NHL Futures (01/12/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Finding value in the odds to win the 2015 Stanley Cup. Odds courtesy of Bovada.lv.

The NHL season hit the midway point last week, with most teams having played 41 games. Halfway through the 2015 campaign we pause to look for value in the Stanley Cup odds.

To set up our NHL Playoffs we used our rest of season projections to determine which teams would make the postseason. If the playoffs started today, the Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets would be in the postseason. However, in our simulation, according to our rest of season projections, both teams are knocked out of the playoffs by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames, respectively.

To determine if a team has value we look at what their current odds are to win the Stanley Cup and compare that to our projected odds that they win the Cup. For example, St. Louis is listed at 10/1 to win the championship: in order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Blues they would need to win it all 9.1% (which is 1/(1+10)) of the time. We project St. Louis to win it all 7.3% of the time, meaning there is no value in placing a bet at 10/1 odds.

Stanley Cup Value Bets

Nashville Predators (28-9-4, 60 points, 1st in Central)

Current odds: 14/1, Odds needed in order to place a wager: 6.7%
Nashville wins the Stanley Cup 10.4% of the time

The Predators are the surprise of the NHL season, and that is understating the team's success. Before the season started, Nashville was a 75/1 longshot to win the Stanley Cup. The Predators have never won a division title yet are in first place in the Central ahead of traditional powers, the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues.

Nashville is second in our Power Rankings as well as top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency. The Predators have enjoyed great success this season due to a fantastic performance from Pekka Rinne (missed most of last season with a hip injury) in net and the emergence of rookie Filip Forsberg offensively (leads the team and is top 20 in the NHL in points).

The only knock on Nashville is a possible regression to the mean. Using PDO, an NHL statistic that does not stand for anything, which is the addition of shooting percentage and save percentage at full strength, the Predators could experience regression over the second half of the season.

New York Rangers (24-11-4, 52 points, 3rd in Metropolitan)

Current odds: 16/1, Odds needed in order to place a wager: 5.9%
New York wins the Stanley Cup 13.2% of the time

The Rangers just completed the California sweep beating Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose. It was the first time New York has beat those three teams on the road in the same season. The Rangers have won 13 of their last 14 games, the first time that has happened since 1973.

The New York Rangers won the Eastern Conference last season and there is value in betting that the team can do that again and more this year.

Team to Avoid

Anaheim Ducks (27-10-6, 60 points, 1st in Pacific)

Current odds: 15/2, Odds needed in order to place a wager: 11.8%
Anaheim wins the Stanley Cup 2.2% of the time

Anaheim is tied with Nashville for the most points in the league. However, unlike the Predators, the Ducks are barely league average in our offensive and defensive efficiency rankings.

This is a team that ranks 15th in goals per game, 22nd on the power play and 18th in penalty killing. The Ducks goal-differential is plus-3, which would be the worst among playoff teams.

Below are the odds for each team to win the Stanley Cup. Plus, odds needed to place a wager and our projected odds for each team. Note: a “-“ in the projected odds column indicates a team that is not in our most likely playoffs.

Team Odds Odds Needed Projected Odds
Chicago Blackhawks 5/1 16.7% 18.6%
Anaheim Ducks 15/2 11.8% 2.2%
Pittsburgh Penguins 10/1 9.1% 6.7%
St. Louis Blues 10/1 9.1% 7.3%
Tampa Bay Lightning 10/1 9.1% 12.1%
Boston Bruins 12/1 7.7% -
Montreal Canadiens 14/1 6.7% 4.6%
Nashville Predators 14/1 6.7% 17.1%
New York Islanders 16/1 5.9% 3.3%
New York Rangers 16/1 5.9% 13.2%
Los Angeles Kings 18/1 5.3% 2.3%
Detroit Red Wings 20/1 4.8% 2.8%
San Jose Sharks 20/1 4.8% 0.6%
Vancouver Canucks 20/1 4.8% 2.6%
Washington Capitals 28/1 3.4% 2.6%
Toronto Maple Leafs 40/1 2.4% 1.8%
Calgary Flames 50/1 2.0% 2.4%
Colorado Avalanche 50/1 2.0% -
Florida Panthers 50/1 2.0% -
Minnesota Wild 50/1 2.0% -
Winnipeg Jets 50/1 2.0% -
Columbus Blue Jackets 66/1 1.5% -
Dallas Stars 66/1 1.5% -
Philadelphia Flyers 100/1 1.0% -
Ottawa Senators 150/1 0.7% -
New Jersey Devils 200/1 0.5% -
Arizona Coyotes 500/1 0.2% -
Buffalo Sabres 1000/1 0.1% -
Carolina Hurricanes 1000/1 0.1% -
Edmonton Oilers 1000/1 0.1% -