Coyotes, Jets worth monitoring in second half

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Each season, there are teams that exceed expectations and those that don’t. Regardless of the situation, bettors must look at past games and judge how likely it is that a team will change course. Here are two teams that bettors should consider taking a second look at in the second half:

Winnipeg Jets

Modern hockey statistics are influencing hockey betting markets more than ever before, and rightfully so. Some of these metrics (Corsi, Expected Goals) are predictive of future goal scoring. However, the team that has been the most profitable bet on the moneyline is one that grades out as a poor team by both of those metrics, at least at even strength.

The Jets are 15-9 (62.5 percent) straight up (15-8-1 in the standings, but the one overtime defeat the third column is a loss, betting wise). A $100 per game bettor who backed the Jets in every game would have seen a 20-percent return on investment with a profit of roughly $570. It would be easy to suggest this team is simply lucky since its implied win rate sits at around 50 percent, but this phenomenon dates back to last season and beyond.

The Jets have outperformed their expected goals over a large sample of games and thus it’s reasonable to assume that they are an exception to the rule. Last season, goaltender Connor Hellebuyck was a big reason why the Jets exceeded expectations, but he hasn’t been as nearly as strong this season. While the Jets probably are not as good as their record, they’re probably not as bad as their peripherals suggest.

At even strength, the Jets appear to be one of the worst teams in the league, however, if we judge them on their play in all situations, they grade out more like an average team. Hellebuyck is a good bet to return to form. Defense is an area of concern but there is a lot of talent in their top-six forward group, and the Jets should continue to outscore the opposition on an aggregate basis.

Mathieu Perreault celebrates a goal for the Winnipeg Jets.
Mathieu Perreault celebrates a goal for the Winnipeg Jets.
Getty Images

Arizona Coyotes

When the Coyotes came away with wins in three of their first four games against the St. Louis Blues early last month, it looked to be the start of something special. Despite the fact that eight of the Coyotes’ first 12 games were against the likes of the Blues and the Vegas Golden Knights, the team was holding its own. They had generated just as many shot attempts and expected goals as their opponents had in that time span and goaltender Darcy Kuemper had been lights out.

However, since then, the Coyotes have been one of the worst teams in the league. Arizona has owned 42 percent of the shot attempts in its last 12 games and has generated more shots than the opposition only one time. The Coyotes grade out very poorly by expected goals on the season, ranking 26th on offense and 30th on defense.

The Coyotes have failed to live up to the expectations of the betting market as well, winning only 46 percent of time despite having an average implied win rate of 48.5 percent. A $100 bettor who backed the Coyotes every game would be down roughly $200. While the losses haven’t been significant, the market has clearly overvalued the Coyotes on a game-to-game basis thus far.

The roster is weak but they still have a chance to turn their season around with Kuemper in goal, assuming he can overcome the heavy workload and condensed schedule. Special circumstances aside, it’s hard to see the Coyotes being worthy of odds greater than -115 in any given matchup. This is a bad hockey team.

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