If you take part in Ontario sports betting, tonight’s New York Rangers-Tampa Bay Lightning match-up in Game 2 of their Stanley Cup playoff series is one to focus on.
Both teams have great goaltending, both Russian-born players. The Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of the league's top clutch goalkeepers, single-handedly stealing the show in last round’s sweep of the Florida Panthers. And the Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin has captured NHL betting attention thus far this spring, especially with the upset over the Carolina Hurricanes in the last round.
This is the kind of stuff that makes FanDuel Sportsbook trader Rob Warendorf’s life that much more interesting. Warendorf, based in New Jersey, oversees the Canadian-focused traders behind Fan Duel’s odds and insights.
More Than Algorithms Used to Make Odds
As Warendorf says, hockey or not, the FanDuel Sportsbook is not just an algorithm — there are real people behind the odds, doing deep dives every day when talking analytics.
“It’s the most fun job in the world,” he says. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything. As a former environmental engineer, I can confidently say I’m happier breaking down a Johnny Cueto/Alex Manoah matchup (Jays vs. White Sox yesterday) than hydrocarbon levels in contaminated soil.”
As Warendorf adds, that human factor needs to be emphasized.
“A good example would be when doing live trading (odds creation) for a game where there is a big injury or a sudden change in weather,” he says. “Most books’ models or ‘algorithms’ won’t account for this.”
With the launch in Ontario in early April, FanDuel has been adding Canadian traders with deep hockey knowledge.
NBA Big For Ontario Betting
What’s been interesting to Warendorf is the hockey handle numbers in Ontario haven’t matched the viewership numbers, especially when compared with the NBA.
“That’s been interesting,” he says. “But the nature of basketball, with amount of player props and parlays, the ‘bet-ability’ factor is something we’re trying to get hockey to. It’s played second fiddle to the NBA.
“I think getting ready for next season, more same-game parlay, shots-on-goal props, which we have just been getting started, and have seen a lot of success with, will make a difference. Getting customers familiar with something is a big one. We’re giving a flavour of what’s to come, during these playoffs.”
Looking at tonight, Warendorf and his crew have Tampa Bay -132, and the Rangers +112, with a low game total, favouring the under 5.5 at -122. Following a high scoring Game 1, 83% of bets on the total have been on the over 5.5.
Bettors evenly split on NYR/TB today — 50% on Tampa’s ML and vice versa.
“We haven’t noticed too much difference with the average Ontarian sports bettor as compared to the average American bettor thus far,” he says. “The greatest difference is mostly where each sophisticated bettor does their work. The sophisticated Ontarian bettor is far more likely to find an edge within our hockey offering.”