@FastMoneyLabs NHL All Star Tournament Preview & Pick

After cashing a big +1000 bet on Jordan Kyrou to win the fastest skating competition on Friday night, the $FML stock is rising in Vegas.

The Format

GET YOUR POPCORN READY. The best All-Star format in major sports is BACK, and Vegas just dropped some betting lines on it. Let’s break it down starting with the format.

  • 4 teams (1 for each division) will compete in a high-flying, high-scoring 3v3 tournament.
  • It is a single-elimination format with 2 rounds:
    • Semi Finals:
      • Atlantic Division vs. Metropolitan Division (Eastern Conference teams)
      • Pacific Division vs. Central Division (Western Conference teams)
    • Finals: Winners face off.
  • The games are short: just 20 minutes each, played in two 10-minute halves.
  • Physical play is allowed but discouraged and rare (which favors elusive skaters).
  • Winning team splits a $1 million cash prize (and bragging rights, of course).
  • All-Star MVP gets a $250K cash bonus.

Past Results

Given the unique format, I thought it might help to comb through the past results and see what we can learn (if anything).

Since NHL adopted the 3v3 format in 2016, here’s how the Semi-Finals Round went:

allstar

While the past won’t predict future All-Star Game results, it can highlight interesting trends.

In the East (left side of table), the table highlights a pleasant degree of parity between Atlantic and Metro, who successfully traded punches every year since 2016.

In the West, Pacific clearly reigns supreme, at least historically and it’s easy to explain. That division includes the Edmonton Oilers, which gives the Pacific All-Stars access to arguably two greatest players on the planet: Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. When they take the ice together in regular season 3v3 (which happens in Overtime), it’s already unfair. Layer on the unwritten rule where physical play (for example smashing your opponent into the boards) is discouraged in the All-Star game… this combination is borderline ILLEGAL. Or at least should be. Unfortunately for Central, both McDavid and Draisaitl are lacing up in Vegas, giving Central fans the narrowest path to bragging rights.

Historic Scoring Analysis

From a scoring perspective, the game-totals we observed from past Semi-Final rounds really pop when compared to the Finals:

allstar

My main takeaway from this analysis is that on average, 4 fewer goals have been scored in the Finals Round vs. Semi-Finals, which I suspect is explained by tighter defense being played in the Finals.

It doesn’t mean we won’t see scoring, but the trend is something to be mindful of if you plan to live-bet the tournament. If we get another high-scoring Semi-Finals Round, books will look to take advantage of average bettors by inflating the game total for the Finals Round, which will be posted for betting after the Semi-Finals Round. If books list anything higher than o/u 8.5 for the Finals – I would think twice before hammering the Over (as much as you might want to).

Lastly, before I dive into 2022, as you can see in the table: Pacific Division arrive this Saturday as three-time champs, Metro won twice, and Atlantic and Central are still itching for a first victory.

This Year's Matchup

Best Bet

We could try and crunch numbers all day to find an edge. In fact, I just did, and it was exhilarating.

The reality, though, is a more complicating matter – an elephant in the room, if you will: this is a mini-vacation for a group of guys that touched down in Las Vegas on Thursday (or Friday). If they aren’t out till 4am partying and playing blackjack on Friday night, I’ll be surprised if not shocked. It is not my intention to stigmatize hockey players, because I was one, and I know what they do. An All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas is not the optimal recipe for an Over.

Rather than gamble on hangover risk, I prefer to assume an even playing field and back the best roster to win. And if that’s the question, I feel confident in my answer: it’s Connor McDavid & Leon Draisaitl’s team again (sorry Central).

$FML Best Bet

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