$FML's NHL Best Bet for Thursday Night - 3/16

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Tampa Bay Lightning @ New Jersey Devils

I’m warming up to Unders but see better value on the Over at this line and price! I put a full unit on it @ +125 and would play down to +100. Here’s why:

Every bet is a risk/reward trade off, and in that simple context: this prop feels mispriced! It’s 13-7 (65%) in his last 20 games and 10-5 (67%) in his last 15 on the road (excluding one where he got hurt). 65% hit rates normally correspond to -186 fair odds, so at +125, we’re getting a 20% discount! Which begs the question… why?

It’s not the best matchup on paper but far from the worst, and defensemen are finding success vs. New Jersey lately – Hedman being the latest example. He recorded a team-leading 5 shots on goal this past Tuesday in New Jersey, and tonight’s a rematch. 14 of Tampa’s 30 (47%) shots that night were recorded by Defensemen like Hedman, which is becoming a trend vs. New Jersey…

Percentage of Shots Allowed by New Jersey to Defensemen

  • Pre-All Star Break: 28.7%
  • Post-All Star Break: 33.4% (most in NHL)

The +4.7% difference feels small, but it’s meaningful. Only one team (Philly, +4.9%) shifted more during that stretch. I can’t say definitively what’s driving the change, but it’s backed by an 18-game sample since All Star Weekend.

Technical indicators also support this pick on Hedman…

  • In the last 3 seasons, his average shot attempts hovers around 5.5 per game
  • When the 5-game average drops to 4.2, it tends to rise (see chart)
  • It recently hit that 4.2 support line and rose to 4.8 on Tuesday, but there’s still room to run
FastMoneyLabs NHL Stats

In Layman’s Terms: To maintain his long-term average at 5.5, he probably needs to attempt at least 6 shots tonight! And when he attempts 6+ shots, he clears the 2.5 SOG line at a 72% rate.

For what it’s worth: Betting Hedman to clear this 2.5 line vs. NJD is 6-1 in their last 7 meetings, including 4 games with 4+ SOG. Tonight, we only need 3+!

I’m ice cold with bets, but the reads are warming up, and I’m willing put hard earned cash behind this one! I risked a full unit @ +125 and would play down to +100! (or fade, up to you!)

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