#Betting101: On Back-to-Backs and Backup Goalies

dalls stars

Jason Lake

Monday, March 5, 2018 9:34 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 5, 2018 9:34 PM UTC

There are some very good back-up goaltenders in the NHL – and quite a few dubious starters. Which back-to-back situations should go in our hockey picks this week?

Who’s the most popular player on a hockey team? The backup goalie, of course. These are the unsung heroes of the National Hockey League. If they play very well, which they often do, fans clamor to see them between the pipes more often. If they play poorly, they become legends anyway. Legends like Andre “Red Light” Racicot, and the immortal Steve Buzinski.

No. 2 netminders can also be a healthy source of income. When an undervalued backup gets to start, that creates betting value for our NHL picks – especially if the starter isn’t particularly good. Fading poor backups can be worthwhile if they’re respected big-name goalies, too. Let’s look at this week’s schedule and see which teams are playing back-to-back, which is usually when both goalies get to play. And we’ll use the projections at Left Wing Lock to suss out which backups might be playing when.

Cash and Kari

First up, we have Kari Lehtonen (.919 save percentages) of the Dallas Stars. He’s outplayed No. 1 netminder Ben Bishop (.916 SV%), and he’s confirmed for Tuesday’s game against the Nashville Predators. Lehtonen has provided 12 Quality Starts in 17 opportunities, with a team record of 11-6-1. Nice. Dallas is a +152 road dog on the NHL odds board at press time.

Not so nice: Petr Mrazek. The former starter for the Detroit Red Wings, Mrazek saw his level of play drop considerably last year, so the Wings shipped him off to the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 19 for a pair of conditional draft picks. Mrazek has a .895 save percentage in six starts for the Flyers, filling in for the injured Brian Elliott (.908 SV%) and Michal Neuvirth (.915 SV%), and it looks like Mrazek will have to play both ends of their back-to-back on Wednesday and Thursday, against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins, respectively.

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As I said before the game, I would have started Lyon. Third straight subpar game for Mrazek, and by his actions, Hak telling Lyon he doesn’t have confidence in him. #Flyers

— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) March 4, 2018
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All the other back-to-back situations this week have the No. 1 goalie projected to start both games, so these are your two betting options using our cunning plan. The Bruins have lost just five times in regulation since mid-December, moving 8.17 units in the black against the puck line at 40-23 ATS, so we’d be inclined to fade Mrazek and the tired Flyers on Thursday. That game is at 7 p.m. Eastern on NESN. Mark it down, and may the cylinder be with you.

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