2014-15 Fantasy Hockey: An Oddsmakers Take

Before the start of the current NFL season, we published a series of articles evaluating which fantasy football players were being undervalued according to oddsmakers. By comparing various prop betting opportunities with the Yahoo! Sports fantasy rankings, we were able to pinpoint the most under/overrated quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.

Although hockey is clearly the least popular of the six major US sports leagues in terms of number of bets, we’ve had a surprising amount of individuals asking whether we would be publishing a fantasy hockey preview based on oddsmakers’ projections. We were unsure whether such analysis would be possible until earlier this week when Bovada posted an over/under on total points (goals plus assists) for over one hundred different players.

By comparing these player props with the 2014-15 point projections at Yahoo! Sports, we’re able to determine which players are being mispriced by the supposed fantasy experts. The table below compares these Bovada totals with Yahoo! projections and will be updated if any additional sportsbooks post their odds.

Note: Players must play in Game 1 of the season for action

Player Team Points Yahoo Projection
Sidney Crosby PIT 104.5 104
Steven Stamkos TB 92.5 93
Evgeni Malkin PIT 89.5 93
John Tavares NYI 86.5 86
Claude Giroux PHI 85.5 86
Patrick Kane CHI 82.5 86
Nicklas Backstrom WAS 82.5 70
Taylor Hall EDM 81.5 83
Phil Kessel TOR 80.5 81
Ryan Getzlaf ANA 80.5 81
Tyler Seguin DAL 80.5 81
Alex Ovechkin WAS 77.5 75
Corey Perry ANA 75.5 75
Jonathan Toews CHI 74.5 74
Jamie Benn DAL 74.5 76
Anze Kopitar LA 73.5 75
Matt Duchene COL 72.5 73
Joe Thornton SJ 71.5 71
Jordan Eberle EDM 71.5 72
Patrick Sharp CHI 69.5 70
Erik Karlsson OTT 68.5 78
Joe Pavelski SJ 68.5 66
Nathan MacKinnon COL 67.5 77
Kyle Okposo NYI 67.5 69
Gabriel Landeskog COL 67.5 67
Zach Parise MIN 66.5 67
Max Pacioretty MON 64.5 65
Jason Spezza DAL 64.5 65
Jakub Voracek PHI 64.5 54
Eric Staal CAR 64.5 65
Logan Couture SJ 63.5 64
Martin St. Louis NYR 63.5 63
Ryan Johansen CLB 63.5 61
Alexander Semin CAR 63.5 46.5
Blake Wheeler WPG 62.5 64
Patrick Marleau SJ 62.5 64
David Krejci BOS 62.5 63
Chris Kunitz PIT 62.5 63
Henrik Sedin VAN 62.5 51
Jeff Skinner CAR 62.5 63
Patrice Bergeron BOS 62.5 63
P.K. Subban MON 62.5 69
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins EDM 61.5 54
Daniel Sedin VAN 61.5 57
T.J. Oshie STL 59.5 60
Henrik Zetterberg DET 59.5 61
Paul Stastny STL 59.5 60
James van Riemsdyk TOR 59.5 66
Thomas Vanek MIN 58.5 60
Milan Lucic BOS 58.5 61
Kyle Turris OTT 57.5 55
Bryan Little WPG 57.5 59
Gustav Nyquist DET 57.5 59
Shea Weber NAS 56.5 57
Mikko Koivu MIN 56.5 58
Dustin Byfuglien WPG 56.5 56
Jaromir Jagr NJ 56.5 51
Nazem Kadri TOR 54.5 52
Mark Giordano CAL 54.5 51
Wayne Simmonds PHI 54.5 56
Ryan Kesler ANA 54.5 55
Bobby Ryan OTT 53.5 55
Valtteri Filppula TB 53.5 54
Keith Yandle ARI 53.5 57
Vladimir Tarasenko STL 53.5 55
Tyler Bozak TOR 52.5 45
Rick Nash NYR 52.5 51
Andrew Ladd WPG 52.5 55
Cody Hodgson BUF 52.5 54
Marian Gaborik LA 51.5 53
Ryan Callahan TB 51.5 52
James Neal NAS 51.5 62
Matt Moulson BUF 51.5 58
Radim Vrbata VAN 50.5 46
Jeff Carter LA 50.5 52
Brandon Dubinsky CLB 50.5 52
David Desharnais MON 50.5 46
Brad Marchand BOS 50.5 52
Michael Cammalleri NJ 50.5 52
Mike Ribeiro NAS 50.5 42
Clarke MacArthur OTT 50.5 48
Scott Hartnell CLB 49.5 56
David Perron EDM 49.5 50
Jiri Hudler CAL 48.5 50
Frans Nielsen NYI 48.5 49
Chris Kreider NYR 48.5 43
Tyler Ennis BUF 48.5 55
Johan Franzen DET 48.5 48
Jonathan Huberdeau FLA 47.5 44
Tomas Hertl SJ 47.5 45
Evander Kane WPG 47.5 45
Mikkel Boedker ARI 47.5 48
Jussi Jokinen FLA 46.5 47
Aleksander Barkov FLA 46.5 48
Justin Williams LA 45.5 39
P.A. Parenteau MON 45.5 41
Travis Zajac NJ 44.5 46
Joffrey Lupul TOR 44.5 41
Curtis Glencross CAL 43.5 45
Sean Monahan CAL 43.5 43
Drew Doughty LA 42.5 50
Marcus Johansson WAS 41.5 41
Milan Michalek OTT 41.5 39
Nick Bonino VAN 41.5 42
Nail Yakupov EDM 41.5 41
Alexander Edler VAN 40.5 43
Alex Galchenyuk MON 40.5 40
Mikael Backlund CAL 40.5 40
Zdeno Chara BOS 39.5 40
Sam Gagner ARI 39.5 39

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to see Sidney Crosby at the top of both the Bovada totals and Yahoo! projections considering that he led the NHL in points last season with 104. Similarly, oddsmakers and fantasy gurus seem to agree across the board on the top six selections:

  1. Sidney Crosby
  2. Steven Stamkos
  3. Evgeni Malkin
  4. John Tavares
  5. Claude Giroux
  6. Patrick Kane

However, once we reach number seven on this list we see a vast discrepancy. While Capitals C Nicklas Backstrom is projected by Yahoo! to tally just 70 points next season (tied for 21st), Bovada estimated that the crafty Swede will score 82.5 points (tied for 6th best odds). This 12.5 point gap between our two sources indicates that Backstrom should be one of the best sleepers in fantasy hockey if he can maintain a respectable plus/minus, but what other players should be targeted?

Sleepers

  1. Carolina F Alexander Semin: +17 (Bovada 63.5, Yahoo 46.5)
  2. Canucks C Henrik Sedin: +11.5 (Bovada 62.5, Yahoo 51)
  3. Philadelphia F Jakub Voracek: +10.5 (Bovada 64.5, Yahoo 54)
  4. Nashville F Mike Ribeiro: +8.5 (Bovada 50.5, Yahoo 42)
  5. Edmonton C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: +7.5 (Bovada 61.5, Yahoo 54)
  6. Toronto C Tyler Bozak: +7.5 (Bovada 52.5, Yahoo 45)

Busts

  1. Nashville F James Neal: -10.5 (Bovada 51.5, Yahoo 62)
  2. Ottawa D Erik Karlsson: -9.5 (Bovada 68.5, Yahoo 78)
  3. Avalanche F Nathan MacKinnon: -9.5 (Bovada 67.5, Yahoo 77)
  4. Los Angeles D Drew Doughty (Bovada 42.5, Yahoo 50)
  5. Montreal D P.K. Subban: -6.5 (Bovada 62.5, Yahoo 69)
  6. Toronto F James van Riemsdyk: -6.5 (Bovada 59.5, Yahoo 66)
  7. Buffalo F Matt Moulson: -6.5 (Bovada 51.5, Yahoo 58)

Perhaps the most interesting player on the “Busts” list is Nashville Predators LW James Neal. The 27-year old was dealt from the Penguins to the Predators in the off-season after tallying 88 goals in 3 seasons with Pittsburgh. However, Neal will no longer have the luxury of playing with Sidney Crosby — arguably the best playmaking center in the league. On an inferior team with less talent surrounding him, Neal owners should expect a drop in goals, assists and plus/minus. It will also be interesting to see whether his penalty minutes (which, in the past, have been a nice bonus from a big-time goal scorer) wane as a result of his new role with his new team.

While Neal tops our do-not-draft list, another left winger ranks as our most undervalued player. Although Alexander Semin has struggled to stay healthy in recent years, he’s still just 30-years old and, prior to 2012, had seasons of 21, 28, 40, 34, 26 and 38 goals. While Yahoo fantasy experts believe Semin is over-the-hill (they project just 46.5 points in 2014-15), Bovada’s over/under of 63.5 puts him on par with star players like Martin St. Louis, Patrick Marleau and David Krejci.


Which players do you think are being undervalued? Will you be taking any of these player props over at Bovada? Please leave any thoughts, questions or comments in the section below.

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David Solar

David Solar has been the Content Manager at Sports Insights for over four years. He specializes in sports betting analytics and has created several popular data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

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