NHL GPP STRATEGY SESSION #18: PROJECTING GAME PACE, PART TWO: B2B EFFECTS
We discussed pace of play in my last strategy session, and since that time, the games with the highest projected paces of the night have finished in 6-4 (CAR-MON) and 6-5 (WSH-CAR) finals. Hopefully this is something that makes you go “hmm…”.
Nine games on tonight’s featured slate, and lock is at 7:00pm. I’m going to breakdown all of my favorite GPP stacks for tonight, but first – another strategy session. Today, I want to look at pace and how to project high-event games.
NHL GPP STRATEGY SESSION #18: PROJECTING GAME PACE, PART TWO: B2B EFFECTS
We discussed pace of play in my last strategy session, and since that time, the games with the highest projected paces of the night have finished in 6-4 (CAR-MON) and 6-5 (WSH-CAR) finals. Hopefully this is something that makes you go “hmm…”. Let’s look at how – if at all – a team playing back-to-back has their pace affected at all. I don’t know what the results will show, as I’m diving into this for the first time myself, but there are a handful of teams playing B2B tonight, so I thought it’d be a great time to find out!
B2B GOING FROM ROAD TO HOME
Tonight’s teams playing road > home B2B: Washington, Colorado
I have started work on a database of team records and GF/GA in B2B appearances since the start of 2016. I have compiled about 95% of all B2B games played. When a team plays on the road, and then travels home to play the next night – with the data I have compiled – teams have a record of 93-63-19…wow. Teams in this spot actually have a better record than the average in this spot. All told, these team’s average 2.9 GF/game, which is exactly the same as the average in all games since the start of 2016-17. Team’s playing in this situation are only allowing 2.7 GA/game though, 0.2 lower than the league average. The team playing back-to-back in these situations seem to have a slight advantage – crazy. Let’s see how pace is affected – for this exercise, let’s use just the top-10 highest-paced teams.
These teams have played 11 games going road to home. The average sum of CF and CA in these games was 124.3 – which is a bit higher than the ten teams’ average sum of 119.2. This likely needs a larger sample than 11 games, but early indications would suggest that the games in these scenarios are actually a bit faster, with the team playing back-to-back actually having a slight advantage.
B2B GOING FROM HOME TO ROAD
Tonight’s teams playing home > road B2B: Detroit, New Jersey
Since the start of 2016-17 – using the data I have available – teams playing back-to-back, going from home to road, have a combined record of 94-89-34. We can see that these teams actually do have a losing record, as opposed to teams going road to home. The B2B teams score an average of 2.7 goals per game, slightly lower than the league average, while allowing 2.9 goals against per game – which is right on par with the league average. Let’s see how pace has played out in these games thus far in 2018-19.
There have only been 6 games thus far for the top-10 highest paced teams in this scenario, and the average sum of CF + CA has been 117.3 in these games. This is, obviously, an extremely small sample, but the pace has been just a tad slower in these games. All of the data seems to indicate that going from home to road is slightly harder for teams, and they have struggled a bit in this situation over the years.
B2B ROAD GAMES
Tonight’s teams playing B2B on the road: Ottawa
Since the start of 2016-17 – using the data I have compiled thus far – teams playing back-to-back on the road, having played an away game the night before as well, have a combined record of 156-161-48. The team playing B2B has only won 42.7% of games in these situations – but how does is the score affected? The teams playing B2B has only managed 2.4 goals per game in this situation – that is a half-goal less than the league average. Surprisingly, though, these teams have allowed 2.9 goals against per game – right on par with the league average. This seems to suggest that team’s playing B2B may be at a disadvantage offensively, but they shouldn’t necessarily be targeted defensively, as they are allowing the same amount of goals against as any other situation. So how has pace been affected in road B2B’s?
The top-10 highest paced teams have played in 21 road B2B games, and their average pace has been 120.3 – which is just slightly higher than the 119.2 average pace of these teams.
Some more testing could go into this, for sure, but pace surely doesn’t seem to be affected by B2B games THAT much. The biggest thing I am taking from this is the old myth about targeting teams playing on a road B2B. For at least three seasons, there has not been any statistical advantage to that approach. Perhaps you should avoid rostering players from the teams ON the B2B, but I will be eliminating the targeting of these teams moving forward.
Now, onto my stack of the night…
MON1: Max Domi/Jonathan Drouin/Andrew Shaw
MON2: Brendan Gallagher/Tomas Tatar/Phillip Danault
Possible add-on: Shea Weber or Jeff Petry (PP1)
OK, there’s a whole lot of factors swaying me towards the Canadiens tonight. Let’s make a list:
- Ottawa is still allowing nearly 4 GA/game on the road this season. In fact, the game against Detroit last night was the first time all season that they’ve held a home opponent to under three goals.
- Montreal just scored 5 goals in Ottawa back on December 4. Montreal also scored 5 against the Sens two nights later.
- Mike McKenna is starting in goal for the Sens, who in six appearances this season, has a 3.98 GAA and 89.9% save percentage.
- Ottawa is allowing 37.9 shots against per game – worst in the league. They also rank last in CA/60.
- Montreal is averaging 34.2 SOG per game – 4thbest in the league. They rank 3rdin CF/60.
- Ottawa’s PK ranks 29th– killing just 73.4% of their penalties.
- This game has the highest projected pace on the slate, and features two of the top five highest-paced teams in the league.
- MON2 is controlling over 65% of the Corsi share on home ice, with 80.6 CF/60, which includes 42.2 SOG/60, 39.8 SCF/60 and 17 HDCF/60 – all while scoring at a rate of 4.5 GF/60.
- MON1 only controls 55% of the Corsi share, but are attempting 77 CF/60, including 45.4 SOG/60, 37 SCF/60 and 15.5 HDCF/60 – scoring at a rate of 6 GF/60.
- Montreal is a HUGE favorite tonight, with 71% projected odds to win, with an implied total of 3.9 – this is the highest total I can ever remember seeing.
MON2 draws the tougher 5v5 matchup, as they’ll be tasked with keeping the Mark Stone line off the scoreboard. MON1 gets the smash spot – mainly against the Tierney and Smith lines. They would be my preferred stack tonight, but should also be the chalkier of the two, as well. Montreal’s PP1 unit consists of Domi/Drouin/Gallagher/Weber/Petry. Weber will skate mainly with the Danault line at 5v5, but should see quite a bit of time with MON2, as well, and correlates with them on the PP, too. Once again, I don’t see how this stack is fade-able – but we always have to remember that variance can work in strange ways, which is why I always recommend fading the chalk if you’re building a single lineup.
WAS1: Alex Ovechkin/Nicklas Backstrom/T.J. Oshie
Possible add-on: John Carlson (PP1)
This line has predictably been “lights out” for the Caps since Oshie returned. They are playing back-to-back tonight, but are on home ice (check out the strategy session above). The Sabres had their 10-game win streak snapped in late November, and went on a stretch where they allowed 20 goals against in five straight losses. They’ve rebounded with two straight wins, but those came against two of the league’s basement dwellers – Arizona and Los Angeles. This will be a big test for the Sabres – but I don’t like the looks of it for them. The Eichel line is not very good possession-wise, so look for Ovechkin to pile up a ton of scoring chances tonight, as he looks to continue a dominant run in which he’s scored 16 goals in his last 13 games, including hat tricks in B2B games his last two. John Carlson is full correlated with WAS1 on home ice, so be sure to find a way to fit him into your WAS1 stacks.
COL1: Nathan MacKinnon/Gabriel Landeskog/Mikko Rantanen
Possible add-on: Tyson Barrie (PP1)
Colorado’s top line has proven to be matchup-proof on home ice. They’ll have a tough test against a very good trio of defensively sound forwards in Seguin/Benn/Radulov, but the Avs haven’t been hard-matching on home ice, so they’ll also see a good bit of ice time against the Stars projected second line of Martin Hanzal/Denis Gurianov/Devin Shore. This is the matchup that could cause the Stars trouble tonight, and this is the matchup that puts the MacKinnon line firmly in play for me in GPP’s tonight. As an added bonus, the Stars will be starting backup Anton Khudobin, who is having a lackluster season thus far. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even bother rostering Barrie with these three anymore, as this line’s goals always seem to have the three forwards getting the points. Dallas has a decent power-play, so I don’t think I’d even recommend Barrie here.
CBJ1: Artemi Panarin/Cam Atkinson/Pierre-Luc Dubois
Possible add-on: Seth Jones (PP1)
Columbus and Anaheim’s top lines will face-off tonight, as the Dubois line generally hard-matches against the opposition’s top competition. These lines both play at an extremely fast pace, and there should be a ton of good chances going back and forth between the two tonight. The Jackets line is the more consistent of the two, and have proven to have a higher ceiling, as well. Of course, this isn’t a surprise to anyone, and they’ll likely have higher ownership than the Ducks, too. Cam Atkinson had his point streak snapped last week, but he remains an extremely consistent play, with points in 14 of his last 15 games. Seth Jones fully correlates to CBJ1 in Columbus, so you want to make sure to leave room for him in all your CBJ1 stacks.
TOR2: Auston Matthews/Andreas Johnsson/Kasperi Kapanen
TOR3: Nazem Kadri/William Nylander/Patrick Marleau
Possible add-on: Morgan Rielly (PP1 w/ Matthews & Kadri)
Although Ottawa and Montreal have the highest projected pace of the night, the Leafs and Panthers aren’t far behind them. If I had to guess, I think the top lines (Barkov/Tavares) will cancel one another out tonight, as they’re both pretty decent with puck possession, and don’t allow many chances. Of course, that could all go out the window when you match up two of those type of lines against one another, but I really like the spots for TOR2 and TOR3, and will instead target them. Matthews/Johnsson/Kapanen have been outstanding thus far, controlling over 67% of the Corsi share, with 82.9 CF/60, which includes 43.3 SOG/60, 33.1 SCF/60 and 14 HDCF/60. The kicker with TOR2, though, is that they’re scoring at a rate of 7.7 GF/60. It’s not as big of a sample as I’d like – just 47 minutes – but it’s not exactly a small sample, either. TOR3? With Kadri/Nylander/Marleau together, they’re controlling over 70% of the Corsi share, with 96.5 CF/60, 58.2 SOG/60, 47.3 SCF/60 and 20 HDCF/60. This is a much smaller sample, about 33 minutes thus far, but the issue with TOR3 is that they aren’t finished – with just a single even-strength goal in those 33 minutes. For comparison, Matthews’ line has scored 6 times in 47 minutes at 5v5. Either way, they both have great matchups against a Panthers team that has some real weak depth – rookie Henrik Borgstrom will be making his 2018-19 debut on the second line tonight, and will draw Matthews. I don’t think you need to worry about adding Rielly onto these stacks. He skates on the PP with Matthews and Kadri, but for the most part, he’s on the ice with the Tavares line at 5v5.
ANH1: Ryan Getzlaf/Ondrej Kase/Pontus Aberg
Possible add-on: Brandon Montour (PP1)
As I discussed earlier, the Blue Jackets top line will likely hard-match Getzlaf tonight, which means we should be in for some fast-paced hockey when those two lines are on the ice. Both play at an extremely fast pace, and although the Dubois line is gifted offensively, no doubt, they also allow a ton of scoring chances and shots against at 5v5. As long as Kase remains on this top line with Getzlaf, I will definitely want some exposure. Anaheim has quietly won 9 of their last 11 games, and are averaging 4.5 goals per game in the month of December. Brandon Montour skates a bit with ANH1 at even strength, but I don’t consider him a must-add here. The Ducks power play has been getting shuffled around, and I’m not even sure if he’ll find himself on the top unit – and if he is, I have no idea if he’ll even correlate to anyone other than Getzlaf.
PHI1: Claude Giroux/James van Riemsdyk/Travis Konecny
Possible add-on: Shayne Gostisbehere (PP1)
Philadelphia continues to be forgotten by the NHL DFS community, and despite scoring just 1 goal in two of their last three games, they clearly have a ton of upside for DFS purposes. I love their new second line of Couturier/Simmonds/Voracek, but against the Canucks tonight, I would much rather have exposure to the top line, as they’ll face Bo Horvat, who’s line has been getting crushed defensively. Horvat/Virtanen/Goldobin have controlled just 35% of the Corsi share, and are allowing 78.3 CA/60, 49.1 SA/60, 46.1 SCA/60 and 20 HDCA/60 – while allowing goals at a rate of 3.1 GA/60. Vancouver has the league’s 2ndworst PK over the past month, killing under 70% of their opponent’s PP chances. With the PK being so bad, I’d definitely recommend getting Gostisbehere into your PHI1 stacks – as he mans the point on the top PP, and skates about 6 minutes TOI with PHI1 at 5v5, as well.
NOTE: I know you guys like the cheap options, and I am always on the lookout for depth lines with numbers that jump off the page at me, but it’s slim pickens tonight. I don’t want to list garbage options just to have some listed, so there’s just one here for tonight. If you want a cheap one-off, though, there probably isn’t a better option than Zach Aston-Reese. Aston-Reese should continue to skate alongside Malkin and Kessel, and gets time on the team’s top PK. He finished last night with a short-handed goal, an empty net goal and an assist – along with a team-high 5 SOG, a team-high 9 hits and a blocked shot. I have no problem tailing that kind of output for $3,300 (on DK; $3,500 on FD).
LA3: Tyler Toffoli/Adrian Kempe/Nikita Scherbak
Possible add-on: Jake Muzzin (PP2)
This is about as cheap as I’d get on tonight’s slate. This trio continues to play really good hockey together, and will have a nice matchup against the Penguins depth tonight, in what is projected to be the game with the third-highest pace on the night. In just over 35 minutes together, not only are the controlling 55% of the Corsi share, but they’re generating 44.2 SOG/60, 40.8 SCF/60 and have scored twice in those 35 minutes at 5v5. Jake Muzzin has been skating almost 5 minutes with the line at 5v5, and correlates to Toffoli and Kempe on the Kings’ second power play unit – he’s definitely not a must-add, but as cheap as he is, I like the value. As an added bonus, Matt Murray is returning to action tonight, and will be starting his first game since November 17 – a game in which he allowed 3 GA on 10 shots, before leaving with an injury. He allowed 4 or more goals against in four of his five games before that, as well.
I generally correlate my goalies in GPP’s, but if you need a flier, here are my favorites today:
Robin Lehner (NYI) – Lehner hasn’t been confirmed yet, but I’d be comfortable using either him or Greiss tonight. The Islanders have 67% projected odds to win on home ice tonight. Detroit has only managed to score 9 total goals in their last four games, and the sledding won’t get any easier tonight, against an Islanders team that is holding opponent’s to under 3 GA/game in December – including games against Pittsburgh (x2), Columbus, Vegas and Winnipeg. These are good teams that are getting shut down by stellar goaltending, and it’d be a huge surprise if they let down tonight. The Isles just beat the Red Wings by a score of 3-2 just a week ago.
Frederik Andersen (TOR) – Andersen also has not been confirmed just yet, but if he’s in, I don’t mind going back to the guy who burned me just two nights ago. The Leafs allow a ton of shots, so Freddie is always good to see a decent shot volume. The Leafs have decent odds to win tonight – 59% at the moment – and I can’t see Andersen having two bad nights in a row. He’s been a Vezina caliber goalie to this point, and I’d expect a rebound against a team that really depends on their top line for most of their scoring – and that top line will be in tough tonight.
Juuse Saros (NSH) – If Taylor Hall is out once again tonight, I will be taking some shots with Preds backups Juuse Saros. The Devils made a miraculous comeback against Vegas last night, but part of that was being fueled by the home crowd – and I’d think the overtime tilt took a lot out of them, in addition to the overnight travel to Nashville. The Preds are banged up, yes, but they also have one of the stingiest defensive corps in the league, and will be playing in arguably the toughest arena for home teams to come in to. Nashville has 63% projected odds to win tonight.