Over one-third of the NHL regular season is in the books. We are getting a good idea as to which teams are legitimate contenders, which are tanking and which will be competing hard until the final few days of the season.
Betting on the NHL isn't as simple as betting on football or basketball. There's no real spread. Sure, there's the puck-line but that's not exactly comparable to spread betting in other sports. For the most part when betting hockey, you bet on teams to win the game on the moneyline. The moneyline odds fluctuate based on the implied probability of each team winning. Some nights, you'll see -300 favorites and +250 underdogs. Other nights, both teams will be near a pick'em.
For that reason, not all of the best teams are profitable bets. Sometimes, some pretty bad teams end up being profitable bets over the course of the season just because their wins come with extremely lucrative payouts. If you're betting a team like Arizona, them winning even one of every three games might make them a profitable bet. With all of that being said, which teams have been most profitable to bettors on the moneyline so far this season? And which teams are bleeding money?
NHL profitability standings
Assuming you bet one unit on each team every night, this is a ranking of each NHL team from most profitable bet to least profitable bet:
1. Boston Bruins (+9.95 units): The Bruins are off to an insane 23-5 start to open the season and have lost just one of their first 16 home games. They are huge favorites every night, but if you've been willing to lay the juice, they've been coming through at a very high rate.
2. New Jersey Devils (+9.0 units): We all had New Jersey pegged as the second best team in hockey, right? The Devils lead the league in expected goals scored at 5-on-5 and are second in expected goals against. This is no fluke. However, stick to betting the Devils when they're on the road. All of New Jersey's profit has come in road games as the Devils are actually losing bettors a few pennies in home games.
3. Seattle Kraken (+7.65 units): In their second season, this version of the Kraken is having way more success than last year's. Seattle is 16-12 and an impressive 9-4 on the road where they've won bettors 9.4 units.
4. Montreal Canadiens (+7.41 units): Montreal has lost more games than they've won so far this season, highlighting the fact that it doesn't take a good team to be profitable when it comes to NHL betting. After finishing with the worst record in the league last year, Montreal is 14-15 through 29 games. Way more competitive than many expected.
5. Winnipeg Jets (+7.34 units): For the past few seasons, it felt like Winnipeg has underachieved. However, after hiring Rick Bowness as their new coach, the Jets are off to a sizzling 18-10 start and Connor Hellebuyck has the third best odds to win the Vezina Trophy.
6. Arizona Coyotes (+4.71 units): The Coyotes have won just 9 of their first 27 games, but that's good enough for a $100 bettor to be up over $470 backing Arizona this season. They are bad, oddsmakers know they are bad, but hey, it's hockey and bad teams win quite a few games over the course of a season.
7. Vegas Golden Knights (+4.35 units): Vegas missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history last season, but they've rebounded to have the fourth-best record in hockey to this point. Vegas has been more average over the past few weeks, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that Jack Eichel is injured and Alex Pietrangelo left the team for personal reasons.
8. New York Islanders (+2.95 units): Under first year head coach Lane Lambert, the Isles are off to a solid 17-13 start. A lot of credit has to go to their terrific goaltending duo of Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov. Their underlying metrics suggest some regression coming, but they have the goaltending to cover up their problems. Sorokin is +375 to win the Vezina, the second best odds behind Linus Ullmark of Boston.
9. Toronto Maple Leafs (+2.36 units): Regular-season success has not been an issue for Toronto in recent seasons. Let's check back in April and May.
10. Edmonton Oilers (+1.7 units): After a slowish start, the Oilers have been playing well in recent weeks, winning 7 of their last 10 games. Connor McDavid is a huge favorite to win the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP.
11. Tampa Bay Lightning (+1.65 units): It's a well-oiled machine down in Tampa Bay. They lose key pieces every summer due to salary cap reasons, but they keep winning. Of course, they're usually big favorites so it's hard to make a sizable profit, but they're still in the green for bettors.
12. Dallas Stars (-0.38 units): The Stars have slowed down a little from their 8-3-1 start to the year, but they're still on top of the Central division. Unfortunately, that isn't enough for them to be a profitable bet for bettors.
13. Detroit Red Wings (-0.42 units): Detroit is more competitive this season, but people also expected them to be more competitive after their offseason. They're a better road bet than they are a home bet.
14. Pittsburgh Penguins (-0.6 units): It's been a streaky start to the season for Pittsburgh. The Penguins started 4-0-1, then they lost seven straight games. Since then, they are 13-2-2 with six straight victories.
15. Colorado Avalanche (-0.99 units): The Colorado Avalanche are still the favorites to win the Stanley Cup despite the fact they are just 15-12 and rank outside the top ten in terms of points percentage. The Avalanche have been depleted by injuries all season long and it's actually impressive they aren't losing bettors even more money.
16. Buffalo Sabres (-1.21 units): Buffalo can score goals, but they also give up plenty. They've been better to bettors on the road (up 2.51 units) compared to at home (down 3.72 units).
17. Carolina Hurricanes (-1.66 units): A popular Stanley Cup pick in preseason, the Hurricanes are compiling points, but they're also losing a lot of games in overtime which doesn't help bettors. Carolina has just 6 regulation losses, but they have six more in overtime.
18. Vancouver Canucks (-1.97 units): After an absolutely dreadful start, the Canucks have righted the ship and are within striking distance of the wild-card spots in the West.
19. Minnesota Wild (-2.07 units): The Wild were absolutely amazing to bettors the last two seasons, as they were an elite team minus all of the attention. This year, they got oddsmakers' respect but started slow. They're turning it around though, as they've won nine of their last 12 games.
20. Washington Capitals (-2.10 units): Washington is another solid team rebounding from a poor start. The Capitals have won five straight games as they get healthier and look to erase the hole they dug for themselves earlier.
21. St. Louis Blues (-2.44 units): The Blues won their first three games, then lost their next eight, and then won their next seven. Since then, they've lost eight of eleven. I guess you just have to ride the streaks with this group.
22. Los Angeles Kings (-2.78 units): The Kings have been decidedly mediocre to open the season after making the playoffs last year. Their underlying metrics suggest they are a very good team, but they've received awful goaltending almost all season. Will the goaltending regress in a positive manner?
23. Columbus Blue Jackets (-3.25 units): Columbus is just 10-18 to open the season as they've dealt with a rash of injuries. They are currently the worst team in the East.
24. Nashville Predators (-3.29 units): Juuse Saros started slow for Nashville, then he rebounded and the Predators started to win. However, in recent weeks, they've been mediocre at best. The Predators were expected to be a playoff team and they're currently not.
25. New York Rangers (-4.41 units): After making it to the Eastern Conference Final last season, expectations were high for the Rangers. However, they've opened their season by winning just 15 of their first 30 games. A .500 record isn't near good enough to be a profitable bet when you had expectations like the Rangers did.
26. Ottawa Senators (-4.84 units): Speaking of underperforming expectations, the Senators had a massive offseason but that has resulted in much on-ice success. Ottawa has picked it up of late though, winning three straight and 7 of its last 10.
27. San Jose Sharks (-5.92 units): The Sharks opened the season by losing their first five games. Since then, they've been a bit more competitive but still have lost 21 of their first 31 games. It's a rebuilding year in San Jose.
28. Philadelphia Flyers (-5.99 units): The Flyers earned points in 9 of their first 12 games. In the 18 games since then, they have two wins.
29. Florida Panthers (-7.53 units): Last year, the Panthers won the President's Trophy as the league's best regular season team. This year, through their first 30 games, they've lost more games than they've won. Still inflated based off of last year, the Panthers have been bleeding money for bettors.
30. Calgary Flames (-7.99 units): In a similar position to the Panthers, the Calgary Flames had a great season last year and added some big names in the offseason. Through 30 games, they have just 13 wins. Teams with high expectations underperforming is the quickest way to a losing bet.
31. Chicago Blackhawks (-9.31 units): The Blackhawks were my pick to be the worst team in hockey, and they are doing their best, losing 20 of their first 27 games.
32. Anaheim Ducks (-13.22 units): Anaheim has played 30 games. They've lost 23 of them.