Bet the Coyotes if the line is +247 (decimal 3.47) or higher. Bet the Lightning if the line is -195 (decimal 1.51) or higher.

Thank you very much for reading!

Professor MJ
Krisamons PM Krisamons
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Posted: 3/21/2017 11:32:40 AM
Good Luck Professor 
Donaldson123 PM Donaldson123
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Posted: 3/21/2017 11:44:59 AM
Very nice write ups Professor.
Posted using a mobile device.
livin2gamble PM livin2gamble
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Posted: 3/21/2017 4:37:47 PM
thanks for takin time MJ
Professor-MJ PM Professor-MJ
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Posted: 3/22/2017 3:48:24 PM
If you tailed my 3 picks from yesterday AND you followed the additional guidelines about the Senators-Bruins and Coyotes-Lightning games (for which the lines were off the board when I wrote the daily report), you probably roughly broke even. But if you only bet the 3 recommended picks, you lost all 3 unfortunately. My projections had Ottawa as a profitable bet if the line was +162 (decimal 2.62) or higher: around 3pm you could grab them at +172  (decimal 2.72)! As for Arizona, yesterday’s write up mentioned taking them in case the money line was +247 (decimal 3.47) or higher: it reached around +280 (decimal 3.80) in the afternoon. Both of these big underdogs won, which overcame the losses on the other 3 picks.

There are only 3 games tonight, but quite a few things could be said about them. Let’s see the details!

LEAFS-JACKETS (Pinnacle +139 vs -154, Prof MJ +144 vs -144)
ISLANDERS-RANGERS (Pinnacle +115 vs -127, Prof MJ +143 vs -143)
OILERS-DUCKS (Pinnacle +112 vs -124, Prof MJ +126 vs -126)

Yet again, I’m betting on the Rangers -127 (decimal 1.79) versus the Islanders, but be careful here. The Rangers were playing last night, and Raanta has started the last 6 games. With Lundqvist injured, it’s not impossible to see their third-string goalie in net tonight. With Raanta in goal, my projections on this game are Islanders +163 versus Rangers -163, while if he doesn’t start I’ve got Islanders +120 versus Rangers -120. As of now, I feel like the current line is profitable. You could tail my bet right now, or if you prefer to wait until the starter is announced you can use the above guidelines. It’s not reassuring that the Islanders have won 6 of the previous 7 meetings with the Rangers. The home team has won each of the three matchups this season. The Rangers have not been good at home (19-15-3), and I believe they will be very focused tonight, especially after losing to the lowly Devils last night. The Islanders are playing on 3 days’ rest.

Cam Talbot has now started the last 12 games for the Oilers. They are playing the first of a back-to-back set, so Brossoit is very likely to play one of them. Which one will it be? Tonight in Anaheim, or tomorrow in Colorado? Here are my projections depending on who starts in net for Edmonton: if Talbot starts we have Oilers +107 versus Ducks -107, whereas if Brossoit starts we have Oilers +148 versus Ducks -148. Bet accordingly. As of now, with the line being Oilers +112 versus Ducks -124, I don’t see any value. Anaheim had won 4 straight meetings with Edmonton, but they have dropped the last 2, including a 4-0 setback at home two months ago.

At first I was taking the Jackets at home against the Leafs, but I just read that Korpisalo is the likely starter because Sergei Bobrovsky was skating with potential scratches this morning (source: Paul Hendrick). That changed my projections quite a bit, and I don’t see any value on either side. Just for fun, I will still give you some quick notes about the game just in case you are considering betting it. The Jackets’ second-leading scorer Alexander Wennberg is a question mark heading into the game. He missed one game because of a stiff neck, but returned to practice yesterday, so all signs are pointing toward him playing tonight. They are riding a 4-game winning streak (in fact they are winners of 7 of their past 8 games). These teams met only once in 2016-2017: Columbus won 5-2 at home. The Jackets have beaten the Leafs on four occasions out of the last 5 previous matchups.

Thank you very much for reading!

Professor MJ
Professor-MJ PM Professor-MJ
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Posted: 3/23/2017 1:57:35 PM
Hello NHL fans from around the world!! We have 12 games tonight, but only 3 profitable bets: 2 pretty big underdogs and 1 favorite. Let’s cross our fingers that we can win 2 out of 3! Here are the detailed projections:

LIGHTNING-BRUINS (Pinnacle +172 vs -191, Prof MJ +159 vs -159)
JACKETS-CAPITALS (Pinnacle +149 vs -165, Prof MJ +155 vs -155)
DEVILS-LEAFS (Pinnacle +168 vs -187, Prof MJ +180 vs -180)
HURRICANES-CANADIENS (Pinnacle +149 vs -165, Prof MJ +177 vs -177)
PENGUINS-SENATORS (Pinnacle -137 vs +124, Prof MJ -128 vs +128)
COYOTES-PANTHERS (Pinnacle +171 vs -190, Prof MJ +186 vs -186)
CANUCKS-BLUES (Pinnacle +199 vs -223, Prof MJ +184 vs -184)
FLAMES-PREDATORS (Pinnacle +122 vs -135, Prof MJ +129 vs -129)
FLYERS-WILD (Pinnacle +171 vs -190, Prof MJ +183 vs -183)
STARS-HAWKS (Pinnacle +201 vs -225, Prof MJ +233 vs -233)
OILERS-AVALANCHE (Pinnacle -163 vs +147, Prof MJ -199 vs +199)
JETS-KINGS (Pinnacle +153 vs -170, Prof MJ +167 vs -167)

The bet with the highest ROI (Return On Investment) goes to Edmonton -163 (decimal 1.61) in Colorado. Backup goalie Jeremy Smith has been confirmed for the Avalanche. He has a 3.43 GAA and an 89.0% save percentage, which is significantly worse than Pickard’s numbers (2.88 GAA and a 90.9% save percentage). Consequently, I deducted 4% to Colorado’s chances of winning tonight. On Edmonton’s side, Cam Talbot started a 13th consecutive game yesterday, but he was pulled midway through the game. No confirmation yet, but they might go with Talbot again tonight. The Oilers may feel some tiredness because of the back-to-back games. They were riding a 4-game winning streak prior to last night’s loss in Anaheim. In the only previous meeting this year, the Oilers won 6-3 in Colorado. However, the Avalanche beat the Oilers on all 3 matchups a season ago. Colorado has lost its last 3 contests overall by a combined 15-6 score.

I’m taking a gamble on the Canucks +199 (decimal 2.99) in St. Louis. Some injuries of note: Markus Granlund will undergo wrist surgery for Vancouver, while the Blues’ Paul Stastny will miss at least a week with a lower-body injury. Both games this year between these two clubs were close: the Canucks won 2-1 in overtime at home, while the Blues prevailed 4-3 in St. Louis. It’s weird how the Blues reacted following the trade of their star defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk: they lost their first two games without him, but have now won 8 of their last 9 games! They are now fighting for a spot in the playoffs. Tonight’s match may be a trap game for them as they could be looking ahead of their following game against the red-hot Calgary Flames. The Canucks just snapped a six-game skid by upsetting the Blackhawks in Chicago 4-3 in overtime!

I’m going with another pretty big underdog with Tampa Bay +172 (decimal 2.72) in Boston. The Bruins looked pretty invincible since replacing Claude Julien by Bruce Cassidy, but they are now showing signs of weaknesses after losing their last 3 games by a combined 14-8 score. The Lightning have not done any better in their past 3 games, losing all of them by a combined 15-6 score, including a 5-3 loss to the lowly Coyotes two days ago. That was a crushing blow to their playoff hopes. With 10 games left on their schedule, they MUST beat the Bruins, whom they are trailing by 5 points for the last playoff spot. The Bruins have beaten the Lightning on 4 straight occasions (all 3 this season). Prior to this stretch, it was the Lightning who was dominating Boston, winning 4 of 5 games. Peter Budaj will be facing Tuukka Rask. I don’t have any numbers to back this theory, but I feel like when two struggling teams face each other, it leads to close tight games, which is good for the underdog.

Thank you very much for reading!

Professor MJ
CMo256 PM CMo256
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Posted: 3/23/2017 3:07:47 PM
  
Professor-MJ PM Professor-MJ
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Posted: 3/23/2017 3:34:06 PM
I am writing this report one day in advance, which explains why the line on the Islanders-Penguins game is off the board. I’m actually more excited about the 2 picks below than I was about the value bets from the past few days. I feel like I find more profitable bets when I make the projections one day early. You will find all the details in the table and the text below:

ISLANDERS-PENGUIS (Pinnacle off the board, Prof MJ +169 vs -169)
LIGHTNING-WINGS (Pinnacle -108 vs -102, Prof MJ +103 vs -103)
SHARKS-STARS (Pinnacle -130 vs +118, Prof MJ -160 vs +160)
JETS-DUCKS (Pinnacle +151 vs -167, Prof MJ +196 vs -196)

I really like a lot the Sharks at -130 (decimal 1.77) in Dallas. Here you have the opportunity to bet a much superior hockey team playing on two days’ rest while their opponent will be on the second leg of a back-to-back set with travel (i.e. both of the Stars’ games weren’t at home, they had to travel from Chicago to Dallas overnight). On top of that, the Stars goalie may be their backup since Kari Lehtonen will start in Chicago. Or if they elect to go with Lehtonen again he won’t be as efficient because of the fatigue factor. As of now, it does not look like Dallas’ third-leading scorer Jason Spezza will be able to suit up. He skated Wednesday, but did not participate in practice so he may not be ready to return yet. On San Jose’s side, Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed the Sharks’ last game because of the flu. We’ll see if he feels better Friday night. It will be the third meeting between these teams in March: San Jose won 5-1 at home before losing 1-0 in Dallas. Sure, the Sharks have lost 4 straight, but it does not scare me away. I’m taking San Jose on this one.

I’m also high on the Ducks at -167 (decimal 1.60) at home versus Winnipeg. Defencemen Trouba and Enstrom are likely to miss the game for the Jets. Starting goalie John Gibson may be ready to return for Anaheim, but nothing official yet. The Ducks have beaten the Jets in 9 of the past 10 meetings (the only loss was a 2-1 overtime loss last season). I believe it’s safe to say they have their number! Both teams have been playing well of late. Anaheim has won 6 of their past 8 contests, including the last two. The Jets snapped a 4-game losing streak by winning their last 3 matches. Winnipeg will be playing a 2nd game in as many nights.

A few notes about the Islanders-Penguins game. The Islanders, who are fighting hard for the last playoff spot, received bad news when it was announced that Ryan Strome broke his wrist and won’t return this season. At this time of writing, it looks like Evgeni Malkin will miss the game in Ottawa Thursday night, so I’m not sure what his status is for Friday night against New York. Marc-Andre Fleury is likely to be the starter since Murray will be in the net in Ottawa. The Islanders have recalled from Bridgeport Jaroslav Halak, whose play has been stellar in the AHL: he went 17-7-1 with a 2.15 GAA and a 92.5% save percentage. With Thomas Greiss not playing at his best recently and Jean-Francois Berube struggling to hold on the backup job, it appears like the Islanders want to use Halak to push hard for a playoff spot. He may get the nod in Pittsburgh. Based on all the information above, my projected lines are Islanders +169 versus Penguins -169. I recommend betting the Islanders if the line is +183 (decimal 2.83) or higher. You may want to bet Pittsburgh if the line is -148 (decimal 1.676) or higher.

Thank you very much for reading!

Professor MJ
Professor-MJ PM Professor-MJ
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Posted: 3/24/2017 4:08:40 PM
We can expect a lot of action tomorrow in the NHL, as is the case every Saturday night! Again, I am writing this report one day in advance to take advantage of early lines. Yesterday afternoon we were able to grab the Sharks at -130 (decimal 1.77), while the line has now moved down to -154 (decimal 1.649) as of 2:45pm Friday. Similarly, I recommended the Ducks at -167 (decimal 1.60): the line currently sits at -225 (decimal 1.44)! What a steal! Let’s try to repeat once again. I have found 3 picks, including one on the Ottawa-Montreal game that I like a lot! Let’s see the details:

CANUCKS-WILD (Pinnacle +218 vs -245, Prof MJ +220 vs -220)
FLYERS-JACKETS (Pinnacle +179 vs -199, Prof MJ +203 vs -203)
FLAMES-BLUES (Pinnacle +131 vs -145, Prof MJ +115 vs -115)
LEAFS-SABRES (Pinnacle -141 vs +128, Prof MJ -123 vs +123)
SENATORS-CANADIENS (Pinnacle +144 vs -160, Prof MJ +117 vs -117)
BLACKHAWKS-PANTHERS (Pinnacle -135 vs +122, Prof MJ -145 vs +145)
HURRICANES-DEVILS (Pinnacle -121 vs +110, Prof MJ -122 vs +122)
BRUINS-ISLANDERS (Pinnacle off the board, Prof MJ -126 vs +126)
COYOTES-CAPITALS (Pinnacle +277 vs -315, Prof MJ +303 vs -303)
SHARKS-PREDATORS (Pinnacle +124 vs -137, Prof MJ +119 vs -119)
AVALANCHE-OILERS (Pinnacle +231 vs -260, Prof MJ +283 vs -283)
RANGERS-KINGS (Pinnacle +114 vs -126, Prof MJ -105 vs +105)

I must admit I am a lifelong Montreal Canadiens fan. When it comes to sports betting, you must put your own feelings aside. Boy, do I like the Senators at +144 (decimal 2.44) in Montreal! These two teams played a back-to-back set no further than a week ago. Montreal won both games (one in extra time), but things have changed quite a bit since then! The Habs followed that up with a couple of puzzling home losses at the hands of two sub-par teams: Detroit and Carolina. Meanwhile, the Sens seem to have been sparked by the back-to-back losses to their archrivals, as they went on to win in Boston and at home against Pittsburgh. Also note that before those latest two wins against Ottawa, the Canadiens had lost 4 of the past 5 meetings against the Sens. In fact, Ottawa is 3-2 at the Bell Centre over the last 5 matchups. Mark Stone is likely to suit up for the Sens after being out with an injury since March 9th.

I’m picking another underdog by going with the Flames at +131 (decimal 2.31) in St. Louis. After losing 5 consecutive games the Blues have now won 9 of their last 10 contests, including 4 straight. I don’t want to lessen their recent accomplishments, but it must be pointed out that the latest three wins came against very weak opposition: Vancouver, Colorado and Arizona. Things might feel much more difficult on the ice Saturday night against Calgary. How have the Flames done since their 10-game winning streak was snapped by Boston? They have gone 2-3, but the three losses were against Boston, Washington and Nashville (all above-average teams). Paul Stastny will be out again for St. Louis. The two teams have split the season series at one game apiece, each team winning on the road (4-1 Flames in St. Louis, 6-4 Blues in Calgary).

“Never two without three”. Yep, I’m taking a third underdog, this time the New York Rangers at +114 (decimal 2.14) in Los Angeles. It was announced that Henrik Lundqvist should be back from an injury, as he will be starting two of three road games in California. I expect him to start Saturday in LA, Raanta  should play in Anaheim the next day and Lundqvist should get the nod in San Jose next Tuesday. The Rangers must be happy with King Henrik’s return because Raanta has not done so well during his absence. Here is an interesting fact: 4 of the last 5 meetings between the Rangers and the Kings in Los Angeles have gone in overtime, with the other game ending 4-3 in favor of New York. In other words, those games were all close, which is a good thing when you are betting the underdog.

I recommend betting the Sabres against the Leafs if the line moves to +135 (decimal 2.35) or higher. Buffalo will be hurt by the suspension of their best defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen, but they are likely to welcome back from injuries several players (Kyle Okposo, Cody Franson, Dmitry Kulikov and William Carrier). The Sabres will have an extra two days of rest compared to Toronto, which historically yields an 8.7% home-ice advantage instead of the usual 4.5%-5%.

So to recap, I am betting 3 underdogs and I might grab 2 more if lines move in the right direction. Don’t beat up on me if these five teams go 2-3, that would not be out of the ordinary! I’m hoping that among Ottawa, Calgary and the New York Rangers we go 2-1, and going 1-2 would not be a crushing blow considering the favorable odds. We’ll see how it plays out!

That’s it for today; I wish you a great weekend with your loved ones!!

Professor MJ
Professor-MJ PM Professor-MJ
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Posted: 3/27/2017 10:31:12 AM
Hello guys, I hope you are doing well! Today we have 6 games in the NHL, and I have only found a single profitable bet. It is a fairly long shot to win though, so bet at your own risk!

WINGS-HURRICANES (Pinnacle +167 vs -186, Prof MJ +174 vs -174)
PANTHERS-SABRES (Pinnacle -119 vs +108, Prof MJ -110 vs +110)
PREDATORS-ISLANDERS (Pinnacle -101 vs -109, Prof MJ -104 vs +104)
BLACKHAWKS-LIGHTNING (Pinnacle -117 vs +106, Prof MJ -108 vs +108)
COYOTES-BLUES (Pinnacle +248 vs -280, Prof MJ +213 vs -213)
AVALANCHE-FLAMES (Pinnacle +248 vs -280, Prof MJ +266 vs -266)

The only suggestion for tonight is to bet the Coyotes at +248 (decimal 3.48) in St. Louis. The Blues have been impressive of late, especially defensively: they have allowed more than 3 goals only once over their past 22 games! They had won 9 out of 10 games before losing in overtime to Calgary two days ago. After losing that game with 2.5 seconds left in overtime and considering their upcoming schedule (Arizona twice, then Colorado), I expect their level of motivation NOT to be at its highest point tonight. This could really be a trap game for them. St. Louis has beaten Arizona on 9 straight occasions though… The Coyotes’ offense might get a boost from the NHL debut of their most recent first-round draft pick, Clayton Keller. He recorded 45 points in 31 games with Boston University. He also did great at the 2017 World Junior Championships in Montreal/Toronto by getting 11 points in 7 games (leading his team to a gold medal).

You could also keep track of the line on the Predators: bet them if it moves to +106 (decimal 2.06) or higher.

Cheers!

Professor MJ
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Posted: 3/27/2017 11:19:04 AM
Panthers

Preds

Hurricanes


Professor-MJ PM Professor-MJ
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Posted: 3/28/2017 2:25:26 PM
On the menu tonight we have 11 NHL games. I’ve got 4 profitable bets to propose and a couple more where you may want to keep an eye on the line until puck drop. Let’s see the details!

JETS-DEVILS (Pinnacle -105 vs -105, Prof MJ -113 vs +113)
PREDATORS-BRUINS (Pinnacle +150 vs -166, Prof MJ +158 vs -158)
SENATORS-FLYERS (Pinnacle +112 vs -124, Prof MJ -121 vs +121)
WINGS-HURRICANES (Pinnacle +175 vs -195, Prof MJ +155 vs -155)
SABRES-JACKETS (Pinnacle +196 vs -219, Prof MJ +202 vs -202)
PANTHERS-LEAFS (Pinnacle +134 vs -148, Prof MJ +122 vs -122)
STARS-CANADIENS (Pinnacle +166 vs -184, Prof MJ +208 vs -208)
CAPITALS-WILD (Pinnacle -106 vs -104, Prof MJ -103 vs +103)
KINGS-OILERS (Pinnacle +112 vs -124, Prof MJ +138 vs -138)
DUCKS-CANUCKS (Pinnacle -181 vs +163, Prof MJ -160 vs +160)
RANGERS-SHARKS (Pinnacle +118 vs -130, Prof MJ +107 vs -107)

My first suggestion is to bet the Senators at +112 (decimal 2.12) in Philadelphia. The Flyers are coming off an emotional 6-2 win over their archrivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins. I’m always worried about the level of intensity that will be displayed by a team playing in such circumstances in their next game. Philly has been alternating wins and losses in their last 8 contests, so if the trend continues they should lose tonight (not sure if it really has an impact, but I’m just mentioning the fact for fun!). Ottawa benefited from an additional day of rest. In the previous two meetings this season, each team won on the road in extra time. In fact, the Sens have won in Philadelphia in two of their last 3 visits there. The Flyers won 10 straight games in December, but have posted the second-worst record in the NHL since then!!

My next tip is to bet the Red Wings at +175 (decimal 2.75) in Carolina. Even though both teams are likely to miss the playoffs, they have been playing great hockey of late. The Wings have won 5 of their last 7 matches with both losses ending by a 2-1 mark. Their last 4 games have gone in extra time with Andreas Athanasiou scoring the winning goal in overtime in the last 2 games! The Hurricanes are also doing great, as shown by their 7-0-4 record over their last 11 games. Ironically, their last regulation loss came against the worst team in the league, the Colorado Avalanche (a 3-1 loss exactly three weeks ago). The Wings won this season’s two previous meetings, including last night’s 4-3 overtime win. We are going to witness a rare phenomenon as Detroit will be playing a 3rd game in 3 nights. This fact was, of course, accounted for in my projections.

Next up I’ve got the Panthers at +134 (decimal 2.34) in Toronto. We are observing a “reverse line movement” on this game, which is something I really like to see when I bet on a certain team. More specifically, more than 70% of the bets have gone on the Leafs, and yet the line has moved in the opposite direction. I smell sharp money backing Florida. Curtis McElhinney will be in net for Toronto. The Panthers have lost their last two games at Air Canada Centre, but they had won 7 of the previous 9 before that.

Here we go with a fourth underdog by picking the Rangers at +118 (decimal 2.18) in San Jose. What’s up with the Sharks? The numbers are jaw-dropping: six straight losses by a combined 23-7 score (what??? 7 goals scored in 6 games?), including getting blown up in their last two matches (7-2 and 6-1). Things won’t get any easier by playing a tough Rangers squad without Logan Couture who lost several teeth when he was hit by the puck a few days ago. It’s unclear whether Marc-Edouard Vlasic will be able to suit up or not tonight.

Have fun watching the games and we’ll talk again tomorrow!

Professor MJ
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Posted: 3/29/2017 12:12:28 PM
Pretty quiet night in the NHL this Wednesday with only four games. I am not projecting lines on Washington-Colorado because the line is off the board at this time of writing (also, it’s not exciting to handicap games where a strong team faces a very weak one). I am cautiously advising to bet one game:

BLACKHAWKS-PENGUINS (Pinnacle +109 vs -120, Prof MJ +125 vs -125)
KINGS-FLAMES (Pinnacle +119 vs -131, Prof MJ +149 vs -149)
BLUES-COYOTES (Pinnacle -176 vs +159, Prof MJ -166 vs +166)

You could contemplate betting the Flames at -131 (decimal 1.76) against the Kings. Los Angeles will be playing a second game in as many nights after playing in Edmonton the previous evening. At some point around 2014-2015, the Flames beat the Kings on 5 occasions out of 6 tries. Then, Los Angeles went on to win the next five matchups, including a decisive 5-0 win earlier this season. However, the Flames have come back to win two consecutive games at home against them (2-1 on February 28th and 5-2 ten days ago). Calgary is a respectable 4-3 since their 10-game winning streak was halted. The Kings rode a 5-game winning streak in early February, but have now won only 8 games out of their past 22. The return of Jonathan Quick has not been enough to spark the team, as they remain around the .500 mark.

Thank you for reading this daily report, I appreciate a lot!

Professor MJ
livin2gamble PM livin2gamble
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Posted: 3/29/2017 4:33:48 PM
with ya on Flames, been watchin LA yesterday and they looked desintrested most of time, calgary have much power than Oil , got them in reg at 2.27 decimal, Bishop between the pipes makes it even more attractive. bol tonight MJ
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Posted: 3/30/2017 12:07:47 PM
Today I’m suggesting three picks out of the 9 games on the menu in the NHL. I will also write a few words about the Florida-Montreal game. Here are the day’s projections!

ISLANDERS-FLYERS (Pinnacle +122 vs -135, Prof MJ +125 vs -125)
JACKETS-HURRICANES (Pinnacle -115 vs +104, Prof MJ -138 vs +138)
PANTHERS-CANADIENS (Pinnacle +166 vs -185, Prof MJ +172 vs -172)
WINGS-LIGHTNING (Pinnacle +175 vs -195, Prof MJ +185 vs -185)
STARS-BRUINS (Pinnacle +183 vs -204, Prof MJ +188 vs -188)
LEAFS-PREDATORS (Pinnacle +122 vs -135, Prof MJ +127 vs -127)
SENATORS-WILD (Pinnacle +134 vs -148, Prof MJ +117 vs -117)
DUCKS-JETS (Pinnacle -116 vs +105, Prof MJ -130 vs +130)
SHARKS-OILERS (Pinnacle +115 vs -127, Prof MJ +119 vs -119)

I’m taking the Blue Jackets at -115 (decimal 1.87) in Carolina. Both teams have won 7 of their last 10 contests, with the Hurricanes now recording at least a point in 12 consecutive games. I don’t mean to downplay their accomplishments, but they haven’t faced tough opposition recently: the toughest opponents over the last 7 games have been Montreal and Nashville. The Jackets are definitely a step above all of those teams. Columbus has won 2 of this year’s 3 meetings with the Canes. Bobrovsky has started the last 3 games, and with the Jackets playing in Carolina tonight and in Chicago tomorrow, I expect Korpisalo to be the starter. The projections were made under this assumption, and yet I’m picking Columbus. If Bobrovsky starts, that will simply be a bonus. The Hurricanes have been playing above their heads for a while now and I expect them to come back to earth against one of the league’s best teams tonight.

The next pick goes to Ottawa at +134 (decimal 2.34) in Minnesota. As soon as I heard that the Wild had recalled Alex Stalock from the AHL and that “sources said he might even start Thursday night”, I jumped on Ottawa at +144 yesterday afternoon. The line has dropped 10 cents since, but my projections still see value in this line. Stalock has indeed been confirmed as the starter: he will be making his first NHL start of the 2016-2017 campaign. As a member of the Sharks, he went 24-19-7 with a 2.37 GAA and a 91.1% save percentage (respectable numbers). Zach Parise will be out after taking a high-stick in the eye against Washington. During the last 4 meetings in Minnesota, Ottawa has not been intimidated at all: they won 3 of them, with the only loss ending in a shootout. Both teams are struggling as the Wild have won a single game out of their last 10, while Ottawa has dropped six of eight. As I said before, when two struggling teams meet I like to go with the underdog (generally speaking).

Finally, I’m betting the Ducks at -116 (1.86) in Winnipeg. The only thing I don’t like here is Ryan Getzlaf missing the team’s last game with a “surprise” injury that came out of nowhere. Will he be playing tonight? No word as of yet. Now, on to the good news: Anaheim has won 8 of the past 9 meetings against the Jets, including 5 straight in Winnipeg. Also, Anaheim’s head coach Randy Carlyle played his last 9 seasons as a player in Winnipeg: his players will certainly be motivated to get him the W. The Ducks are riding a 5-game winning streak (9 wins out of the last 11 matches, with both losses by a single goal). The Jets are coming off two consecutive victories, but beating the Devils 4-3 in a shootout and the Canucks 2-1 isn’t anything to write home about.

A few notes about the Panthers-Canadiens game: call me pessimistic if you will, but as a Canadiens fan this game worries me quite a bit. I’m not saying you should bet the Panthers, but I would stay away from Montreal with such a money line (-185). Sure, Reto Berra will be in net against Carey Price, which is a great matchup for the Habs. But keep in mind that the Panthers had beaten Montreal 5 straight times before losing 3-2 in overtime last December. They have been doing very well against the Canadiens. After having a great season last year, Florida has disappointed badly in 2016-2017 but I feel like they are being underrated. Huberdeau missed several games, which didn’t help. He has recorded 23 points in 25 games, which is great. He and Marchessault will be highly motivated playing in front of their family in Montreal.

Once again I thank you for reading my daily projections!

Professor MJ
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Posted: 4/3/2017 11:14:17 AM
We are entering the final week of the NHL regular season! Each of tonight’s three games has a certain level of playoff implication. From a gambling perspective, I see one value play. Let’s have a look at the complete projections:

LEAFS-SABRES (Pinnacle -146 vs +132, Prof MJ -134 vs +134)
SENATORS-WINGS (Pinnacle -105 vs -105, Prof MJ -104 vs +104)
CANADIENS-PANTHERS (Pinnacle -140 vs +127, Prof MJ -160 vs +160)

My only pick for Monday night goes to the Canadiens at -140 (decimal 1.71) in Florida. This is not necessarily a “road” game for Montreal since they usually have thousands of fans in attendance when they play in Florida. The proportion of Habs fans will be even greater tonight considering the Panthers are officially eliminated. Montreal has won 7 of their last 10 games in Florida! The Canadiens are riding a 4-game winning streak. They seem to have really turned things around after going through a difficult stretch, as shown their 13-3-1 record since February 25th, which coincides more or less with the replacement of Michel Therrien with Claude Julien as head coach.

Things are looking bleak in Panthers land. After winning the Atlantic division title last season, they fired their head coach in late November and have won only 22 games out of 56 since then (a .393 record). Key injuries are also piling on: their top forward Aleksander Barkov, their top defenceman Aaron Ekblad and their first two goalies (Luongo and Reimer) are all hurt and questionable for tonight. Reto Berra is expected to be the starter in net, but no official word yet.

Have a nice week everyone!

Professor MJ
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Posted: 4/4/2017 3:08:58 PM
We have more exciting games with playoff implications in the NHL tonight. From a betting perspective, I see 3 profitable bets including one that has an estimated ROI (Return On Investment) above 20%. All of my picks are road underdogs, so bet at your own risk and remember that the win percentage on such picks inevitably leads to a win percentage below 50%, but the objective is to end up with positive return in the long run. Let’s have a look at today’s hockey projections:

LIGHTNING-BRUINS (Pinnacle +145 vs -161, Prof MJ +146 vs -146)
FLYERS-DEVILS (Pinnacle -130 vs +118, Prof MJ -131 vs +131)
JACKETS-PENGUINS (Pinnacle +120 vs -133, Prof MJ +105 vs -105)
CAPITALS-LEAFS (Pinnacle -143 vs +129, Prof MJ -140 vs +140)
WINGS-SENATORS (Pinnacle +162 vs -180, Prof MJ +161 vs -161)
JETS-BLUES (Pinnacle +141 vs -156, Prof MJ +155 vs -155)
ISLANDERS-PREDATORS (Pinnacle +180 vs -201, Prof MJ +167 vs -167)
HURRICANES-WILD (Pinnacle +164 vs -182, Prof MJ +180 vs -180)
COYOTES-STARS (Pinnacle +193 vs -215, Prof MJ +144 vs -144)
BLACKHAWKS-AVALANCHE (Pinnacle -241 vs +215, Prof MJ -211 vs +211)
FLAMES-DUCKS (Pinnacle +127 vs -140, Prof MJ +123 vs -123)
OILERS-KINGS (Pinnacle +100 vs -110, Prof MJ -108 vs +108)
CANUCKS-SHARKS (Pinnacle +227 vs -255, Prof MJ +241 vs -241)

My favorite bet has to be the Coyotes +193 (decimal 2.93) in Dallas. Both teams are eliminated and are showcasing younger players. I don’t believe the line should be that high. Mike Smith has been confirmed as the starter for Arizona, which is good news. Meanwhile, the Stars are sending Antti Niemi between the pipes whose numbers are pretty ordinary: a 3.31 GAA along with a save percentage of .892 (as a comparison, Dallas’ starting goalie Kari Lehtonen holds a 2.80 GAA and a .904 save percentage). Sure, the Coyotes will miss their best defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson who flew to Sweden to attend his mother’s funeral. He won’t be back with the team this season. Arizona is riding a two-game winning streak after beating Washington and Los Angeles. They will try to match their season’s longest winning streak at 3. Dallas is back at home after five straight games on the road.

I also like the Blue Jackets +120 (decimal 2.20) in Pittsburgh. Evgeni Malkin is officially out for tonight. The projections were made assuming Sergei Bobrovsky would be in net for Columbus, even though there is no confirmation yet. He has posted good numbers against the Pens this year: 2-0-1 with a 1.95 GAA and a .930 save percentage. Both teams have very similar records with the Jackets showing a better goal differential (+59 versus +45 for Pittsburgh). With Malkin out, the line should be closer to +105 versus -105. Oliver Bjorkstrand should be back on the ice for Columbus. The Penguins are on a 2-game winning streak while the Jackets are on a 3-game losing streak (they lost at Carolina, at Chicago and against Washington). These two teams are very likely to face each other in the first round of the playoffs: tonight’s game will go a long way in determining who gets home-ice advantage.

I’m betting another long shot with the Islanders +180 (decimal 2.80) in Nashville. The line is pretty high and most likely the result of an overreaction to the Tavares injury. The Islanders won 4 straight meetings against the Preds before losing the most recent two matchups. Halak will defend NY’s cage: he is 3-1 since being recalled from Bridgeport (AHL).

If the line moves from +100 to +105 (decimal 2.05) on the Oilers, I recommend betting them in Los Angeles. They have been playing extremely well for a while now, and they will benefit from one additional day of rest compared to the Kings. Los Angeles was officially eliminated from playoff contention following an awful 2-1 home loss to Arizona, capping a very disappointing season. The motivation level will be much higher on Edmonton’s side since they are only 2 points back of the top spot in the Pacific division with one game in hand.

Enjoy the games tonight!!

Professor MJ
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Posted: 4/5/2017 3:12:40 PM
There are only two games in the NHL tonight. First, the Canadiens will face off with the Sabres in Buffalo, in what figures to be a meaningless game. The Habs have already secured the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference and will play the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs. Carey Price will be the starter in net for Montreal, while Robin Lehner will defend Buffalo’s cage. The Habs will be without Shea Weber and the Sabres won’t have Kyle Okposo on the ice tonight.

The other game features the Rangers in Washington. New York will be resting 4 players who have minor injuries: Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello, Ryan McDonaugh and Jesper Fast. On Washington’s side, they may also be without their leader in average time on ice, John Carlson. He missed last night’s game and is questionable. The Rangers have won the last 2 meetings in Washington. Lundqvist is 21-10-4 in his career versus Washington, while Holtby has a 7-9-1 record against the Rangers.

Neither game provides a profitable bet. Let’s see the projections nonetheless:

CANADIENS-SABRES (Pinnacle -139 vs +126, Prof MJ -130 vs +130)
RANGERS-CAPITALS (Pinnacle +166 vs -185, Prof MJ +162 vs -162)

Cheers!

Professor MJ
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Posted: 4/5/2017 6:41:46 PM
Rangers are at +186 now. I assume it's a good bet now? A good site to keep track of changing odds and get notifications is oddsportal.com. As always, thanks for your time in putting your projections together!
Professor-MJ PM Professor-MJ
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Posted: 4/6/2017 3:55:38 PM
QUOTE Originally Posted by SBT:

Rangers are at +186 now. I assume it's a good bet now? A good site to keep track of changing odds and get notifications is oddsportal.com. As always, thanks for your time in putting your projections together!

It may not have been a good bet. You have to wonder what triggered the line change. Most of the time it can be an injury, or the announcement of a starting goalie. So it depends.
Professor-MJ PM Professor-MJ
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Posted: 4/6/2017 4:00:00 PM
There are only 4 days left in the NHL regular season. The playoff picture should be clearer after tonight’s 12 games. From a betting perspective, I see 5 value bets. The details are shown below:

SENATORS-BRUINS (Pinnacle +182 vs -203, Prof MJ +150 vs -150)
PENGUINS-DEVILS (Pinnacle -163 vs +147, Prof MJ -155 vs +155)
ISLANDERS-HURRICANES (Pinnacle +113 vs -125, Prof MJ +140 vs -140)
JETS-JACKETS (Pinnacle +156 vs -173, Prof MJ +178 vs -178)
LIGHTNING-LEAFS (Pinnacle +130 vs -144, Prof MJ +138 vs -138)
BLUES-PANTHERS (Pinnacle -121 vs +110, Prof MJ -136 vs +136)
PREDATORS-STARS (Pinnacle -118 vs +107, Prof MJ -134 vs +134)
WILD-AVALANCHE (Pinnacle -174 vs +157, Prof MJ -162 vs +162)
CANUCKS-COYOTES (Pinnacle -116 vs +105, Prof MJ +113 vs -113)
BLACKHAWKS-DUCKS (Pinnacle +118 vs -130, Prof MJ +125 vs -125)
FLAMES-KINGS (Pinnacle +127 vs -140, Prof MJ +133 vs -133)
OILERS-SHARKS (Pinnacle +111 vs -123, Prof MJ +117 vs -117)

I like the Coyotes +105 (decimal 2.05) against the Canucks. Arizona has shown some improvement recently, as illustrated by their 6-6-2 record over their last 14 games. Meanwhile, Vancouver has won only two games over that same time period. It’s pretty unbelievable that the team has scored a meager 4 goals in the last 5 contests!! Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata should be back on the ice for the Coyotes. Louis Domingue will be Arizona’s netminder tonight. In case you didn’t know, he has won 5 of his last 6 starts while posting a great .942 save percentage!

I recommend picking the Senators +182 (decimal 2.82) in Boston. I don’t necessarily firmly believe they will win the game, but such odds are implying that Vegas thinks Ottawa has at most a 35.5% chance of winning this game (1 / 2.82). I don’t agree with that. The Bruins’ leading scorer, Brad Marchand, has been suspended (yet again!) for the next two games. The Sens are also going to be missing some key parts with Erik Karlsson sidelined once again, as well as Ceci, Methot and perhaps Bobby Ryan. Ottawa has won the last 5 meetings with Boston. Craig Anderson and Tuukka Rask have been confirmed as the starters. These two teams are battling with Toronto to gain home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

I’m betting the Blues -121 (decimal 1.83) in Florida. The Panthers look like a team that cannot wait until the season ends. Their GM Tom Rowe made a controversial decision earlier this season by firing Gerard Gallant and replacing him behind the bench. The move did not turn out so well: the team holds a .379 record since then. The team has now lost 16 of its past 21 matches. The Panthers just seem like a team that does not care anymore. As if they needed more bad news, they are without their top forward Barkov and their top defenceman Ekblad, while St. Louis might get 3 players back from injuries tonight (including Paul Stastny). The Blues are trying to hold on to the 3rd place in the Central division as they have a one-point lead over Nashville.

I’m picking the Hurricanes -125 against the Islanders. Carolina went on a 13-game stretch where they recorded at least one point, but have now lost their last three games which officially eliminated them from playoff contention. They’ve got stunning numbers against the Islanders: not only are they 3-0-1 versus the Isles this year, but they are 6-0-3 in the previous nine meetings! New York is still hoping to make the playoffs, but their chances are extremely small especially without their leader, John Tavares (lower-body injury). A bright spot for them recently has been the play of goalie Jaroslav Halak. He has been great since being recalled from the AHL. He has allowed only 4 goals in his last 3 games (which he all won). His save percentage over his 5 starts since joining the big club back? 93.9%. Still, I like the Canes in this game.

Finally, I’m going with Nashville -118 (1.85) in Dallas. The Stars have started increasing the playing time of younger players, which is good news for Preds’ fans. Nashville is trying to catch up the Blues for 3rd place in the Central division to avoid playing one of the top two teams in the Western Conference (Chicago and Anaheim). Facing the Wild may not look like a walk in the park either, but considering their struggles over the last few weeks, it might be the better option. Juuse Saros is the likely starter in net for the Preds. I don’t mind it at all since his numbers have been just as good as Rinne’s (they are actually slightly better).

Have a good evening!

Professor MJ
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Posted: 4/12/2017 2:14:51 PM
We have finally reached the best time of the year: the Stanley Cup playoffs are set to begin!

Today I’ve got a special edition for you, as I will be projecting playoff series. I won’t be making daily projections throughout the postseason (like I did in the regular season). Instead, I will post picks based on winning strategies I found through an in-depth study from the past 9 years. I did not post this analysis on Covers because we are limited with the number of characters and it would have taken me a lot of time setting up the Excel tables. If interested, PM me please.

As a statistician, it is natural that I introduce a couple of advanced metrics. Don’t worry, nothing super complicated. Throughout this write-up, I will mention two such statistics:

- “Corsi tied”: Shots attempts FOR / (Shots attempts FOR + Shots attempts AGAINST). In other words, we are looking at the percentage of shots a team made on the opposing net relative to the total shot attempts made by both teams. Calculated when teams were playing 5-on-5 and the game was tied. So if a given team has a “Corsi tied” of 52%, it means out of all the shots that were attempted in their games, 52% came from them versus only 48% by their opponents. It tends to show whether a team controlled the puck more often than their opponents (a possession metric).

- “5-on-5 Zone Start Pct”: Number of faceoffs in offensive zone / (Number of faceoffs in offensive zone + Number of faceoffs in defensive zone). From now on, let’s call it “5-on-5 ZS %”. For example, Arizona was the worst team with respect to this metric during the 2016-2017 season with a value of 43.58%. It means that if you omit all neutral zone faceoffs, 43.58% of the faceoffs occurred in the Coyotes offensive zone versus 56.42% of the faceoffs in their defensive zone. Not good.

I’m not claiming those stats are amazingly good at predicting future outcomes, I simply wish to use them as an additional tool to shed some light on each team’s performance.

All right, so let’s get down to business!

**NEW YORK RANGERS VERSUS MONTREAL CANADIENS**

          | Record | Goal differential | Corsi tied | 5-on-5 ZS %
----------|--------|---------|---------|---------|---------
Rangers | 48-28-6 (102 pts) | +36 | 47.39% (27th) | 48.68% (21st) 
Canadiens | 47-26-9 (103 pts) | +26 | 52.86% (4th) | 48.38% (23rd) 

Series price: Rangers +122 vs Canadiens -135 (decimal: Rangers 2.22 vs Canadiens 1.74)

Habs fans remember all too well the last time these two teams met in the playoffs. Chris Kreider collided with goalie Carey Price in the very first game of the Eastern Conference finals to knock him out for the rest of the series. New York went on to win the series 4-2 leaving a bittersweet taste in the mouth of Montreal fans.

Montreal has enjoyed a lot of success against the Rangers recently. The Habs won all 3 meetings this year, and have won 6 of the last 7 matchups overall. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist once said he doesn’t like to play at the Bell Centre because the crowd is overly excited and loud. He’d better bring some ear plugs because fans get even crazier in the playoffs. The numbers also show he’s struggling in this arena: he has won 4 games out of 11 while posting a very bad 3.97 GAA. His save percentage this year was his lowest of his career at .910.

As you can see in the table above, the goal differential favors New York, but Montreal has a much better “Corsi tied” and has been playing better under new coach Claude Julien. Montreal’s penalty kill was pretty ordinary under Michel Therrien, but has been 1st in the league since Claude Julien took over. New York’s power play is slightly better than Montreal’s, converting 19.8% occasions as opposed to 19.6% for the Habs.

Not holding home-ice advantage probably doesn’t affect the Rangers all that much considering they held the best road record this season.

Both teams are pretty healthy as the only notable players to miss the first game of the series are Alexei Emelin for Montreal and Jesper Fast for New York. Shea Weber is expected to be back on the ice for the Habs.

FINAL PICK: I’m betting Montreal -135 (decimal 1.74) to win in 6 games (maybe even in 5, but that may be too bold of a statement).

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Posted: 4/12/2017 2:16:04 PM
**BOSTON BRUINS VERSUS OTTAWA SENATORS**

          | Record | Goal differential | Corsi tied | 5-on-5 ZS %
----------|--------|---------|---------|---------|---------
Bruins | 44-31-7 (95 pts) | +22 | 53.77% (3rd) | 53.28% (3rd) 
Senators | 44-28-10 (98 pts) | -2 | 48.07% (24th) | 51.68% (9th) 

Series price: Bruins -200 vs Senators +180 (decimal: Bruins 1.50 vs Senators 2.80)

Ottawa swept the season series 4-0. During those 4 games, they limited Boston to a single 5-on-5 goal! They have won 8 of the past 9 meetings with the Bruins. They hold home-ice advantage. And yet, they are established as pretty big underdogs in this series.

Boston has the edge over Ottawa based on every statistic in the table above, except the record. The Bruins also have a playoff pedigree and are perceived by the public as a “tough playoff team”. That came into play when setting up the line.

The Bruins suffered a pretty big blow when their leading scorer among defencemen Torey Krug was ruled out of the entire first round of the playoffs. Brandon Carlo finished 3rd in the team in terms of average time on ice, and he is out for at least game #1. And with Zdeno Chara looking slower than ever, they might have some issues in their defensive end.

Other than Marc Methot, the Sens might have a full lineup. Several players missed a few games because of injuries in the second portion of the regular season (Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Bobby Ryan and Cody Ceci), but they should all be ready when the puck drops tonight.

The Bruins have looked great since hiring Bruce Cassidy behind the bench, going 18-8-1. They went through a 4-game losing streak at some point, but other than that they were pretty consistent. Did you know Boston went 11-29 against teams that made the playoffs? That’s a jaw-dropping statistic! Ottawa came close to missing the playoffs when they went through a stretch where they won 2 games out of 11, but they rebounded just in time by winning three straight to secure a playoff spot.

FINAL PICK: I’m betting Ottawa +180 (decimal 2.80). I believe it will be a very tight series: I don’t know who is going to make it to the second round, but at +180 the odds offer too much value to pass. I’ll go with Ottawa in 7 games.

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Posted: 4/12/2017 2:17:16 PM
**COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS VERSUS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS**

          | Record | Goal differential | Corsi tied | 5-on-5 ZS %
----------|--------|---------|---------|---------|---------
Blue Jackets | 50-24-8 (108 pts) | +54 | 49.80% (15th) | 49.37% (18th) 
Penguins | 50-21-11 (111 pts) | +48 | 49.75% (16th) | 52.85% (5th) 

Series price: Blue Jackets +140 vs Penguins -155 (decimal: Blue Jackets 2.40 vs Penguins 1.645)

The teams split the season series with 2 wins each. Over the last 10 meetings, each team has won 5 games. If you look at the numbers above, they are also pretty evenly matched (except for the 5-on-5 Zone Start Percentage which is clearly in favor of Pittsburgh).

It’s important to note that the Pens suffered a rash of injuries over the last few weeks (including Malkin), but still managed to play at a high level. That says a lot about this team. Most injured players will be back in time for the start of the playoffs, except Kris Letang who has been ruled out for the entire postseason and Carl Hagelin plus Chris Kunitz who may play at some point during the first round. Is Malkin 100%? I’m not so sure about that…

The Pens also hold a lot more playoff experience than Columbus. They are the defending Stanley Cup champions after all. This year marks the 11th consecutive season where Pittsburgh made the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Jackets are back in the big dance for the first time since being eliminated in six games by those same Penguins three years ago.

Pittsburgh had the #1 offense this season, but the Jackets have the edge in net. Bobrovsky posted a 2.06 GAA (league-best) with a .931 save percentage, while Murray allowed 2.41 goals per game on average while stopping 92.3% of shots. However, I’m worried about the fatigue factor: Bobrovsky played 63 games compared to 49 for Murray.

Both teams did not end the regular season on a very high note, especially Columbus which lost 6 straight matches before finally snapping the skid with a 3-2 win in Toronto. The Pens lost their last 2 games, but the last one was meaningless.

FINAL PICK: From a betting perspective, I believe the line offers no value, it looks fine to me. I’ll take the Penguins in 6 games, perhaps even 7 games, in what should be a very tough and physical series.

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