Betting on hockey is very similar to betting on other sports. There are moneylines and totals and whatnot. However, there are some slight, McDonald’s/McDowell’s differences and it’s important to get them straight. Which is exactly what are about to do right now.
The NHL Betting Puck Line
The puck line is a wager exclusive to hockey. It is a blend the point spread and moneyline bets, as well as similar to the baseball run line. The puck line is almost invariably -1.5 goals for the favorite and +1.5 goals for the underdog. Although puck lines of 2.5 goals, for example, may also be available at online sportsbooks, which is what CashBet is. Let’s look at a hypothetical example:
- San Jose Sharks +1½ -205 +144 Ov 5½ +108
- St. Louis Blues -1½ +175 -160 Un 5½ -119
The puck line for the Sharks is +1.5 goals at -205. What that means is that if you bet $205 on San Jose, you will win $100 if the Sharks lose by one goal or win the game outright. So far, so good. The puck line is -1.5 goals at +175. That means that if you bet $100 on St. Louis, you will win $175 if the Blues win by two goals or more. If St. Louis wins by just one goal, you will lose your bet, as will you, of course, if the Blues lose straight-up.
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The Corsi in Hockey Betting
A corsi is a shot attempt at five-on-five. If the Sharks shot against goal it is a corsi for and a corsi against if the Blues shoot against San Jose’s goal, and vice versa. The corsi allows us to visuals the game’s possession. If the Sharks have a corsi percentage (the difference between corsi for and corsi against) higher than 50%, they have had more possession of the puck than the Blues. The downside of the corsi is that it is too general. Sportsbooks like CashBet, as well as experts and analysts have been leaning toward more specific terminology such as Expected Goals, High-Danger Scoring Chances and scoring chances.
The Hockey Betting Fenwick
A fenwick is exactly like a corsi except that it does not include blocked shots.
Adjusting for NHL Score
Statistics like the corsi should be adjusted for score. For instance, a team that is losing by three goals should be expected to pick up the pace. By the same token, a team leading by several goals will try to cool off the game.
This is a stat that people who bet on soccer know very well. Expected goals, or xG, is the sum of goal fractions expected from perceived unblocked shots. Bear in mind that a rebound shot in front of the goal is much more likely to go than a wrist shot from the blue line.
5v5 Save Percentage (SV%). Save percentage is as good a place as any to start grading goaltenders, especially a goalie’s five-on-five SV%.
Expected (xSV%) and Delta Save Percentage (dSV%). Expected Save Percentage is a goaltender’s Save Percentage after assessing the quality of shots he has faced. Delta Save Percentage is the difference between a goalie’s xSV% and SV%.
Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA). This tells us how many goals a goalie has saved/allowed in comparison to what a league average goaltender has done.
Sports betting is not an exact science. Some might say it is not a science at all. Be that as it may, though, the fact remains that there is no way to predict certain things. For example, maybe you bet on the Sharks against the Blues and St. Louis wins 4-2. It so happens, however, that the Blues scored an empty-netter even though were outshot by ten shots and produced fewer. The point is that there is no accounting for bad luck. It is just the way that it is; sometimes you zig when want to zag. We’re almost literally walking on ice here. Let us have a look at yet another example. Perhaps you have an edge on Blues at +210 against the Sharks. The game goes to OT, then a shootout, and then you lose your bet. It was nonetheless a solid wager. Overtime and shootouts are flips of a coin, and you cannot control that.
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