Stanley Cup Final Odds Update: Should You Back the Bruins?
It's been a wild, unforeseeable start. The Tampa Bay Lightning were -- by far -- the best team in the NHL by our nERD metric, which indicates expected goal differential against an average opponent on neutral ice, But they're done, and that leaves things pretty even the rest of the way in terms of team strength.
We can let our algorithm sort out what we should expect for the remaining series. Here is each team's nERD score, Stanley Cup win probability, and FanDuel Sportsbook Odds. The table is sorted by win probability.
|Team||nERD||nF Stanley Cup||FanDuel Sportsbook Odds|
|New York Islanders||0.34||12.98%||+500|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||0.41||12.83%||+700|
|St. Louis Blues||0.26||12.72%||+700|
|San Jose Sharks||0.28||12.34%||+500|
Which teams offer value based on our algorithm?
The Boston Bruins are now the best team via nERD by 0.17 goals over the Columbus Blue Jackets, their second-round opponent. The Blue Jackets are 0.07 goals better than the third-ranked New York Islanders. This means the top three teams in nERD are in the Eastern Conference.
Boston's algorithm odds aren't overwhelming at sub-20%, yet they still offer value on their odds from FanDuel Sportsbook. Converted to probability, the +460 line is shy of 18%. It's a thin margin, but that means the best team and the favorite is a bet to consider backing. The Bruins grade out third among all teams in expected goals allowed per 60 minutes and are second-best among playoff teams.
Also, with Columbus ranking second in nERD and third in win odds, they're unfortunate to run into Boston this round. Even with that matchup, there's value to be had, per our algorithm. Keep an eye on how this series unfolds, as it might feature the future Stanley Cup champ.
St. Louis Blues
The St. Louis Blues (0.26 nERD) don't stand out relative to the Colorado Avalanche (0.25) and San Jose Sharks (0.28) in the West, yet they draw a matchup with the Dallas Stars, a wild card with the weakest nERD among playoff teams. That gives a boost to their odds, and the Blues actually sit third in expected goal differential among remaining teams.
Other than Boston, Columbus, and St. Louis, we have the long-shot Avalanche with positive expected value popping up. At +800, they're the least likely squad to win it all going by the betting lines, but at 10.52%, they're really in the thick of it with all other teams, per our odds. They're fourth in expected goals allowed per 60 among remaining playoff teams and stifled the Calgary Flames to 0.84 goals per 60 minutes in the first round, the only mark below 1.30. The Avs also put up 2.02 goals per 60 but underperformed their 2.73 expected goals per 60. They're a sneaky value.