Risky new tactics wreak havoc on bookmakers’ NHL playoff models
Besieged by savvy punters who pounced on trending favorite bets and overrun totals during the NHL season, bookmakers hoped to breathe a sigh of relief in the playoffs.
“The playoffs bring in more recreational players, which can defuse what we’ve been through,” Bally’s Interactive punter Jay Rood said this week.
Just when the idea hit him, Rood reconsidered because recreational players typically gravitate to favorite and top bets.
Rood’s peers, including Tipico Sportsbook director Sunny Gupta, can relate. Tipico continues to expand its base of operations in Colorado, home of the top-seeded Western Conference Avalanche.
Faced with the huge liability of the future book, because the Avalanche are Tipico’s favorite to win the Stanley Cup, the bookmakers looked in defeat as the Colorado Avalanche beat the Nashville Predators, 7-2 , in Game 1 of their home opener Tuesday night.
2022 NHL PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE: Follow the road to the Stanley Cup
NHL PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS: With the first round starting Monday, who wins the Stanley Cup?
“Our book and other books have been hit hard by the overs,” Gupta said as he inspected financial figures he couldn’t disclose due to the sensitivity of their nature.
Sports betting websites that have tracked results throughout the season, including covers.com and scoresandodds.com, reveal that 65% of favorites have won their games this season and 53% of games have eclipsed the total.
Some of the most successful teams topping the most are still alive in the 16-team NHL playoffs, including the Florida Panthers (46-31-5 against the most), Washington Capitals (45-33- 4), the Minnesota Wild (47-33-2), Avalanche (44-36-2) and Las Vegas Golden Knights (46-33-2).
Bettors blame the plethora of striking overs, on coaches like Minnesota’s Dean Evason, who led the trend of pulling the goaltender out early in surprise efforts to score on the power play.
In 33 games, the Wild have scored 11 goals with an empty net.
Nine teams ultimately scored 19 or more goals without a goaltender in their nets this season, and all nine of them qualified for the playoffs.
“Taking the goaltender out earlier than usual has become an industry trend and that aggression has led to a massive increase in points,” Rood said. “We tried to adapt.”
The problem for punters is that the programs running their live betting models are not adapting quickly enough during matches to account for this new high-risk trend. This not only feeds the team’s goals with the extra player, but exposes them to dropping goals with the empty net.
“There was a great performance (by players) in the totals markets…both totals were actually underperforming for us,” Gupta said. “There were times when we were hit very hard.”
Added to this is the success of the favourites, who win with 65% consistency at home and away.
In a record streak last month, 23 consecutive favorites have won their matches.
“Hopefully the trend doesn’t come to fruition in the playoffs now that the competition is unfolding relative to what it was – so awkwardly – when we had more haves than have-nots,” Rood said.
As sportsbooks like Tipico and Bally’s continue to work to expand the states in which they operate, they are at the mercy of an overflow of bets on their teams in the domestic market.
While Tipico watched Avalanche games closely, Rood was vulnerable in Canada, with the Toronto Maple Leafs (around 7/1) and Edmonton Oilers (around 22/1) representing their biggest handicaps to bettors. coming.
The National Superbook identifies its biggest liability as the Florida Panthers, where it offers online sports betting, and the Boston Bruins, where it does not.
“We’ve all seen this regional bias, and it exists for those who are in New York with the Rangers achieving something of a renaissance this year,” Rood said. “Having a large national footprint (of punters) helps you spread the blame.
“But we are not there yet.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NHL playoffs 2022: Shooting the goaltender benefits NHL teams and bettors