Sports Betting 101: Key Metrics & Strategies For NHL Player Props
Welcome to the second installment of our Sports Betting 101 series here at FantasySP! If you are less experienced or perhaps a complete beginner or looking to add NHL player prop angles to your betting strategy, this series is a resource you can return to anytime you need it.
The emergence of regulated and licensed sports betting across the United States has led to a new era of sports betting, where now more than ever there are more offerings of different bet types and alternate betting lines to choose from. While this is overall a good thing, for the newer bettor, this can be an overwhelming experience.
As much as the following may prove to be helpful, the numbers and odds set by the sportsbooks can always potentially override or dictate our process and decision-making. These are the main things I look for aside from the best number and odds when betting on individual NHL player props. Next time, I will cover some of the specific basic metrics that can be helpful or noisy, but ultimately that is nothing useful without a foundation first, so let’s dig in a sec.
Increase in Role/Time on Ice and/or Quality of Role
This is a big factor, especially when it first happens, on the first game to a few games before the books reduce the return and odds on them. This could also be a depth player who has top-six forward potential on their team, who gets moved up to a top-six role and top power play role for example.
I like it if we have a rookie who was and still is a highly coveted draft pick or a proven AHL call-up, or both even. An increase not just in time, but the kind of role is also nice to have in your favor, with power play time and skating with players that will elevate your player’s game, putting them into a position where they can succeed. A good example right now would be talented players who get to skate with a superstar like McDavid. Players fitting this mold give us one crucial box to check when it comes to filtering down the player pool to possible wagers, be it for an anytime goal, point, or shots on goal totals. While this is nice, so is being aware of the players that night in and out are getting the maximum roles and consistently performing as well, as the numbers and odds will fluctuate on them, and opportunities may emerge here too.
Selecting the Best Games to Choose Player Props From
This is also a big factor to consider, as for any sort of player prop over the total, be it points, goals, or shots needs a game environment to give this the best opportunity for success. For this, I look to a game where both sides have healthy expected goals per 60 team metric over recent game samples such as the last five and ten games. Expected goals for per 60 is a cumulative metric that considers the quality of shots and chances a team is getting. A more rudimentary, but effective thing to also look at would be simply the game total over-under for games with higher expected totals, and games that have had positive movement on the total such as from a 6.5 to a seven total if we are talking in the context of player prop over totals (points, shots on goal, anytime goals) and the inverse for considering under.
Teams Versus Player Positions
This one is arguably noisy, but certainly not as important a factor as the first two but I think does have a couple of slivers of relevance when it comes to understanding what the matchup is for the player you are considering in the prop. In short, I’d not want to rush to the window to fire in a player’s shot over a 4.5 if they’ve been attempting fewer shots lately and up against a team that suppresses shots against this player’s position in a recent game sample. It can be overvalued, but it is very worthwhile to be aware of still at the same time.
Goalies are very hard to predict and commonly overreacted towards yet certainly move betting lines when they are confirmed starters. However, being aware of the perception of a goalie upgrade or downgrade in a betting line and how it is over or under-adjusted is worth being aware of. We can look at saves above expected metrics for goalies to judge them basically in short, but I’d not overweigh it in my process or anything, but it can certainly make a difference when you notice maybe an over-adjustment or overreaction to a certain goalie in what you see reflected in the game lines and player props. I try to keep an eye on the schedule and who starts, obviously, in back-to-back scenarios because we know it is so rare a goalie starts two nights in a row, which is still worth knowing in the context of player prop wagers as well, and to use to our advantage, even if it is simply not overreacting to it.
Let’s soak this in for now and see you back soon for part two where I will highlight the more common specific player metrics and what can be helpful versus noisy as well.
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