NHL Value Bets (05/14/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
2015 Stanley Cup value bets. Odds courtesy of Bovada.lv.

Four teams remain in the NHL Playoffs. Before the puck drops on the conference finals we pause to look for value in the Stanley Cup odds.

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, Chicago is listed at +220 to win the championship, in order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Blackhawks they would need to win it all 31.3% (which is 100/(100+220)) of the time. We project Chicago to win it all 20.9% of the time, meaning there is no value in placing a bet at +220 odds.

Stanley Cup Value Bets

New York Rangers

The Rangers became the first team in NHL history to overcome a 3-1 series deficit in consecutive postseasons. The Blueshirts have a chance to advance to the finals for a second straight year but will face a tough matchup against Tampa Bay.

The Lightning have an edge offensively as they scored an NHL-best 3.2 goals per game during the regular season. However, the Rangers weren't too bad offensively either scoring 3.0 goals per game, which was the fourth most efficient offense in the league. The real edge for New York is with Henrik Lunqvist in net. The Rangers were second in defensive efficiency during the regular season, while the Lightning were outside the top ten in our Power Rankings. Plus, if the series goes the distance, there is a 32.6% chance of a Game 7; Lunqvist is now 6-0 all-time in winner-take-all games.

The Rangers have not won the Stanley Cup since 1994, New York is the favorite and there is value in backing the Blueshirts.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning are a dangerous and offensively gifted team, though they have only managed to find the net 34 times in 14 postseason games. Tampa Bay has owned New York in the regular season winning all three meetings and outscoring the Rangers 15-7. We expect the winner of the Rangers/Lightning series to win the Cup. The Eastern Conference winner hoists the Stanley Cup 61.5% of the time in our simulations. Tampa Bay is considered the longshot of the remaining playoff teams but the Lightning have the second best odds to win it all.

2015 NHL Playoffs – Odds to win the Stanley Cup

Team Odds Odds Needed Proj. Chance
New York Rangers +210 32.3% 38.2%
Chicago Blackhawks +220 31.3% 20.9%
Anaheim Ducks +240 29.4% 17.6%
Tampa Bay Lightning +475 17.4% 23.3%

2015 Stanley Cup – Exact Matchup

The most likely final is the New York Rangers against the Chicago Blackhawks. We project this matchup occurs 30.2% of the time. There is no value in betting this series to occur at +200, in fact there is no value in betting any of these Exact Matchup props. Knowing when not to bet is just as valuable as finding a winner.

Exact Matchup Odds Odds Needed Proj. Chance
Rangers vs. Ducks +200 33.3% 27.5%
Rangers vs. Blackhawks +200 33.3% 30.2%
Lightning vs. Ducks +333 23.1% 20.1%
Lightning vs. Blackhawks +333 23.1% 22.2%