When reviewing the betting odds for hockey, it is similar to baseball in the context the starting goalie is a lot like a starting pitcher, able to cause line moves depending on who is playing.
If a pitching ace or top goaltender is scheduled to play, the NHL odds in this case will be higher than say if the backup is between the pipes or a No.5 starter in baseball.
Ultimately, these are team sports and no matter how good or hot a netminder might be, he needs help from his teammates in order to consistently win games. A good measuring stick the NHL uses is the plus/minus rating, which tells hockey fans and those placing NHL picks who are the most effective players on the ice when goals are scored and allowed. The NBA has a similar stat, but it has never caught on to the casual fan, but is definitely used by teams when looking at analytics of matchups for best lineups.
The same is also true in hockey when trying to match skills among players, finding the right combination of offensive lines or defensive pairing to optimize results. Here is a look at some the best plus/minus players thus far into the season.
Some might say this is the chicken or the egg, because Washington is the best team in the league they will have more players for this category, but if they same players were not performing at this level, would the Capitals have the same 35-12 SU record and be +17.1 in wagering units?
This we do know, Washington has three of the Top 10 players who are not only excellent offensive players, but doing some dirty work to help the defense. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov is tied for the top spot at +24, with teammate Alex Ovechkin in the fifth slot at +20 and Nicklas Backstrom tied for 7th at +18. This contingent is among the reasons why the Caps lead the NHL in scoring at 3.32 goals a game and they often end up on the ice for power plays, which also happens to be the best at 26.8 percent.
When the Los Angeles Kings finally became a very good hockey team, there plan was to be strong down the middle of the ice and wanted top notch centers and goalie. L.A. has succeed being 30-19 this season, leading the Pacific Division. Among the players doing their job on a nightly basis is Tyler Toffoli, who at just 23 years old and in his third season is emerging as top center in the NHL and is +24 on plus/minus. Fellow veteran center Anze Kopitar is not too far done the list at +16. The Kings are actually -1.8 units on wagering, but that because of four nasty -200 favorite losses this season, otherwise very solid, thanks to their leaders.