It was brought to my attention yesterday that the Over/Under record of Computer Picks was absolutely annihilated over the weekend by a series of high-scoring games that were all predicted to be much lower-scoring. Seeing as how nearly 75% of all games which took place this past Saturday and Sunday actually went over their posted totals, and how suddenly this surge in scoring took place, after scoring in the NHL had been on somewhat of a decline (something that the system was looking at), this was very much an event that I don’t think I could have done much to avoid.
However, another issue that has also come to my attention is the fact that on nights where there are a lot of games on the NHL schedule, a lot of the predictions that are made in these articles are actually not that useful from a betting standpoint—for example, when the system predicts 5 goals to be scored in a game and the posted total is a 5.0, or when two teams are predicted to be very evenly matched and the line is a pick’em. These ‘borderline predictions’ are not only another contributing factor to more losses on the overall record, but they are also probably just as unproductive for me to write about as they are for you to read about. It’s not that I will completely cut these out from this section (in case someone would want to seek out an extra opinion on these games), but rather, that I will just post them from now on (with the graphics) without following them up with 200 word paragraphs on why they aren’t that profitable to bet on.
As my 7-day written commitment to write this section comes to an end, I have come to the conclusion that I really have to make these articles much shorter if I hope to continue writing them, and from here on out, I think it’s best for everybody if we just focused future editions of this section on where it really counts—profitable bets (or at least what are statistically projected to be profitable bets).
Thus, the new format from here on will be fast and simple: daily write-ups for the bets that are projected to be the best over/under of the day, best underdog of the day, and best favourite of the day, and also a write-up for an “editor’s choice” (my personal favourite Computer Pick of the day). This format will save you (the reader) some time, me (the writer) a lot of time, and hopefully will lead us all to focus more on games that make us profits, and less on games that don’t.
There is a busy Monday ahead, so here we go:
Over/Under of the Day (based on projected scores): Atlanta Thrashers vs. Florida Panthers Over 6.0
Key Factors: Actually, as I am writing this article, the total for this game has not yet been posted, but I’m going to assume that it will be set at 6.0 based on their previous meetings this season. There generally isn’t much explanation needed when predicting an Atlanta Thrashers game to over the number. On the road, they’ve gone over the posted total in 4 straight and 6 of their last 8, and the 2 games that went under the number were against Boston and New Jersey. Meanwhile, the Panthers have also gone over the total in 4 straight home games and 6 of their last 7, although in 3 of these 7 games they actually allowed just 2 goals to the oppositions. Florida’s home offense has really done the job for them though, and Atlanta this season has very rarely been able shut down offenses that average around 3 goals per game. These two teams played to a 4-3 final on December 16th in Florida, and a similar score on Monday is certainly not out of the question. Way over 6.0, says the computer.
Fave of the Day (based on chances of winning x moneyline odds): Carolina Hurricanes -135 (1.74)
Explanation: If you look closely at the graphic for this game, there is a box highlighted in green that contains the figure “$39.89”. This figure is calculated by taking Carolina’s projected chances of winning (80%) and multiplying it by the moneyline payout (1.74), and then multiplying the result by 100 and subtracting 100. Essentially, it is a projection of betting on Carolina 100 times for $1 each time, and having Carolina win 80 times, and seeing how much profit you would make. This figure is how the Faves and Dogs of the day will be determined (the more money the better).
Key Factors: It almost seems self-destructive to tout Carolina as a play of the day, but as bad as the Hurricanes have been this season, they are coming close to restoring their home record to .500, and are playing a Tampa Bay team that they have already beaten twice on home ice this season. The Lightning are a difficult team to figure out, as they beat New Jersey on the road last weekend, but fell apart in their subsequent road games in Philadelphia and Florida. As far as the system is concerned, sporadic wins in New Jersey, St Louis, and Long Island, won’t be enough to give the Lightning credit for a good shot at winning here. Carolina held Tampa Bay to a single goal in both prior meetings at home, and Carolina is only now starting to get better goaltending from starter Cam Ward. The prediction is that they will shut down the Lightning again.
On a side note, the Under 5.5 in this game is projected to be the second best over/under bet of the day.
Dog of the Day: New York Islanders +115 (2.15)
Key Factors: I don’t know if the occasionally-mentioned ‘trap line’ is more fact or fiction, but this does appear to be a line that the public is biting on (65% consensus on covers.com). Either way though, the Devils have not looked sharp on their current road trip; squeaking out a 2-1 OT victory against Montreal, playing out a wild back-and-forth 1-0 SO win over the Rangers, and then losing their next 2 games in regulation to the Coyotes and Avalanche. The Islanders, meanwhile, have been very quietly playing their best hockey of the season, sporting impressive wins over Detroit and Buffalo in the first 2 games of their current home stand. It’s actually been a while since the Islanders have been out of a game actually; December 19th when they lost 3-0 to Montreal. Since then, the Islanders have had 9 out of their next 11 games decided by 1 goal margins, and their record in these 1-goal games has been 6-3. I say wait until the line moves to +120 and hopefully even to +125, and then take the Islanders plus a half-puck in regulation or some other form of win-if-overtime bet.
Editor’s Choice: Calgary Flames +170 (2.70)
Key Factors: I’m not saying bet the house on this one, but I do like the fact Calgary has won 3 out of the last 4 head-to-head, including once this season in San Jose, and the fact that they are a desperate team. I suspect that Miikka Kiprusoff will get the start in this one, since Curtis Mcelhinney started on Sunday, and if nothing else, Kiprusoff has a great ability to keep Calgary in every single game. Calgary is 5-2 on the road this season in the back end of back-to-back games, and the last time they had a chance to bounce back on the road from a heartbreaking one-goal loss, they beat Vancouver in one of the toughest buildings to earn a road win in. Couple these stats with San Jose scoring just 6 goals in the 4 home games prior to hosting the Oilers, and there is a pretty good recipe for a close game here, where the Flames can sneak out yet another victory over the Sharks.
Other games: Here are the predictions for the 6 other games on the schedule tonight. Feel free to comment if there is anything that stands out.