NHL Betting 101: How to handle high-priced hockey faves

Every night the hockey betting lineup is littered with expensive moneyline odds but with our sports betting data we’ve developed a step by step approach for helping weed through the overpriced teams to nail down the winners


If you like high-priced NHL favorites there are plenty to choose from on the Friday night hockey betting lineup starting with the New York Islanders in Pittsburgh where online bookmakers are pricing the Pens in the range of -185 to -210.


Vancouver at St. Louis (-190) is another chalk duster’s delight and the Rocky Mountain nightcap between Carolina and Colorado is set with odds of Avalanche -220; sure to be prime target for late-night chasers and parlay studs looking to hook-up their college football best bets for Saturday.


We ran the early season numbers for big time moneyline home favorites of -180 or more at SportsDatabase.com and despite their mediocre 68-percent hit rate since 2006, these juice doctors have been on a serious run the past couple seasons going 29-10 straight-up (74-percent).


First let me remind you that when I call 68-percent winners “mediocre” I am referring to the calculated win percentage with juice included. To arrive at this number you would simply take the odds for a NHL moneyline fave and divide it by those same odds +100. Use this line for the ultimate sports betting database to get a better picture:


SDQL: HF and line<=-180 and month=10 and season,1


The average cost on these faves was -209.8 meaning they would need to hit at least 67.7-percent just to break even. Thus, the 68-percent cash rate proves that once again, sportsbook bosses are doing their jobs. (Note that 2012 season is omitted since games did not begin until January)


Take it a step further and we can see that from 2006 to 2010 these October faves were only 96-48 (66.7-percent) – a lower record, while the average cost was slightly higher at -210.5 (SDQL Text: HF and line<=-180 and month=10 and 2006<=season<=2010 and season,1)


As we stated earlier, the chalk dusters went 11-4 in 2011 and 18-6 so far in 2013 (29-10) with an average price of -207:


Take the odds of -207 and divide by (207 + 100) to equal 67.4-percent



Congratulations if you’ve been riding teams like the Blackhawks (6-1-3), Pens (7-2) and Sharks (8-1-1) to glory through the past few weeks – Your mother must be very proud! But if you missed the boat because you’re afraid of moneyline faves over -180 (like you should be), what do you do now? Jump in and start nervously watching 2-to-1 money dance on the edge of razor or do you go the other route and “fade” away?


My advice is to not take either of those approaches. Blanket betting has a tendency to develop moth balls at an alarming rate and moths eat holes in blankets faster than Bill Belichick thinks of new ways to cheat. Let’s try this approach instead:


1. Run some ranges: Free access to the NHL Sports Data Query Language allows you to get creative with your handicapping, unlocking the questions that used to seem like things only computer geeks from ESPN could figure out. Check this code for moneyline faves in different categories for five major price points:


HF and month=10 and season>=2006 and -180, -201, -216, -246>=line>=-200, -215, -245, -400


For our money the top group seems like the -216 to -245 teams. They have the highest margin of victory (1.21 GPG), the highest win percentage (75-percent) and with an average line of -230 you “only” need to be right 69.6-percent of the time for a 5.4-percent clearance.


2. Total it up: Hockey games with an Over/Under line of 5 have a different feel that games with 6 or 6.5 and when `capping these games there are some things to consider. Is the backup goalie starting, is there an injury to a top line center? I’m not saying that with 5.5’s you don’t research those items but there is a reason why such a lesser percentage games get the 5/6. So we checked results for different totals and found that with games on a 5 or 6 the home fave was 40-12 (77-percent).


3. Put it together: The combinations are limitless once you start mastering the codes for parameters and in this particular scenario the best angle we uncovered was backing faves between -201 and -245 with a total of either 5 or 6. Since 2006 these teams are a combined 21-4 with average margins of 1.29 and 2.00 GPG respectively. Here’s the code – DON’T LOSE IT!


HF and month = 10 and season>=2006 and -201 >= line >= -245 and total=5, 6


That last stat on ‘margin of victory’ opens the door to regulation betting (60 minutes) which will earn you a nice discount from 90 cents to a dollar-ten off the flat price. Now is a probably a good time to click the code and start researching these angles for November. Hint: All you do is change the ‘month’ from 10 to 11.


Good luck with your bets!


We’ve had a nice start to the hockey betting season at PickSixtySports.com going 6-2 with sides and totals. The infamous Chirper is 3-0 with his Best Bets and you can read his material every Saturday helping you setup the big card. To discuss this article with Jarvis and the rest of the SportsDatabase.com crew visit our Google Chat Room anytime. 

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