NHL Restart Odds Boosts for Opening Night

Chris Kreider warming up with the NY Rangers

Chris Kreider’s New York Rangers are underdogs to the Carolina Hurricanes in the qualification round. Photo by Lisa Gansky (wikimedia commons).

  • The NHL returns on Saturday, Aug. 1st, with a five-game slate
  • Sportsbooks have posted a number of odds boosts for the quintet of games
  • The table below displays all the boosted odds specials and where you can bet them

The 2019-20 NHL season will resume tomorrow (Saturday, Aug. 1st) after a nearly five-month hiatus. Opening night will feature Game 1 in five qualification series. All  Eastern Conference games will be played in Toronto. All Western Conference games will take place in Edmonton.

The schedule is as follows: NY Rangers vs Carolina Hurricanes (12:00 pm ET), Chicago Blackhawks vs Edmonton Oilers (3:00 pm ET), Florida Panthers vs NY Islanders (4:00 pm ET), Montreal Canadiens vs Pittsburgh Penguins (8:00 pm ET), Winnipeg Jets vs Calgary Flames (10:30 pm ET).

Online sportsbooks are offering several different odds boosts

NHL Opening Night Odds Boosts

Sportsbook Boosted Bet Original Odds Boosted Odds
DraftKings Rangers & Penguins &  Islanders all to win their qualifying series +480 +525
DraftKings Islanders & Penguins & Flames all to win Game 1 +453 +485
DraftKings Rangers to score first + win +200 +235
FanDuel Rangers & Islanders both to win Game 1 +294 +350
FanDuel  Rangers to sweep  Hurricanes in three games +700 +820
FanDuel Islanders to win the Eastern Conference +2000 +2400

Which Odds Boosts Are Worth Betting?

Steer clear of the first one on the list. It’s only a 9.4% increase in profit and, even at the best of times, the NHL playoffs are notoriously tough to predict. There is a massive amount of parity between playoff teams and now the better seeds don’t even have home-ice advantage and bettors haven’t seen any teams play for almost five months.

Oddsmakers know this is going to be a crapshoot; the favorites in five of the eight qualification-round series are just -136 or longer at DraftKings.

I would also avoid the second one (NYI, PIT, CAL all to win Game 1). It’s an even smaller increase in profit (7.1%) and three-leg parlays in this wildly uncertain qualification round will be tough to handicap accurately.

2020 Stanley Cup Odds Tracker

The boost that stands out as solid value is #3 (Rangers to score first + win).

To start, it’s a substantial 17.5% increase in potential profit.

Second, there is a positive correlation between the two legs of the parlay: if the Rangers score first, it increases their chances of winning.

Third, as the esteemed Kevin Allen wrote earlier this week, the Rangers have dominated Carolina recently.  They have the best player in the series (Hart Trophy-finalist Artemi Panarin) and have received better goaltending than the Canes. It’s also a near-certainty that the best defenseman in the series, Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton, will be out with an undisclosed injury.

It all adds up to Game 1, and the series as a whole, looking like a pick’em at best for the Hurricanes, who are currently priced as a -136 favorite at DraftKings.

The price you’re getting on the Rangers scoring first and winning (+235) equals an implied probability of just 29.9%. The team that scores first in an NHL game has, historically, gone onto win 67% of the time. If the Rangers have a 50/50 chance of scoring the first goal, then the probability of both scoring first (50%) and going onto win (67%) is 33.5%.

Voila, positive expected value!

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Sascha Paruk

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