Key NHL betting strategies you should know to make better wagers
Betting on the NHL can be tricky for someone who doesn’t have experience wagering on the sport. There are 32 teams, hundreds of players and an endless amount of possible betting combinations any day there’s action.
A look at the NHL odds board on a busy Saturday night may feel overwhelming to those new to the space. And you could miss out on some important pieces of information if you’re unaware of the best NHL betting strategies.
That’s why we’re here to help you avoid making rookie mistakes before placing your next hockey bet.
Premium betting is coming to Ontario. Register here for exclusive benefits including promos, NorthStar Bets content & the chance to win $5,000.
There are several elements to consider before handing over your money for an NHL wager. And the market you intend to bet on will affect what type of research you should conduct.
We’ll review the most popular betting markets and share some important tips so you’re more prepared when considering what event to spend your money on.
Who’s the goalie?
We can’t stress this point enough, but a good — or hot — goaltender can make all the difference. Goalies steal games all the time, as every hockey fan can attest. Monitoring roster announcements and viewing recent goalie matchups is vitally important to a bet.
Despite every bettor wishing NHL teams disclosed starting goalie information hours in advance, most teams often don’t. Instead, head coaches keep this decision confidential until shortly before puck drop to create a competitive advantage.
Beat reporters typically tweet info gathered throughout the day, such as which goalie exited the morning skate first or who’s practicing in the starter’s net. This is often the best way to scope out the info.
Knowing who the starting goalies are is must-know information. The difference in quality between a starting goalie and a third-stringer can be the difference in a team being labelled as a favourite or underdog by the oddsmaker.
Injuries impact the odds of all hockey games. When one or more top players are missing from a team, its chance of winning is negatively impacted, at least in theory.
For example, the Edmonton Oilers are 18-22-9 all-time (.367 win percentage), according to StatMuse, as of March 2022 without Connor McDavid in the lineup. With McDavid, the Oilers are 236-192-38 (.506).
If McDavid is slated to miss an upcoming game, betting against the Oilers could be a smart play.
The NHL schedule is compact, and teams don’t have much time between games to resolve issues. If a flaw is exposed or a team is struggling on special teams, those issues may persist for a string of games.
The Philadelphia Flyers recently provided an extreme example of this. During a horrific 13-game losing streak that lasted nearly all of January 2022, Philly was the only team to rank bottom-five in both power play and penalty kill percentage.
On the other hand, the Pittsburgh Penguins had a top-10 power play and penalty kill during a 10-game winning streak that same season.
Recent overall results are important to look at, but reviewing a club’s performance on special teams helps take things a step further. A particularly hot or cold power play or penalty kill could create an edge.