- Stanley Cup champion Blues continue to line bettors’ pockets during 2019 season
- New York-based teams strong early bets
- See the top five most profitable NHL teams from the 2019-20 season so far
As the 2019-20 NHL season approaches its halfway mark, several teams have been burning bettors all season long—I’m looking at you Devils and Red Wings.
However, hopefully, you long ago abandoned ship on betting those teams and have instead been able to profit on a few of the league’s most consistent moneymakers.
As 2019 comes to close, we take a look at the top five teams who’ve given bettors the greatest return on investment (ROI), based off a $100 bet for every game on the moneyline. *All stats taken as of December 30.
5) Colorado Avalanche
- A $100 wager on each game betting the moneyline = $647 (+16.59% ROI)
- Records: Moneyline 23-16, Puck Line 24-15, Total 18-18-3
Heading into New Year’s Eve, the Colorado Avalanche have the third-best goal-differential in the league at +28 and sit second in the Central Division with 50 points. Much was expected of them this season as they entered October with short +290 odds to win the division.
While the Avs raced out to five straight wins, the team cooled off soon after. They were also dealt a blow with injuries to Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Raatanen. Luckily, strong play between the pipes from both Pavel Francouz and Philip Grubauer, a potential Calder Trophy campaign by Cale Maker, scoring by committee and another outstanding season by Nathan MacKinnon (22G/34A) have helped Colorado become the fifth-most profitable team for NHL bettors.
Our No. 1 overall pick.
Our back-to-back #NHLAllStar Central Division Captain.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) December 22, 2019
The Avalanche had a six-game win streak from November 27 to December 7, but since, have been rather inconsistent. Their past ten games have seen them go 4-6 on the moneyline. If not for that slump they’d likely have ranked even higher on this list as they had returned $965 of profit after their December 13 win over New Jersey. With losses in four of their past five, they, and their backers have given some of those profits back, now sitting at just $647.
The Avs don’t usually garner huge payouts in their wins, but have returned handsome plus-money payouts on several occasions this year such as in their 6-2 over Tampa Bay on October 19 ($284) and again two games later against Vegas ($250) in a 6-1 win.
The Avs should be due to recoup some of those profits for bettors but I may lay off for a few weeks. After hosting Winnipeg on December 31, they’ll then host the St. Louis Blues, before traveling for games against the Devils, Islanders and Rangers. And while Colorado is an impressive 10-2-2 against the East, (spoiler alert) three of those aforementioned teams, might be about to appear ahead of the Avs on this list.
4) New York Rangers
- A $100 wager on each game betting the moneyline = $724 (+19.05% ROI)
- Records: Moneyline 19-19, Puck Line 25-13, Total 17-20-1
The Rangers in some way are an odd mention in this list. New York ranks only 18th in overall moneyline records at 19-19.
By most accounts, they clearly are not one of the stronger teams of the 2019-20 season, evidenced by their overall 19-15-4 record and sixth-place standing in the Metropolitan Division.
However, as bettors we’re more concerned with how much money a team can make us rather than where they sit in the standings, and the Rangers have certainly done that.
The Rangers finished with just 78 points last season and while bookmakers lined their 2019-20 point total around the 87-88 mark, a slow start which saw them lose five of seven games began a trend which has seen the Rangers regularly listed as underdogs. In fact, only one time in New York’s last 18 games have they been listed as the favorite.
Entering today, Artemi Panarin is tied for third in the NHL in games with at least one goal (17) and in games with at least one point (28) this season. He has also tallied at least one point in 16 of the Rangers' 17 wins thus far in 2019-20. #NYR
— NYR Stats & Info (@NYRStatsInfo) December 23, 2019
So while their overall record is certainly nothing to get excited about, it doesn’t take a math major to see that a team being consistently listed at plus-money odds and who generally wins every other game (19-19) will be a moneymaker.
When you’re continually cashing payouts of $315 (Nov 2), $320 (Nov 7), $300 (Nov 23) and $295 (Dec 28) to name a few, you can afford to be mediocre yet still profitable.
As long as Artemi Panarin continues to score the Rangers will likely continue to fly under the radar but do enough to cash tickets. They’ll have another good opportunity to do so New Year’s Eve on the road in Edmonton as likely underdogs.
3) Washington Capitals
- A $100 wager on each game betting the moneyline = $753 (+19.31% ROI)
- Records: Moneyline 26-13, Puck Line 20-19, Total 25-14
The 2018 Stanley Cup champions have begun the 2019-20 season on a tear. In their opening five games of the season, Washington dropped three of five games which included a three-game losing streak. Since that time, the Caps have been an ATM for moneyline bettors.
Not only have they not suffered another three-game losing streak, but Washington has only lost in back-to-back games once since. A four-game winning streak, along with two six-game win streaks have helped propel the Caps to the top of the Metropolitan Division, Eastern Conference and NHL overall standings with a 27-8-5 record.
While Alex Ovechkin is having another stellar year with 24 goals (tied-4th) and 38 points (tied-21st), it’s defenseman John Carlson with 50 points who’s been even more impressive, ranking ninth in total league points (13G/37A).
Moneyline bettors won’t often find great value with Ovie and the Caps as they’re consistently listed as favorites. However, a 4-3 win over Toronto on October 29 and 5-2 win over the Lightning on December 14 would’ve cashed tickets paying $215 and $223 respectively on $100 bets.
Outside of an eight-game absence from Nicklas Backstrom, the Caps have remained relatively healthy this season. If Washington remains healthy and continues to get strong goaltending from Brayden Holtby (17-6-4), they should be a good bet to continue cashing for bettors into 2020. Starting Tuesday, they play just 5/12 teams with a winning record til the end of January and have just two extended road trips of three games the whole rest of the season.
2) St. Louis Blues
- A $100 wager on each game betting the moneyline = $934 (+23.95% ROI)
- Records: Moneyline 26-13, Puck Line 20-19, Total 19-20
The 2019 Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues may have gotten off to a slow start with five losses in their opening eight games but quickly rebounded to round into the second-most profitable team for bettors to close out 2019.
The Blues had a seven-game win streak from October 27 to November 9 and head into the new year as the league’s hottest team. After their December 29 win over the Winnipeg Jets (4-1), the Blues have now won eight straight and lead the Central Division with 58 points, eight more than second-place Colorado. Those 58 points also put them second overall in league standings to Washington.
Jordan Binnington of @StLouisBlues: 58 wins in 2019 are the 3rd-most by a goalie in a calendar year in NHL history, trailing only Marc-Andre Fleury’s 62 in 2009 and Bernie Parent’s 59 in 1974. pic.twitter.com/ci4oCDZwi5
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) December 28, 2019
The Blues have been equally strong both home and away with identical 13-4-3 records and have been incredibly dominant within their division. The Blues have a 10-1-1 record against Central Division foes and a 19-2-3 record against the West as a whole.
That seemingly will have to regress at least slightly in 2020 as that sort of dominance is unsustainable. The Blues will travel to Arizona on New Year’s Eve which will begin a stretch that sees them playing an average slate of teams with a combined 6-5-2 record until February 1.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 28, 2019
Their success has been all the more impressive without the services of Vladimir Tarasenko who has lead the team in goals each of the past five seasons and who was injured in October for five months. The Blues have just one player inside the top 40 in player points in David Perron and have been scoring by committee.
While the Blues have cashed several tickets for bettors, highlighted by big wins over the Lightning and Stars in late November, keep in mind their ROI was a mere $220 prior to those wins. Prior to their recent eight-game win streak, they had returned a total of just $356—a far cry from the $934 they have today. Expect some regression in 2020.
1) New York Islanders
- A $100 wager on each game betting the moneyline = $907 (+24.51% ROI)
- Records: Moneyline 24-13, Puck Line 17-20, Total 15-21-1
The Islanders were expected to finish in and around the 90-93 point range this season. After less than halfway through the year, they are on pace to smash that total and easily cash for season point total “Over” bettors.
With 51 points in 37 games, they trail only the Washington Capitals in the Metropolitan Division and have three games in hand. The Isles are 6-3-1 within the division and an incredible 18-4-1 against the Eastern Conference. Where they’ve really made their hay has come against the Atlantic, where they’ve gone 12-1.
Much of their profits came early in the season when they reeled off ten-straight wins. After losing their next game in overtime, they won another five-straight, followed by another overtime loss. The run gave them points in 17-straight games.
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) November 7, 2019
At the conclusion of that winning steak, a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh, the Isles had returned a healthy $1,052 for their backers. While they did hit a season-high of $1,112 after a 3-2 win over Boston on December 19, they have slowly begun to give back some of those profits with just two wins in their past six.
In fact, since that 17-game streak of collecting points, New York is a modest 8-7-1
Trotz discusses getting back to the basics for tonight’s game against the Wild. pic.twitter.com/SU1tj0b8B4
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 29, 2019
With no player ranking higher in total points than Matthew Barzal’s 33 (tied-45th) followed by Brock Nelson with 29 (tied-74th), New York has been getting by on solid defensive play thus far. While they’ve scored the ninth-fewest goals with 110, their 97 allowed is easily tops in the league. They’re the only team to have allowed less than 100. Goaltenders Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss have both been solid and rank in the top 14 in GAA.
If the Islanders were a stock, I’d take a “hold” approach. They have a solid foundation and can compete on any night but should see some regression in the new year. Their upcoming schedule is a mixed bag. Their next ten will see them play the struggling Devils twice, as well as the Red Wings, a home and home with the Rangers and tough games against the Leafs, Avs, Bruins and Capitals on New Year’s Eve and again on January 18.