Locky’s First Period NHL Model, 2/20: Price vs. Trends

Locky’s First Period NHL Model, 2/20: Price vs. Trends article feature image

Kim Klement, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Sean Monahan, Mark Giordano and Johnny Gaudreau

Good morning!

Yesterday was a very successful day for the model, as throughout the day edges ended up accruing on almost the entire slate, many of which won. It was fun.

This was of course capped by the two largest edges vs openers — Predators-Stars under, and Blue Jackets-Canadiens over — winning as well.

So the good news is, basically no matter when you entered the market you probably won money yesterday. Which makes me happy.

As for today, you’re going to hear a lot of noise about Chicago again (they are playing Detroit tonight). There are now widely-shared graphics and statistics about how Chicago (and Tampa Bay, and others) have done against the first-period total this season.

What all of that noise fails to mention is, well, only the most important thing about sports betting:  price.

If you are betting a team’s first period total because that has been successful looking back, at what price would you bet them in this game tonight? When would you bet the other side, going against the trend that you are basing your bet off of?

There is really no good answer to these questions, because trends don’t involve pricing.

If Chicago-Detroit over 1.5 was -1000 tonight, should you bet it because of the trend? Think about how absurd that sounds the more absurd I make the price. What about -2000? What’s the cut-off? How large should your bet be? And you really shouldn’t take the under if it was +1000 or +1200? Really?!?

Most importantly, the type of analysis we are doing here (and which you are absolutely encouraged to try out) will often point you to value on those same sides, be it Tampa’s over, and Chicago’s, and Dallas’s under.

But when we arrive at those conclusions (the same ones you would reach with the trends), we at least have some understanding of whether there is value in the market, how much value there is, and therefore how large of a bet we should make.

We can understand that when the price gets too high, there is no longer value in making the bet. Knowing how often Chicago has gone over the first-period total this season doesn’t answer those questions for you, nor should it.

All of this isn’t to say trends have no value at all — over the course of a significant amount of trials, there are absolutely trends that become important in sports, perhaps involving rest, or travel, or a specific team vs. team match-up, or how a team rebounds in a given sport after being soundly beaten the game before.

If a college basketball team travels three games in a row (common among lower-tier teams that get paid by bigger conferences), is it really so bizarre to expect their performance by the third road game to suffer? And then more importantly, how can we quantify that to make an adjustment to our numbers? This is where trends can become really valuable in your handicapping process.

A Reminder

If you’re new here, I build a model to handicap first-period over/unders in the NHL.

To provide the greatest value to you the bettor, each of these articles will include a downloadable Excel file at the bottom. In it, you can insert the line at your sportsbook of choice and see the bets that are — and aren’t — offering value, according to my model.

For more info on my model, check out the story below.

Locky’s First-Period NHL Over/Unders: Full Slate Breakdown

Download the Excel doc to input odds from your sportsbooks. The table below is best viewed on a desktop computer.