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Hockey Betting 101 - What is PuckLuck?

Mobile sports betting is now legal in New York State, and, since we have a large New York following, I think it's a good time to introduce betting hockey to those who may not be as familiar with it.


If you're new to betting and looking for clarification on some common betting terms, PuckLuck.com does have a glossary to help you out. There, you'll also find some helpful definitions to other terms you may come across on the site that you do not recognize.


Defining terms are great, but it's really the strategy and mindset that differentiates betting on the NHL from any of the other major pro North American sports (NFL, NBA, MLB). Throughout the day, we'll focus on some of the commonalities you'll come across in NHL betting day-to-day, how to take advantage of the moneyline, puckline, and game totals in the NHL, and specifically what can affect an NHL team's probabilities.


But first, let's start with an introduction to the site:


How can PuckLuck help you?

I created PuckLuck.com with one thing in mind - helping you bet on the NHL smarter by providing all of the data you need to make these smarter decisions. On the Today's Games page, you'll see the projections for each and every game in the NHL for the day.


Here is an example of what you will see (on the desktop version):

Win Probabilities

The first thing you'll notice is the bold percentages in yellow below each team's logo. This is the win probability for each team. As you know, hockey is a fairly random sport and the NHL has a lot of parity. These probabilities help guide you to what a team's chances actually are of winning the game.


Things factored into these win probabilities each day are each team's lineup, the projected starting goaltenders, home vs. away, and the total amount of goals projected for the game.


The model I built to calculate these probabilities was originally built about six years ago, and constantly refined and tested to get to the point it is at today. This season, the model is performing at a rate that is strides ahead of any similar public model we've seen, with a log-loss between 0.65 and 0.66. (In comparison, a coin flip for each game would record a log-loss of 0.69, and the majority of public models I've seen hover between 0.67-0.68).


Projected Goals

The other thing that may appeal to you on the Today's Games page is projected goals. In hockey, wins are based on goal differential, and therefore projected goals are the basis for our win probabilities. We project goals based on the projected goals-for value for a team and the projected goals-against value of their opponent.


Our projected goals can be broken down even further to a granular level, where each individual player in the projected lineups carry a goals-for value and a goals-against value. Basically, how good are a player's offensive and defensive abilities and how does it affect the game when they are on the ice?


This, of course, includes goaltenders, which we'll get into later.


In projecting goals for each team, we are also able to project the spread and total goals for the game in one fell swoop.


Using Today's Games page in your betting

Our Today's Games page is probably your most useful tool if you're deciding what to bet on your own each day. The obvious thing to do is to compare your sportsbook lines to the projected data on this page.


For instance, if your sportsbook has the Buffalo Sabres favored today, and we're showing a higher win probability on the Detroit Red Wings, it's a pretty good sign to bet on the Red Wings.


If you're looking at the total goals with a projection of 6.03, and the sportsbook has the game total set at 5.5, perhaps you'd want to bet the over in that game. This of course depends on the lines for each bet.


Stay tuned as we continue our Hockey Betting 101 series throughout the day! I will also be available to answer any questions you may have so comment below, message @PuckLuckdotcom on Twitter, or email jmoser@PuckLuck.com.

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