A new NHL season is upon us and it is back to normal scheduling and typical patterns after a virus-induced campaign. How should you approach the new season of betting hockey? Let’s get into the nuts and bolts.
First, let’s quickly dismiss one notion: betting the NHL is not simple. Other than baseball, no sport has less home advantage in the regular season overall. If you just want to pop in and out of wagering hockey, our recommendation is not to do that, because that will be a losing proposition.
If you are going to place your hard-earned money wagering on this sport, you need a commitment. If it’s better for you to start at the beginning of 2022 because you want to focus on football and when the NBA starts, that is a great decision. You have to follow the sport daily if you want to win.
Scheduling is Vitality Important to Follow
Travel is a thing in the NHL and it makes sense to be very aware of it when going over the betting odds.
For example, back-to-back road games are seldom easy or playing three times in four days, with the last two in consecutive days (especially on the road). That does not mean teams don’t win in their situations, however, if you are on the lookout and the opponent is off a day or two and is fresh, you need to know this for a potential edge.
Hockey Is a Money Line Sport
Until 20 years ago, almost all hockey wagering was on the puck line (plus or minus 1.5 goals). In Canada, this is still widely prevalent because that’s how so many bettors grew up betting the NHL.
Today, hockey is driven as a money-line sport, with totals a secondary choice for most.
Playing all favorites or underdogs will drain your betting account, thus, it is imperative to do your homework to win.
A good example is when a team is a home favorite of -120 to -130 on the money line that you would see at Oddstrader.com. What the sportsbooks are saying in this price range is that the opposing teams are even or close to it.
That being the case and knowing the home-ice advantage is about 53 percent over the last 15 years, road underdogs are always at least worth a look.
Following Rules Changes Is Imperative
The NHL more than any major sport has been affected by certain rule changes that drastically altered the betting aspect. Here are examples and their relevance.
In the middle part of the last decade, you could selectively play big favorites (-200 to -290) and win 75 to 80 percent of the time. The big advantage was that with so many overtime games, the better team almost always had a decided edge in a five-minute OT period using mostly their two top lines.
That is why this writer was a three-time handicapping champion from 2013 thru 2015. Then, the NHL changed the rules from 5-on-5 to 4-on-4, to the present 3-on-3 making any extra session a coin flip.
For total bettors, when the league decided to get away from all the hitting and focus on skating, totals jumped. All the extra ice space to skate opened the game up.
The sportsbooks and bettors adjusted, but when they changed the icing rules to where they bring the puck back to the offending team circle for a face-off with no time off the clock, that has had a direct impact on more overs hitting and the outcome of puck lines.
Always go into a season aware of rules changes and follow how that might impact the scoring.
Know the Goalies, Know the Goalies
When you look at the hockey odds at Oddstrader or anywhere else, say the night before or day of the game in the morning, and two hours later the money line has moved 30 or 40 cents, 90 percent of the time it’s a goal change.
That makes it imperative to be aware of what goaltenders are playing well, who is not and how the backups are performing. This can make or save you a lot of money over a long season.
Don’t Be Afraid of Back Hot or Cold Streaks
It is not uncommon in the NHL these days for teams to go on winning or losing streaks of seven or more games. If a team wins say three in a row and their next contest is in a favorable spot that you would be tempted to wager on anyways, give it a shot, even as a lower risk bet.
If that wins, make a similar wager, and if that is a winner, keep betting to the point that even if you lose, you will still show a profit in your series of betting transactions. In others, go with the flow! And remember to check back for more betting strategy at the OddsTrader blog. Happy betting!