Betting Strategies for NHL Hockey

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The NHL might not get the same attention that other leagues like the NFL or NBA get, but the betting community has started to embrace hockey for its unique betting options. They call it the fastest game on ice, and if you have ever watched an NHL game in person, you’ll know exactly what that means. But hockey doesn’t have as many goals scored as it did in the past. Players like many goals, has a lot of players dressed for each game, and has a ton of different rules. How can it be exciting to bet on? For the true sports bettors out there, anything can be exciting to bet on! Read on to see our top tips for betting games in the NHL.

Team Travel / Schedule

It is an extremely common thing for professional bettors to look at in any sport: how tired a team is. Fatigue is real, and if you’ve ever done a cross country flight, you’ll know exactly how tiring it can be to travel across different time zones. Now think about suiting up and playing a professional sport after that flight. Like the NBA, NHL teams can play on back to back nights throughout the season, and nearly every team has one long road trip at some point. Knowing a team’s schedule can definitely give you an edge in handicapping an NHL game.

Knowing the Backup Goalies

For the most part, backup goalies in hockey are like backup quarterbacks in football: people love to bet against them. But sportsbooks lay those odds heavily against a backup goalie, and if you think about it, is there that much of a drop off from the best 32 goalies in the world to the best 64? Similar to NFL backup quarterbacks, most of them are actually pretty good when given an opportunity. This is all to say, just because you see a backup goalie starting, it doesn’t make it an auto bet against. 

Now, a lot of times you do see a backup goalie, it’s because it is a back to back game. This ties in with the first point about knowing an NHL team’s schedule. Pick your spots when betting, but don’t just lay a bet with a heavy favorite because they are playing a backup! 

Betting Underdogs

It is actually quite common across all sports for professional bettors to bet on underdogs. Why? Because underdogs give you way better odds. This is a similar strategy to betting a sport like baseball, where you don’t play point spreads and mostly bet teams on the moneyline. There is a good chance that underdogs pay off in the long-run because the wins are bigger. It’s not uncommon to find NHL underdogs at +200 or more on any given night. There’s not much value in betting on the Tampa Bay Lightning to win a game at -300 every night, especially since most NHL teams will lose between 40-60% of their games in a given season. 

Target Teams Without Discipline

Generally speaking, teams that take a lot of penalties lose more games. Now it’s not a rule set in stone, but over the course of time, being short-handed during games is just detrimental to a team’s success. Targeting heavily penalized teams is a strategy that can be added to how you handicap an NHL game. If a team has a great power play unit, and they are up against a team that takes a lot of penalties, that could mean at least a goal or two in their favor which makes all the difference for a bet.

NHL Player Props

Yes, the ever-popular player prop bets have made their way to the ice as well. The NHL is similar to the NBA and NFL where offensive distribution can be somewhat predictable. Players that play on the power play make better bets for anytime goals corer or anytime point getter bets. Another fun bet to place on a player is total shots on goal for the game. When you get players like Alexander Ovechkin, these bets can be locks on almost a nightly basis. They do require some research, such as how teams defend certain positions, and how many shots they are likely to allow in a game. 

NHL Live Betting

Experienced NHL bettors will know exactly what we are talking about when we say there is a crucial time during every NHL game to try and live bet. In close games, the losing team will often pull their goalies for an extra attacker in the last couple minutes of the game. If a team is already losing by a goal, some bettors hammer the puck line which is similar to a point spread where a team has to win by -1.5 goals. The odds of the team that is ahead scoring on the open net is fairly high, so it makes the added juice to betting puck lines more attractive to bettors. Bet on NHL Hockey.

NHL Wagering Tips

  1. Take advantage of fatigue factor of NHL teams to win on totals. A team playing back to back games can sometimes just focus on one aspect of the game be it defense or offence. A team focusing on offence can help you decide on your wagers on the totals.
  2. Listening to pre-game analysis can greatly increase your chances of winning your bets on hockey. Even coaches chime in from time to time with their strategy on a particular day. This can give bettors an idea whether a team is going for a defense approach or more of a balanced game. A defensive game can seriously change the final score margins and make a difference to total bets.
  3. Look around for best odds available for your wagers. Don’t place your bets on hockey matches through lark. Shop around for sportsbooks that give you better odds on the total. This can be significant in terms of your losing or winning big when the NHL season ends.
  4. A deeper study of NHL line moves can put you at an advantage when it comes to bets on hockey. Sportsbooks may move lines for a number of reasons. If more bets are placed on one side, they move lines to reduce their losses. They can move lines so that wagers for the other team can begin to pour into the other side. Line changes also can happen when a significant player is injured and the replacement takes its place. This is very crucial in terms of team goalies. There are other factors also that lead to line moves. Therefore keeping a close watch on line moves can increases your chances of winning your NHL bets.
  5. Bet on puck lines only after you have gained certain amount of confidence in how NHL games and wagering work.

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