Best NHL Playoffs Betting Strategies

Betting on the Lightning when Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 is in at goal is very different from backing them with his backup Brian Elliot gets to play. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/AFP

The playoffs are right around the corner and OddsTrader is an excellent resource for comparing and contrasting the NHL odds at all of the best online sportsbooks.

Below, we will discuss why getting the sharpest number is so critical as well as provide tips that will turn your NHL postseason betting into a successful one!

Learn More: How to Shop for the Best Lines

Series Futures

Betting on NHL futures is fun and doing on the series price is a must for those who want to remain in control of their wagers. If the series is going well and your team is on the right side of things then all you have to do is kick back and wait for them to close it out and pick up your cash.

However, if your team drops Game 1 then you can start to look at the adjusted NHL series prices and perhaps negate your initial bet with one on the other side. Although this will likely mean you will pay a little juice regardless of who wins or loses, it can prevent a total loss if you’ve gotten down on the wrong side.

Remember, the team that wins Game 1 of the series has a 65.6 percent chance of winning the series so if you are a cautious bettor or you didn’t like what you saw of your team in a losing effort to open up the series then jump off that bet and hedge with a wager on the other side. There is no shame in rethinking your position as circumstances change and you need to do what is best for you and your bankroll.

Learn More: When to Hedge a Bet

Finally, if you are seeking good value and have no opinion on either side, look for a Game 4 situation in which one team is attempting to sweep. These situations invariably attract tons of public money to the team that is up 3-0 in the series and the oddsmakers know this.

Therefore, the lines are likely going to be skewed higher on the sweeping team which is almost always installed as the favorite. Betting the team that is trying to avoid the sweep will likely bring excellent value and although the age-old sports betting maxim, “there is no value in losing” is inarguable, we have to take our shots where we see them.

Incidentally, teams that are at home and trying to avoid a sweep in front of the fan friendlies win at a nearly 59 percent clip. And what’s even more compelling is that the vast majority of those teams were installed as underdogs.

Goalies Matter

In most situations, the starting playoff goalie is also the starting regular-season goalie. Teams entering the postseason understand who the main man patrolling the crease is but there are cases where we have seen teams platoon goalies as both are capable starters with no discerning edge from one over another. That kind of depth at the most important position is admirable but it can make for quite the dilemma in the postseason.

Rotating goalies in the playoffs is unusual, to say the least, as teams lean hard on their starting goalie to guide them through the playoffs. It is a responsibility that goaltenders naturally take seriously and the more seasoned a goalie the better it is for the team as confidence in the last line of defense will allow the offense to be more liberated, opening up more scoring opportunities.

Learn More: How to Find Success Betting NHL Games Late in the Season?

As such, it is important that the defensemen feel free to maintain pressure in the offensive zone instead of slipping back behind the blue line so they can be in a position to defend against a transitional break from the other team. The same can be said for the forwards who will concern themselves more about backchecking than scoring if they have little confidence in their goalie to make the key stops.

For Example

In the upcoming 2022 NHL playoffs, we see that the Boston Bruins are facing a goaltending quandary with 10 games remaining on their schedule. Rookie Jeremy Swayman had been brilliant since getting regular ice time but has recently cooled while his platoon-mate, Linus Ullmark, has been white hot as of late.

Swayman is in the running for the Calder Trophy, given to the NHL’s Rookie of the Year, but riding the hot hand is what it’s all about and these next two weeks will likely tell the tale as to which of the two will be getting the nod by Boston coach, Bruce Cassidy.

But whomever Cassidy chooses, don’t expect these two to platoon as they did during the regular season as one will likely be chosen to go the entire way, barring injury or poor play.

More Strategy: Learn How to Successfully Bet on NHL Player Props

In summary, consider the goaltending matchups in each game or series that you bet. It is like having an ace pitcher go every start, so do your homework and see how each goalie played over the final month of the regular season. An elite goalie may have had a rough month entering the playoffs but the average bettor will easily forgive that and bet on him and his team anyway.

But poor play from a top-notch goalie could indicate an unreported nagging injury and that should give you the green light to fade him. Injuries don’t just disappear because it’s the playoffs but goalies and players alike will try to battle through them with varying degrees of success. Goaltending is one position in which you don’t want to take a gamble.

Remember, do your homework, scour the injury reports, compare the lines at all of the best online sportsbooks and pick the one that gives you the best number. Every little edge matters in your NHL picks so exploit them all.

And remember to check back for more betting strategy at the OddsTrader blog. Happy betting! is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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