Thursday, June 11, 2009

Odds? Not in Pittsburgh's favor

The Vegas line for the Pittsburgh Penguins winning Game Seven tomorrow night in Detroit has been edging ever slowly against them. Twenty-four hours ago, a six-sports book average had them at 37.4% to win; they're now at 36.0%.

This seems like an underestimate to me. If we use their regular season goals for and against as an estimate of their true talent (.594 Detroit; .550 Pittsburgh), Pittsburgh has a neutral-site winning percentage of 45.5%.

Of course, there is a very strong home-ice advantage in the playoffs. Since 1979-80:

Round 1 - Home Team WPCT = .576 vs Neutral-Site WPCT = .509 (Adv = .067)
Round 2 - Home Team WPCT = .548 vs Neutral-Site WPCT = .506 (Adv = .042)
Round 3 - Home Team WPCT = .546 vs Neutral-Site WPCT = .504 (Adv = .042)
Round 4 - Home Team WPCT = .563 vs Neutral-Site WPCT = .505 (Adv = .058)

Using the Round 4/Finals Home-Ice Advantage, Pittsburgh should have almost a 40% chance of winning Game 7, which means the oddsmakers are underestimating them by more than 10% - provided you don't think Pittsburgh is actually better than their GF/GA predicts. Of course, it's been 38 years since the visiting team has won Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals, so perhaps the home-ice advantage is larger in a deciding game than it is normally. It has only happened six times, so it's hard to know. Regardless, Pittsburgh is not the favorite to win the cup tomorrow night...


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