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
|Martin St. Louis||NYR||63.5||63|
|James van Riemsdyk||TOR||59.5||66|
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:
- Sidney Crosby
- Steven Stamkos
- Evgeni Malkin
- John Tavares
- Claude Giroux
- 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?
- Carolina F Alexander Semin: +17 (Bovada 63.5, Yahoo 46.5)
- Canucks C Henrik Sedin: +11.5 (Bovada 62.5, Yahoo 51)
- Philadelphia F Jakub Voracek: +10.5 (Bovada 64.5, Yahoo 54)
- Nashville F Mike Ribeiro: +8.5 (Bovada 50.5, Yahoo 42)
- Edmonton C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: +7.5 (Bovada 61.5, Yahoo 54)
- Toronto C Tyler Bozak: +7.5 (Bovada 52.5, Yahoo 45)
- Nashville F James Neal: -10.5 (Bovada 51.5, Yahoo 62)
- Ottawa D Erik Karlsson: -9.5 (Bovada 68.5, Yahoo 78)
- Avalanche F Nathan MacKinnon: -9.5 (Bovada 67.5, Yahoo 77)
- Los Angeles D Drew Doughty (Bovada 42.5, Yahoo 50)
- Montreal D P.K. Subban: -6.5 (Bovada 62.5, Yahoo 69)
- Toronto F James van Riemsdyk: -6.5 (Bovada 59.5, Yahoo 66)
- 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.