No matter what point you’re at during an NHL season, you’ll tend to hear plenty of opinions regarding which teams are overrated or underrated.
Analytics are useful in sussing this stuff out – eye tests less so. One reason I like to look at sports betting markets for this kind of thing is that, to a certain extent, they are quantifying fans and bookmakers’ opinions of teams’ abilities. Lines move around as teams go through ups and downs or sustain injuries, and you can start to get a sense of which teams have under or over-performed relative to those opinions.
HockeyMarkets.com team ROI is a measure of how overrated or underrated an NHL team is relative to market expectations. Using sportsbook lines and theoretical betting units of $100, team ROI shows the average per-game return for each squad. Teams that have a negative number are underperforming, teams that have a positive number are exceeding expectations, and teams floating around the $0 mark are about where we thought they’d be.
Some of these are going to make sense anecdotally and others will seem counter-intuitive because we’re talking about some really bad teams here. The point isn’t to determine which teams met poor expectations, however, it’s to determine where teams are based on relative expectations. OK? So let’s get to third-most overrated team in the NHL this season.
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No. 3: New Jersey Devils
TEAM ROI: -$33.87
Often, when teams make a big splash in the summertime, grand expectations will follow them into the regular season. That appears to be the case with the New Jersey Devils, who perhaps thought that the addition of defenceman P.K. Subban would make what’ll probably be Taylor Hall’s last season in Newark a memorable one.
Alas, this year has turned out a lot more like last season – when the Devils finished dead last in the Metropolitan Division – than the season before, when they were a surprise playoff qualifier.
Heading into Thursday night’s clash with the Montreal Canadiens, the Devils were 23rd in GF%, 30th in all-situations CF% and near the basement in terms of team ROI.
While Subban has held up his end of the bargain – he’s leading the team in 5v5 Corsi (one of only three players at 50%-plus) but has been the victim of a 0.96 PDO – the rest of the team has pretty much been a big steaming turd.
Add in the fact that Cory Schneider is completely washed and RDR2 side quest character Mackenzie Blackwood isn’t close to an NHL No. 1 right now and this is where we find ourselves.
(Photo: Prudential Centre, slgckgc [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)])