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ProfessorMJ

NHL Betting System: "The Scoring Drought"

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Professor MJ’s

Sports Betting Strategies

 

NHL – The Scoring Drought

 

In this article, we are going to investigate the following situation:

When a National Hockey League team goes through a streak of games where they struggle to score goals, should we bet or fade them in their following game?

If you have been following me a little bit, you know I tend to go against the general betting public. For this reason, my initial guess in the current setting is that we should probably bet the team whose offense has been experiencing some difficulties lately. Why not verify this gut feeling through empirical data?

The results presented in this statistical study are based on historical data from the 2007/2008 to 2015/2016 regular seasons. It contains data on over 10,000 hockey games.

Suppose Team A has scored very few goals in each of its past “x” games. We wonder whether we should bet or fade Team A in their next meeting (“fade” = bet against).

A) REQUIRING A LOSING STREAK

First, we are going to necessitate the team whose offense has been struggling lately to have also lost all of those recent games.

1. The 2-Game Losing Scoring Drought

We kick off this study by investigating the case where Team A not only lost its previous two games, but they lost them by scoring very few goals.

1.1 Basic Exploration Under the 2-Game Losing Scoring Drought

Assume Team A was shutout in its last two games (obviously, both losses). How did they fare in their following match? How about if they lost both previous games by scoring a maximum of one goal in each contest? Or a maximum of two goals per game? Or a maximum of three goals per game?

Below are the results from placing $1 bets on or against Team A after such a 2-game losing scoring drought (based on the data from the 2007/2008 to 2015/2016 seasons):

NHL-ScoringDrought01.png?v=1571320523

Oh. My. God. The results are AMAZINGLY good!!

Not only do we find some very lucrative cases, but it seems super clear that we are better off betting Team A, as opposed to fading them. That fits the contrarian rationale described earlier.

The most profitable situation (by far!) occurs when betting Team A after it lost its previous two games by scoring a maximum of three goals per meeting. This case led to an astounding $79.21 profit.

1.2 The Road/Home Split Under the 2-Game Losing Scoring Drought

We are off to a fantastic start with HUGE gains already! Is it possible that we can improve even more upon those results?

A hidden factor that might come into play is the location of the game. Based on this hypothesis, let’s break down the results from the table above into two separate cases, depending on whether Team A played on the road or at home.

image.png.b5e4d188f6c89b6ac6206000b48f9dcc.png

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Do you remember how we won around $79 from betting Team A following a two-game stretch where they lost both meetings by scoring three goals or less per game? Based on the couple of tables above, this amount can be broken down as +$85 on the road versus -$6 at home.

The conclusion could hardly be clearer than this: we definitely should focus on road teams only!

Based on the evidence, we retain a first potential winning system:

Strategy #1: Betting Team A when playing on the road after it lost two straight games by scoring a maximum of 3 goals per match. Profit = +$85.03 over 1818 games. ROI = Return On Investment = 85.03 / 1818 = 4.7%.

Let me make sure you realize what’s going on here: we have obtained a 5% ROI on a sample of close to 2,000 games. That’s right, 2,000 games!! That is quite an accomplishment! The results are therefore extremely reliable.

1.3 The Odds Split Under the 2-Game Losing Scoring Drought

Let’s dig a little deeper with respect to the potential betting strategy described above. Are there any indications that certain sets of odds provide more lucrative situations?

Let’s assess the role of the money line under the current setting. In order to do so, I have separated the possible money lines into 11 ranges. We then look at the profit made within each such range.

We now take a look at how the $85.03 profit generated from the first strategy was distributed as a function of Team A’s odds:

image.png.cb7f2b0ac178b66476a4ee3ecc428d1a.png

The striking finding from the table above is that we lost money on big and moderate favorites. Why not leave them out, then?

Therefore, we are going to focus on the following revised betting system:

Strategy #1B: Betting Team A when playing on the road after it lost two straight games by scoring a maximum of 3 goals per match. Bet only if Team A’s money line is above 1.80. Profit = +$90.53 over 1656 games. ROI = 5.5%.

Unbelievable. We’ve managed to increase the profits even more and the reasoning behind the slight modification makes sense. Generally speaking, we are better served by betting underdogs than favorites (still coherent with the contrarian approach since “square” bettors prefer putting their money on favorites because it feels more comfortable).

1.4 The Season Split Under the 2-Game Losing Scoring Drought

A good way to gauge a system’s reliability is to check its performance across years. We hope to find consistent winnings, as opposed to big up-and-down spikes in terms of yearly gains.

Without further ado, let’s inspect the season-by-season performance of the lone betting strategy we have retained thus far:

image.png.4b76e229eb24e9f610240901089658a0.png

Very nice!!! We distinguish seven winning seasons versus only two where we ended up in the red (the 2009/10 and 2012/13 seasons).

The worst season produced losses of about 6 units, which wouldn’t take a huge blow to your bankroll.

You can hardly hope for cleaner results. It looks like we have a valid system that has a promising outlook for the future!

2. The 3-Game Losing Scoring Drought

We redo the same analysis, but this time in cases where the length of the losing scoring drought was three. In plain English, we look at how Team A did after undergoing a 3-game stretch where they lost all of them, while scoring very few goals in each contest.

2.1 Basic Exploration Under the 3-Game Losing Scoring Drought

Let’s pretend we had placed $1 bets after a team underwent such a 3-game losing scoring drought:

image.png.81f53673e6c45e46bed6dac662ff9724.png

Once again, we have strong indications that betting Team A is a much better option than betting against them.

The highest profit figure is $69.02; can we increase it by concentrating on road games only (as was the case before)?

2.2 The Road/Home Split Under the 3-Game Losing Scoring Drought

We now break down the results above contingent on the location of the game:

image.png.1cc0fda45fb57274ecd188f591d700de.png

image.png.add284f7703de2ce5c28dbf458489be5.png

Uh? Strangely enough, we did better off home teams (+$58.62 for the situation we are focusing on) rather than road teams (+$10.39).

Since the winnings were more substantial when betting Team A irrespective of the location of the game, this is the system we are going to keep track of:

Strategy #2: Betting Team A after it lost three straight games by scoring a maximum of 3 goals per match. Profit = +$69.02 over 1898 games. ROI = 3.6%.

2.3 The Odds Split Under the 3-Game Losing Scoring Drought

We have found one system worth of note in this section thus far. Let’s see how the $69 profit was obtained as a function of the money line.

image.png.df78ad5d0dab1e6b9d25930e06cb3138.png

We made money in all 11 categories, except in the 2.05 – 2.25 odds range where we lost a HUGE amount of cash! We also lost a tiny amount in the 2.50 – 2.75 range.

However, who would trust a betting system indicating to bet Team A except if its money line lies between such specific values as 2.05 and 2.25? It just wouldn’t make sense!

Consequently, we are going to contend that Strategy #2 works well no matter the odds.

2.4 The Season Split Under the 3-Game Losing Scoring Drought

Did the second strategy perform well across all seasons? Let’s find out!

image.png.4e520ebe8742fbe91d46f2d37c3424d5.png

An optimistic person would argue that we won money in six out of nine seasons, which is good!

However, a more realistic perspective raises a big red flag: we lost a substantial amount of cash in two separate seasons: 2010/11 and 2014/15. In fact, losing 15 units is a big deal. If your average bet is $1,000, that equates to losing $15,000 over a single year. Ouch!

There is absolutely no doubt that Strategy #1B is superior to Strategy #2. Not only were its winnings bigger, but, as was just demonstrated, the second strategy’s consistency is very questionable.

3. The 4-Game Losing Scoring Drought

The sample sizes will keep diminishing, as we now require Team A to have gone through a stretch of four straight games where they lost and did not score many goals in any of them.

3.1 Basic Exploration Under the 4-Game Losing Scoring Drought

Here are the results from placing $1 bets on the game that followed a four-game losing scoring drought by Team A:

image.png.86550baa1b68afd39dc9e28ee71fba26.png

Those results are just terrible. The most fruitful cases lead to gains below $7 (which is far from the $90 profit we found previously!) and they also correspond to situations where we need to bet against Team A, which is counterintuitive.

3.2 The Road/Home Split Under the 4-Game Losing Scoring Drought

Why don’t we break down the results depending on whether Team A played on the road or at home?

image.png.824ec49acdf5e0e9c964ba60bff744e2.png

image.png.92792912cc8b266ce3ed9ea0930e9f89.png

Things did not improve following the road/home split. The most gainful situations suggest fading Team A and their profit figures are still pretty low ($7.72 at best).

Based on these findings, it is not worth pursuing further under the 4-game setting.

B) OPTIONAL LOSING STREAK

Thus far I have required Team A to be undergoing a scoring drought and to have lost all of those games. The objective was to make sure that Team A felt like things were going badly.

But what if we remove the condition of having lost all of those games?

4. The 2-Game Scoring Drought

We might now include a team whose latest two outings ended with the following scores: lost 6-1 and won 2-0. This team is struggling offensively, but still managed to pull off a win.

I have scrutinized this modified version of the scoring drought effect to see if we can find a moneymaking system.

4.1 Basic Exploration Under the 2-Game Scoring Drought

Here are the results under the two-game scenario:

image.png.4c36d72adcd394a70ea5645ec0eefe50.png

The results still point in the direction of betting Team A rather than fading them, which is good news! However, the profit amounts are not as impressive as before, when we required Team A to have lost their most recent two games.

As a matter of fact, the best situation leads to a $35.25 profit; that’s not nearly as good as the $90 we got earlier in our best-case scenario!

4.2 The Road/Home Split Under the 2-Game Scoring Drought

image.png.ce7812522aa4ba083887f4dd3bf0d687.png

image.png.df21e5fa817bb3e31fac0fb10bedfcd2.png

A $49.03$ profit is not too bad at all.

Let’s consider the following system:

Strategy #3: Betting Team A when playing on the road after scoring a maximum of 3 goals per match in its past two games. Profit = +$49.03 over 2630 games. ROI = 1.9%.

Now, can we reach $90 like we did previously? Highly doubtful, but let’s make sure of it.

4.3 The Odds Split Under the 2-Game Scoring Drought

image.png.318a457fcdcb4c7da14c6bc2942037a7.png

It is crystal clear that betting favorites is a bad idea! Look at how we lost money in the first four odds ranges!

If we remove those cases, we reach a $69.25 profit:

Strategy #3B: Betting Team A when playing on the road after scoring a maximum of 3 goals per match in its past two games. Bet only if Team A’s money line is above 1.80. Profit = +$69.25 over 2337 games. ROI = 3.0%.

Would you prefer that I give you $90 or $69? Obviously, you would choose $90! For this reason, we are going to exclude Strategy #3B since its counterpart, called Strategy #1B, yielded loftier gains.

Notice that both strategies are exactly the same, with the lone exception being that Strategy #1B imposes Team A to have lost both of its past two games.

5. The 3-Game Scoring Drought

What happens if the scoring drought extends to three games?

5.1 Basic Exploration Under the 3-Game Scoring Drought

image.png.2e6d13d5be41585aaa96f41f969a0e6f.png

The profit amounts diminish even more here. That’s not encouraging.

5.2 The Road/Home Split Under the 3-Game Scoring Drought

image.png.defc816b9b2fa1c1095bb4ff7b5f981b.png

image.png.ebcdd561a55ca1a872c6dba4937e6afc.png

The best-case scenario involves a $44.01 profit. We are not even close to previous highs, so we aren’t going to dig deeper under the three game setting.

6. The 4-Game Scoring Drought

One final shot at beating Strategy #1B’s gains of $90; the 4-game scoring drought.

6.1 Basic Exploration Under the 4-Game Scoring Drought

image.png.d62a99735066e9ba0ebf476234133aa3.png

Those results are incredibly ugly! We are now losing money when betting Team A.

6.2 The Road/Home Split Under the 4-Game Scoring Drought

It would be a big shocker if the road/home split generated substantial gains, but I’ve still decided to present the results:

image.png.3ba3d377cc0f7b29e88e514d7fbe0761.png

image.png.e5ca83c73d1b950333d10ff4648b6fe8.png

Ok, we’ve seen enough! The most remunerative case produced gains below $7, which is negligible.

7. Conclusion

Let me recap clearly the set of conditions for the great betting system we have retained:

STRATEGY: Suppose Team A loses its past two games by scoring a maximum of 3 goals per meeting. If their next game is on the road and their money line is above 1.80, bet them.

  •  +$90.53 over 1656 games (ROI = 5.5%)
  • Expected profit per season = 10.06 units (($90.53 / 8.6 seasons because the 2012/13 season was shortened to 48 games instead of 82, which represents 0.6 season)

Thanks for reading!

Professor MJ (www.professormj.com)

Disclaimer: I am not telling anyone to go out and bet those angles blindly. There are no guarantees in the sports betting world. This article is presenting findings from past data and then trying to find what seem to be potential winning strategies. Bet at your own risk. I am not responsible for any losses incurred from such wagers.

 

 

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