Professor MJ's Daily Pregame NHL Projections: 2017-03-01

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University Professor. PhD in stats. Proud dad of 2 boys.


March 1st, 2017

Hello fellow NHL fans from around the world!

If I could describe yesterday’s games with two words, it would go as follows: close games. 8 games out of 12 finished with a one-goal differential, and another one ended with a two-goal differential with an empty netter. I recommended 4 plays, with 3 of them going in overtime and the other ending 2-1 in regulation. I could have gone 0-4, just as I could have gone 4-0. Overall, I won 2 and lost 2. I was also suggesting keeping track of the lines on Washington and Pittsburgh: these two plays went 1-1.

Much less busy night in perspective today, but still a lot of action because of the trade deadline. I am making the projections below early in the morning, so it won’t take into account any trades.




















If you look at both teams’ record, you may wonder why my projected lines have Tampa Bay such a huge favorite. There are LOTS of reasons.

First of all, the fatigue factor. Carolina not only is playing the second of back-to-back road games, but this will also be their 3rd in 4 nights. Meanwhile, Tampa has played only one game in 5 days. They are well-rested.

Carolina’s leading scorer, Jeff Skinner, will be out for the second straight game. The Hurricanes have dealt Ron Hainsey and Viktor Stalberg, which are not star players but were still playing a certain role with the team. Carolina is on a two-game losing streak (they’ve won only 3 of their last 10). Will Cam Ward be in net again tonight? I feel like it will be the case because Eddie Lack recently played two straight games, and their head coach has used Ward in consecutive days several times this season.

The Lightning have won 6 of their last 9 games, they are playing much better. Will they keep their position as sellers at the trade deadline (after trading Brian Boyle)? Tampa has recorded at least one point against Carolina over the last 5 matchups.

Final pick: Bet the Lighting at -180 (decimal odds = 1.56) for a ROI of 9.7% (the line opened at -162 yesterday in Pinnacle, so we missed some value again, but I still see it as profitable this morning). I rarely pick such big favorites, but it does happen from time to time!





















As of 9:45am, very few bookies have a line on this game. I found two that do, including 888Sport. I wish I had an account there, as I like the Chicago line a lot. Again, I’ve got a list of reasons. Rest is also a factor here: Pittsburgh on the second of back-to-back games, while Chicago has played 1 game in 5 days.

Marc-Andre Fleury should be in net, unless he gets traded by the deadline. Their GM told reporters he would prefer to keep him as an insurance policy if Murray gets hurt. So it doesn’t look they are going to trade him, unless they get a good offer (or perhaps if their trading partner sends them a valuable backup goalie). Murray has started the last 5 games, and since it’s the Pens 2nd game in 2 nights, they are likely to give him some rest. You want Fleury to be the starting goalie tonight if you are to bet Chicago, as his numbers have been significantly worse than Murray’s (3.16 GAA with .906 save percentage for Fleury, versus 2.29 GAA with .926 save percentage for Murray).

On Chicago’s side, Scott Darling will start in Crawford’s absence (dealing with the flu). That’s no big deal when you look at his stats: 2.18 GAA with a .929 save percentage, which is great! The Hawks are on a 4-game winning streak and have won 9 of their last 10 contests! Also note that they have beaten the Pens 4 straight times.

Final pick: Bet the Blackhawks at -129 (decimal odds = 1.78) for a ROI of 10.8%. I suspect the line will move in favor of Chicago, so my advice would be to bet them as long as the odds are 1.68 (-146) or higher, which yields a ROI of 5%.


Professor MJ

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