Stanley Cup Playoffs Handicapping Methods & NHL Betting Advice

Ross Benjamin

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 10:32 PM GMT

Tuesday, Apr. 12, 2016 10:32 PM GMT

Our NHL handicapping professional shares some of his successful handicapping methods that have more than passed the test of time to help you with your Stanley Cup Playoffs picks.

About the Writer/NHL Handicapper
Ross Benjamin proved once again why he’s one of the most successful NHL handicappers in the world during last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. Ross’ transparency is why he’s such a highly respected handicapper and writer in an industry littered with fraudulent individuals. Below are the results of his pay selections that were verified and documented by an independent highly credible source in the sports handicapping industry.

 

2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs: 34-20-0 (62.96%)  (+1,552.00 Units)

Date

Picks

Profit

Jun 15, 2015

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Take: Total +5 under +110 (Win)

+110

Jun 13, 2015

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Take: Chicago Blackhawks +110 (Win)

+110

Jun 10, 2015

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Chicago Blackhawks
Take: Total +5.5 over +122 (Loss)

-100

Jun 08, 2015

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Take: Total +5.5 under -127 (Win)

+100

Jun 06, 2015

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Take: Tampa Bay Lightning -123 (Win)

+100

Jun 03, 2015

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Take: Total +5 under +130 (Win)

+130

May 30, 2015

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Anaheim Ducks
Take: Chicago Blackhawks +116 (Win)

+116

May 29, 2015

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. NY Rangers
Take: NY Rangers -155 (Loss)

-155

May 27, 2015

Anaheim Ducks vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Take: Chicago Blackhawks -139 (Win)

+100

May 26, 2015

NY Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Take: NY Rangers +118 (Win)

+118

May 25, 2015

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Anaheim Ducks
Take: Chicago Blackhawks +125 (Loss)

-100

May 24, 2015

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. NY Rangers
Take: NY Rangers -130 (Loss)

-130

May 23, 2015

Anaheim Ducks vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Take: Total +5 un +122 (Loss)

-100

May 22, 2015

NY Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Take: NY Rangers +118 (Win)

+118

May 21, 2015

Anaheim Ducks vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Take: Chicago Blackhawks -135 (Loss)

-135

May 20, 2015

NY Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Take: Total +5 over +125 (Win)

+125

May 19, 2015

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Anaheim Ducks
Take: Chicago Blackhawks +110 (Win)

+110

May 18, 2015

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. NY Rangers
Take: Total +4.5 over -119 (Win)

+100

May 17, 2015

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Anaheim Ducks
Take: Anaheim Ducks -128 (Win)

+100

May 16, 2015

Tampa Bay Lightning vs NY Rangers
Take: Tampa Bay Lightning +122 (Loss)

-100

May 13, 2015

Washington Capitals vs. NY Rangers
Take: NY Rangers -150 (Win)

+100

May 12, 2015

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens
Take: Total +4.5 ov -139 (Win)

+100

May 10, 2015

NY Rangers vs Washington Capitals
Take: NY Rangers +101 (Win)

+101

May 09, 2015

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Montreal Canadiens
Take: Total +5 over +130 (Loss)

-100

May 08, 2015

Anaheim Ducks vs. Calgary Flames
Take: Total +5.5 over +112 (Win)

+112

May 07, 2015

Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Take: Montreal Canadiens +145 (Win)

+145

May 06, 2015

NY Rangers vs. Washington Capitals
Take: Total +4.5 ov -134 (Loss)

-134

May 06, 2015

Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Take: Montreal Canadiens +134 (Loss)

-100

May 04, 2015

NY Rangers vs. Washington Capitals
Take: NY Rangers -102 (Loss)

-102

May 03, 2015

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens
Take: Montreal Canadiens -124 (Loss)

-124

May 01, 2015

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens
Take: Tampa Bay Lightning +115 (Win)

+115

Apr 30, 2015

Washington Capitals vs. NY Rangers
Take: Total +5 un -117 (Win)

+100

Apr 29, 2015

Detroit Red Wings vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Take: Detroit Red Wings +166 (Loss)

-100

Apr 27, 2015

NY Islanders vs. Washington Capitals
Take: NY Islanders +125 (Loss)

-100

Apr 26, 2015

Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators
Take: Ottawa Senators -110 (Loss)

-110

Apr 25, 2015

Washington Capitals vs. NY Islanders
Take: NY Islanders -124 (Win)

+100

Apr 24, 2015

Ottawa Senators vs Montreal Canadiens
Take: Ottawa Senators +155 (Win)

+155

Apr 23, 2015

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators
Take: Nashville Predators -112 (Win)

+100

Apr 23, 2015

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Detroit Red Wings
Take: Detroit Red Wings -109 (Loss)

-109

Apr 22, 2015

Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators
Take: Ottawa Senators -107 (Win)

+100

Apr 22, 2015

NY Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Take: Pittsburgh Penguins +105 (Loss)

-100

Apr 21, 2015

Washington Capitals vs. NY Islanders
Take: Washington Capitals +119 (Win)

+119

Apr 21, 2015

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings
Take: Detroit Red Wings +100 (Win)

+100

Apr 20, 2015

NY Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Take: NY Rangers -115 (Win)

+100

Apr 19, 2015

Vancouver Canucks vs Calgary Flames
Take: Total +5 un +126 (Loss)

-100

Apr 19, 2015

Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators
Take: Ottawa Senators -130 (Loss)

-130

Apr 19, 2015

Washington Capitals vs. NY Islanders
Take: NY Islanders -135 (Win)

+100

Apr 18, 2015

Minnesota Wild vs. St Louis Blues
Take: Minnesota Wild +130 (Loss)

-100

Apr 17, 2015

Calgary Flames vs. Vancouver Canucks
Take: Total +5 un +122

Push

Apr 17, 2015

Ottawa Senators vs. Montreal Canadiens
Take: Total +5 over -113

Push

Apr 16, 2015

Minnesota Wild vs. St Louis Blues
Take: Minnesota Wild +125 (Win)

+125

Apr 16, 2015

Detroit Red Wings vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Take: Detroit Red Wings +150 (Win)

+150

Apr 16, 2015

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. NY Rangers
Take: Total +5 un +105 (Win)

+105

Apr 15, 2015

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators
Take: Chicago Blackhawks +102 (Win)

+102

Apr 15, 2015

Ottawa Senators vs. Montreal Canadiens
Take: Montreal Canadiens -135 (Win)

+100

Apr 15, 2015

NY Islanders vs. Washington Capitals
Take: NY Islanders +115 (Win)

+115

 

NHL Special Team Efficiency Ratings
One of the key components that I’ve incorporated when handicapping the NHL is using what I refer to as special team ratings. The equation is quite simple. I take the percentage of times that a specific team converts on their power play attempts, and add that number to the percentage in which they kill off power play chances against them.

Example: During the 2015-2016 NHL regular season campaign, Washington converted on 21.9% of their power play opportunities, and also killed off 85.1% of their power play chances against them. By adding those two numbers up, the Capitals ended the regular season with a 107.0 special team efficiency rating, and that ranked #1 in the Eastern Conference. It’s by no coincidence that Washington won the 2015-2016 President’s Trophy, awarded to the team with the most regular season points. The old sports handicapping adage of “numbers don’t lie and liars don’t figure” certainly is prophetic in this particular instance.

I’ve illustrated the conference rankings below for all sixteen teams that qualified for the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Eastern Conference

Rank

Team

Rating

1

Washington

107.0

2

Pittsburgh

102.8

2

NY Islanders

102.8

4

Detroit

100.4

5

Tampa Bay

99.8

6

Philadelphia

99.4

7

NY Rangers

96.8

8

Florida

96.4

 

Western Conference

Rank

Team

Rating

1

Anaheim

110.2

2

St. Louis

106.6

3

Dallas

104.4

4

San Jose

103.0

5

Chicago

102.9

6

Los Angeles

101.4

7

Nashville

100.9

8

Minnesota

96.4

 

Even Strength Rating
This statistic is exactly the same as a NHL player’s plus/minus rating, except it’s calculated for each individual team. This specific rating is calculated by taking how many goals a team has scored at even strength, and subtracting their goals against at even strength.

A couple of personal noteworthy observations I’d like to share. I’ve already alluded to Special Teams efficiency ratings earlier in this article. When looking back at that specific topic, you’ll notice Anaheim wasn’t only tops in the Western Conference with a rating of 110.2, but also led all NHL playoff teams pertaining to that category. However, the Ducks even strength number of +4 ranks 7th out of eight Western Conference playoff teams, and is also tied for 13th in comparison to all 16 participants competing during these 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Below are the even strength numbers and rankings of all 16 NHL postseason participants.

Eastern Conference

Rank

Team

Rating

1

Washington

+43

2

Florida

+40

3

NY Rangers

+31

4

Pittsburgh

+28

5

Tampa Bay

+23

6

NY Islanders

+9

7

Philadelphia

+4

8

Detroit

-8

 

Western Conference

Rank

Team

Rating

1

Los Angeles

+35

2

Dallas

+28

3

San Jose

+15

4

St. Louis

+13

5

Chicago

+9

6

Minnesota

+5

7

Anaheim

+4

8

Nashville

+1

 

Power Index Number
My power index is calculated by simply taking a team’s special team efficiency rating, and adding it to their even strength number. By doing so, it provides me with an accurate assessment of a team’s overall performance. In this particular instance, it’s indicative of a team’s entire regular season power number heading into the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. This category has become a substantial handicapping asset when making my NHL picks.

Eastern Conference

Rank

Team

Rating

1

Washington

150.0

2

Florida

136.4

3

Pittsburgh

130.8

4

NY Rangers

127.8

5

Tampa Bay

122.8

6

NY Islanders

111.8

7

Philadelphia

103.4

8

Detroit

92.4

 

Western Conference

Rank

Team

Rating

1

Los Angeles

136.4

2

Dallas

133.4

3

St. Louis

119.6

4

San Jose

118.8

5

Anaheim

114.2

6

Chicago

111.9

7

Nashville

101.9

8

Minnesota

101.4

 

Goaltending at Crunch Time
Factoring goaltending into the NHL Playoffs handicapping equation never should be taken lightly. Conversely, it also may be the most inexact science of them all. Goaltenders are like NFL field goal kickers, they’re a rare breed, and sometimes their current confidence level trumps all other statistical aspects. After all, goaltenders that reach the NHL level are an accomplishment in itself. All of them possess the physical ability to get hot for extended periods of time. However, doing so at this time of year has just as much to do what’s above the neck than below it. Let’s take a look at some specific examples below.

There’s no doubt that Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury has been a top five NHL goaltender during recent years. He’s regularly put up extremely impressive regular season numbers. The problem with Fleury, he’s succumbed to playoff pressure during the past few years, and dramatically underachieved. Pittsburgh enters the playoffs as arguably the hottest team in the NHL. However, if Fleury can’t carry over his stellar regular season form into the playoffs, Pittsburgh will be faced with the prospects of yet another early exit. Additionally, he missed the latter part of the regular season recovering from a concussion.

The Washington Capitals (+350) are a clear cut favorite to win the Stanley Cup according to NHL odds at The Greek. Their goaltender Braden Holtby has developed into one of the best in the world. He doesn’t come with the notoriety of a Henrik Lundquist, Jonathan Quick, or Corey Crawford. However, Holtby was excellent during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Holtby is also coming off a terrific 2015-2016 regular season that saw him go 49-17 (.742) in 66 starts, and he compiled a stellar .922 save percentage.

Speaking of Jonathan Quick and Corey Crawford, these guys have been there and done that. Crawford has won two Stanley Cups while being the main backstop for Chicago in 2013 and 2015. He’s also been to the Western Conference Finals in each of the past three seasons. Jonathan Quick captured hockey’s most coveted trophy with Los Angeles in 2012 and 2014. Quick also was in goal for three straight Western Conference Finals appearances by Los Angeles from 2012 to 2015. Those experiences can never be ignored or undervalued at this juncture of the season.

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