Finding Overvalued and Undervalued NHL Teams with xGF% and xG+/-

Last night the Arizona Coyotes did not come through, scoring just one goal and allowing the Wild to score a late goal to win 2-1.

The reason behind the bet on the Coyotes was the fact that they led the NHL in Scoring Chances For Percentage, and I expected that if they continued to create scoring chances that should lead to more goals. Well that didn’t happen, at least not yet.

The other part of the handicap was the Wild not being very good. They were ranked 27th in both Corsi For Percentage and Scoring Chances For Percentage and those numbers were somewhat confirmed by the Wild scoring just two goals.

I want to take a look at another hockey metric now which is xGF% or Expected Goals For Percentage.

Staying with the Arizona Coyotes, they currently rank last in GF%, which is the amount of goals a team has scored, divided by the amount of goals total in their games. However, they rank 8th in xGF%.

While part of this disparity is a lack of scoring talent on the Coyotes roster, I still expect that the Coyotes will perform better in the future than what they’re currently showing on the ice. The Coyotes next game comes on Thursday night at the Chicago Blackhawks. I will not be betting on the Coyotes in that game, but I’ll be watching and hopefully learning more about both teams.

To find some other possibly undervalued teams I wanted to look at the differential between Expected Goals For Percentage, and actual Goals For Percentage. Here’s how that looks as of Wednesday, October 17:

xGF%-GF% 10-17-18.png

Arizona is just blowing everyone else out of the water with a gap of over 50 percent, over double the next team, Detroit, at 20 percent.

At the bottom of the list, it looks like we should expect Anaheim and New Jersey to regress a bit.

We should also expect Detroit, St. Louis, Buffalo, Vegas and Tampa Bay to start scoring at a higher rate than they are currently.

So how can we use this to find value on tonight’s slate? I’m going to Anaheim, the team by this metric that has been the most fortunate in the NHL so far. The team they’re facing, the New York Islanders, have also been fortunate, but not nearly as much as the Ducks.

The Ducks are currently -180 to win at home, while NYI is +160.

Now let’s take a look at xG+/- or Expected Goals Plus-Minus:

xG plus minus 10-17-18.png

Again, the Islanders don’t rank great in this category, but Anaheim finds themselves at the bottom of yet another stat. So in six games, Expected Goals Plus-Minus thinks that Anaheim should have almost six more goals scored against them than for them, nearly one per game.

While I don’t feel great about betting on the Islanders, they are a young team with upside so I don’t mind taking them as more of an auto-fade to Anaheim. This is a juicy enough plus-money line to make a modest one unit selection on New York.

Pick Against the Spread: New York Islanders +160 over Anaheim Ducks – 1 Unit – LOSS

There’s another game on the slate tonight where the line looks off, and that’s the Montreal Canadians hosting the St. Louis Blues.

Just looking purely at the standings with Montreal at 3-1-1 and STL at 1-2-2 you’d expect Montreal to be favored, yet they are -105 while the Blues are at -115.

Comparing the teams by Corsi we see Montreal with a CF% of 54 percent, good for 7th in the league, while St. Louis is down at 47% ranking 21st.

Looking at the numbers above, Montreal ranks #6 in xG+/- to STL at #23. In terms of xGF% – GF% though, Montreal has scored about 5% more than expected compared with the Blues who should have about 11% better scoring luck. That is not enough for me to get off the road underdog though.

I see too much value on the Canadians who may be the better team and are at home. Having arguably the best goalie in the league between the pipes in Carey Price seals the deal.

Pick Against the Spread: Canadians -105 over Blues – 3 Units – WIN +2.86 Units



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