Hockey has more statistics to follow that you could ever keep up with, even if you were one of the die-hard NHL faithful.
For players, choosing which sports bets to make often is assisted by the use of stats. When it comes to the NHL, there are some that can help you get an idea of just how capable a team really is, and there are others that don’t help you out much at all.
We’ve assembled a short guide on which advanced analytics players want to keep their eye on when making NHL bets.
The simple definition of what Corsi actually is: a shot attempt during 5-on-5 play. If a team shoots the puck at the goal, then it is tallied as a Corsi For. If the opposition fires one on goal, then it’s a Corsi Against.
But what does Corsi offer you? Well, it comes down to controlling the possessions during a game. When you look at the CF%, which is the Corsi For Percentage, you want to look for a number above 50 percent. That means the team you’re considering is in possession of the puck more than their opponents.
In the same category as Corsi is Fenwick, which is basically the same statistic but it doesn’t include shots that were blocked. CF% and FF% are typically very close to being the same number.
This statistic, which is labeled as xG, has a pretty advanced definition to go with the advanced analytic it provides. Expected goals are the sum of goal fractions expected from observed unblocked shots. The stat uses several variables — such as shot angle, distance from the goal, if it were a shot on goal, and more — to determine the quality of shots taken.
If you add up a team’s expected goals, you can get an idea of how many goals a team should have scored on average.
This is a good stat when comparing teams at even strength, but savvy players can use it when researching the quality of penalty kills and power plays a team has.
Games are won and lost based on how well the fellow between the posts performs. That’s why, as a player looking to make an NHL bet, you should always keep your eye on save percentages and averages.
Take SV%, which is a goalie’s Save Percentage. The 5-on-5 save percentage is valuable when determining how well a team’s goalie does when both teams are at even strength in a game.
Players should also take a look at xSV% and dSV%, which are Expected Save Percentage and Delta Save Percentage, respectively. The former is what a goalie’s Save Percentage should be once shots on goal and the quality of those shots is determined. The latter is used to define the difference between the goaltender’s Save Percentage and Expected Save Percentage.
Take a team’s 5-on-5 Shooting Percentage and add on its 5-on-5 Save Percentage and you get the team’s PDO. Put into basic terms, it is a hockey analytic that helps determine the value of production on both the offensive and defensive sides.
If a team has a high PDO, that means they score and stop the puck well. If they do one or the other very well, then their PDO will still be decent. Those at the bottom of the PDO list have difficulty scoring as well as difficulty keeping their opponents from putting points on the board.
A note about the importance of scores
When it comes to looking at any statistics — advanced analytics included — it is important for players to keep in mind that scores really do make a difference. If a team is up by a good amount of goals, the chances are pretty good that they will slow down the pace of the game and try to keep the puck by avoiding taking any risky shots on goal. Conversely, teams that are trailing are going to increase the intensity and fire more nontypical shots with hopes of getting one into the net.
So, when doing your research, you should always take into consideration if the team you are looking at often trails or is often dominant before placing your NHL bet.