Tuesday NHL Betting Odds and Picks: Please, Not the Red Wings (Jan. 7, 2020)


Bill Smith, Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmy Howard

Jan 07, 2020, 11:19 AM EST

At the end of the college football season, a few of our analysts and editors put out our first annual “Do Not Bet List.”

The point of the exercise was to highlight teams that were so unquantifiably bad, that they broke models.

Stuckey and Collin Wilson’s numbers would almost always show value on teams like Rutgers, Akron and UMass, but they learned over time that their projections just couldn’t catch up with the ineptitude these teams displayed on any given Saturday.

As soon as we started talking about that list, I wondered if a similar one would be beneficial for hockey, especially since my betting strategy in the NHL usually leads to backing underdogs. I didn’t think it a “DNB List” would translate to hockey — the gap in talent between good and bad teams in the NHL is just a blip compared to what it is in college football — but now I’m starting to think I was wrong about that.

And it’s all the Detroit Red Wings’ fault.

Tuesday NHL Odds and Picks

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Canadiens at Red Wings Odds

  • Canadiens odds: -165
  • Red Wings odds: +140
  • Over/Under: 5.5
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

The Montreal Canadiens are on the road. They are playing on the second night of a back-to-back. They are missing three top-six forwards. They are still -165 favorites with an implied probability of 59.9%.

According to their expected goals, the Canadiens deserve a better record. Montreal has the eighth-best expected goals rate (xG%) in the league and is generating the third-most (2.63) xGs and fifth-most high-danger scoring chances (11.8) per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. Quite simply, Montreal is one of the best teams in the league at generating opportunities.

The opposite is true of the Red Wings, who score a league-worst 1.65 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. You could say the Wings are a little snakebitten, any team this bad will suffer from poor puck luck, but Detroit’s severe lack of talent makes living up to their putrid 2.06 expected goals nearly impossible. Scoring goals is an absolute chore for the Red Wings.



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