Last week, I wrote the first part of this series on NHL forward splits. Here are the main takeaways:

  1. Targeting forwards at home is a productive strategy. They provide the most value as non-division dogs.
  2. Division/non-division splits matter, but not nearly as much for forwards as home/away and favorite/underdog splits.
  3. Road forwards are most productive as favorites:

In Part 2, we’re again using our Trends tool to look at various splits (and combinations of splits) to uncover hidden value. This time, we will focus on defensemen.

Speaking of Routine

Just like forwards, DraftKings defensemen tend to provide more value at home, where they are comfortable and their routines are less likely to be disrupted:

D homed road

They’re the exact same price at home and on the road, but they have a significantly higher Plus/Minus value and Consistency Rating at home. (Keep in mind that the only players considered in this study are those who play on the power play.)

Other Significant Splits

Division/Non-Division

In the NHL, every team plays four to five games against each team in the division. That’s a total of 29 or 30 divisional games in an 82-game season. Divisional games are tough, and scoring tends to be lower. Like forwards, defensemen on the power play provide slightly more value in non-division games.

d divisiond non-div

Favorite/Underdog

“Point night” isn’t fun just for forwards. Ask any offensive defenseman. Players tend to score more points (and provide more DFS value) when they’re Vegas favorites:

d favd dog

Combining Splits to Find an Edge

We know DFS sites likely take these three broad splits into account with their pricing. However, the real edge is likely to be found in combining the splits.

The following chart combines trends of all three splits for power play defensemen and is sorted from highest to lowest Plus/Minus:

DEF splits combinations

There’s a ton of meat on the bone here.

• Targeting defensemen at home is generally a productive move. (Duh!)

• Unlike forwards, defensemen provide the most value as divisional home underdogs. It’s possible that they could also have reduced ownership in guaranteed prize pools, as they’re neither fully chalky (home favorites) nor fully contrarian (road underdogs). Note that divisional underdogs provide the most value at home but the least value on the road.

• Home defensemen are at their worst from a value perspective as divisional favorites, far worse than divisional underdogs.

• Defensemen in division games when favored are actually better on the road.

• Non-division defensemen are preferable overall, but divisional games can still provide value, especially at home.

Conclusion

Home defensemen tend to provide the most value, especially as division dogs.

Division/non-division splits matter — but not nearly as much for defensemen as home/away and favorite/underdog splits.

Road defensemen provide the most value as division favorites. In fact “division favorite” is the only split combination that provides more value on the road than at home.