NHL Betting: Has the Market Overreacted to Calgary’s Struggles?

NHL Betting: Has the Market Overreacted to Calgary’s Struggles? article feature image
Credit:

Candice Ward, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Mike Smith

Betting odds: New York Islanders at Philadelphia Flyers

  • Islanders moneyline: +145
  • Flyers moneyline: -165
  • Over/Under: 6 (-120/+100)
  • Puck drop: 1 p.m. ET

Neither the Flyers (4-6-0, 10 points) nor the Islanders (3-4-1, 7 points) are off to strong starts and their underlying numbers don’t really suggest that they’ve been unlucky. In fact, you could argue both teams are lucky to have as many points as they do given their expected goals (xG)

The Flyers are creating 2.17 xGF per 60 minutes but are allowing 2.66 xGA/60, while the Isles are creating just 1.76 xGF/60 and allowing 2.33 xGA/60.

The Islanders “xG pace” (the amount of xGF + xGA at 5v5 per 60) is the fourth-lowest in the NHL and they actually have done a decent job of limiting quality chances despite owning just 42.2% of the shot share.

The Flyers don’t have great Corsi numbers either (48%) so this could end up being closer than the odds suggest.

Philadelphia is the better team but these odds imply the Flyers have a 62.3% chance of winning against just 40.8%. I’d say these odds underestimate the visitors by a little bit and would suggest playing the Islanders down to +138 (42%).

The Bet: New York Islanders +145

Betting odds: Washington Capitals at Calgary Flames

  • Capitals moneyline: -110
  • Flames moneyline: -110
  • Over/Under: 6.5 (-105/-115)
  • Puck drop: 4 p.m. ET

The last time we saw the Calgary Flames they were getting their doors blown off by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. The Penguins won that game, 9-1, and outscored Calgary 7-1 at 5v5.

It was another ugly game in goal for Mike Smith as the 36-year-old allowed five goals on 21 shots before being yanked in the second period. Smith has been the worst goaltender in the NHL this season with a -5.34 Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA) and .878 even strength save percentage in seven games.

Even though Smith has been bad this year, the Flames haven’t helped him out much. As a team, Calgary is allowing 15.76 High-Danger Scoring Chances per 60 minutes at 5v5 (HDSC/60), the most in the NHL.

The good news is that the Capitals allow the fifth-most HDSC/60 (13.54) and only generate 9.32 per 60. That pales in comparison to Calgary, which produces 12.68 HDSC/60, good enough for seventh-most in the NHL.

At -110/-110, the market is implying that Washington would be around -125 on neutral ice against the Flames. The Caps are the better team but the margin is  thinner than that. This is a classic case of recency bias as Calgary’s 9-1 loss is creating a buy-low opportunity on Saturday afternoon.

Betting on Mike Smith at this junction isn’t fun but he’s a better goalie — which isn’t to say he’s good — than he’s shown so far.

The Bet: Calgary Flames -110

Betting odds: Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins

  • Canadiens moneyline: +160
  • Bruins moneyline: -185
  • Over/Under: 5.5 (-110/-110)
  • Puck drop: 7 p.m. ET

Boston came into the season as one of the Stanley Cup favorites, while Montreal entered 2018-19 as one of the biggest longshots.

Three weeks into the season and the Bruins are where we expected them to be and the Habs are right behind them, serving as one of the season’s early surprises.

Montreal’s start hasn’t been a fluke, either. The Canadiens are generating 2.34 xGF/60 and rank fifth in the NHL with a 2.08 xGA/60.

The Bruins also limit scoring chances against and rank third in the NHL in xGA/60 at 1.95. The B’s don’t generate too many scoring chances for, but they are so good at suppressing shot attempts and scoring chances that it doesn’t matter much.

All that being said, Boston is pretty banged up right now — especially on defense where it could be without their two best defensemen. Charlie McAvoy is almost certainly out and Torey Krug is questionable and hasn’t played a game yet this season. Fellow rearguard Kevan Miller is also a doubt to play and forward David Backes didn’t practice on Friday.

With the B’s not near 100% the value is on Montreal to pull off the upset.

The Bet: Montreal Canadiens +165