NHL Future Odds: Eastern Conference Updates

Ross Benjamin

Monday, November 17, 2014 6:08 PM GMT

Our NHL guru illustrates how he uses “NHL Special Team Efficiency Index” numbers as part of his daily sports handicapping arsenal. This article can be a vital tool in aiding with your NHL picks.

Eastern Conference Special Team Efficiency Index
One of the tools that I use in my daily NHL odds is the special team efficiency index. Although it must be noted, I begin to use this as part of my arsenal only after each team has played at least 15-games. Like with any sports handicapping method, the bigger the sample size, the more of a true indicator it becomes. The formula in arriving at a number in this specific category for each team is quite simple. We take the power play percentage conversion rate, and then add it to their penalty killing percentage efficiency, and the sum of the two is the exact number attached to each team.

 

An Example
Since I will be covering the Eastern Conference in this article, let’s use the Pittsburgh Penguins as an example. The Penguins have converted on 32.8% of their power play chances this season, and have successfully killed of 87.9% of their opponent’s power play chances against them. We simply add 87.9 to 32.8, and have a sum of 120.7. The Penguins special team efficiency number is currently the best in the Eastern Conference, and it’s no coincidence that they’re near the top of the conference standings. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres have converted on just 7.0% of their man advantage opportunities, and have killed off 78.4% of their opponent’s power play chances against them. Their number of 85.4 is the worst in the Eastern Conference, and it’s of no surprise that they sit dead last in the conference standings.

 

Eastern Conference Special Team Index

Pittsburgh Penguins 120.7

Washington Capitals 106.6

Detroit Red Wings 106.1

Tampa Bay Lightning 105.2

Toronto Maple Leafs 104.7

Ottawa Senators 101.8

Columbus Blue Jackets 100.8

Boston Bruins 100.0

Carolina Hurricanes 99.4

Montreal Canadiens 97.6

Philadelphia Flyers 95.8

Florida Panthers 95.4

New York Rangers 94.7

New York Islanders 92.8

New Jersey Devils 88.6

Buffalo Sabres 85.4

 

Searching for Underdog Value within the Index
There’s nothing more satisfying to a professional sports handicapper than a winning result. A distant second on my personal list is having the ability to uncover money line underdog value. Let me use an example to illustrate exactly what I look for as an underdog value indicator in the NHL, and finding the basis for that by using the special team index. Hypothetically, if the Montreal Canadiens were to play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning today, they would be somewhere around a -120 to -125 money line favorite with all thing being considered as status quo. When you compare the team’s special team index numbers, the Lightning is a +7.6 (105.2 to 97.6). Hence, I would begin to examine a possible NHL pick on the Lightning, and would proceed by looking at other handicapping variables pertaining to this matchup. Please always remember, although this is a highly effective NHL handicapping tool, it’s just a piece of the puzzle, and it’s never a good idea to marry yourself to just one specific method when making your daily NHL picks.

 

Current Index Top Underdog Value Teams

Washington Capitals

Detroit Red Wings

Toronto Maple Leafs

Ottawa Senators

 

Current Favorites to Avoid

New York Islanders

New York Rangers

New Jersey Devils