Sports Betting 101
Basics by Sport
Insider Betting Tips for the NHL
by Dave Schwab
Most sports bettors probably see the NHL as a niche sport when it comes to their overall betting activity, but once you take the time to study all the subtle nuances of the game, it can offer a tremendous opportunity to build your betting bankroll.
To be successful betting on NHL games there are a couple of insider tips that can go a long way towards improving your overall winning percentage.
Know Your Goalies
Just like the starting pitcher in baseball will have a major influence on the betting odds for a matchup, so will the starting goalie in hockey. The good thing about the NHL is that each team only has one primary goalie with one or two backups as opposed to a four to five man starting rotation, so getting to know each team’s strengths and weaknesses in goal is not a tall task.
It is also important to follow goalie trends as even the best netminders in the NHL will go through hot and cold streaks. Betting on a hot goalie is a viable strategy given just how much of an impact they can have on the outcome of a game. When they are on their game they have the ability to completely shutdown even the most potent scoring teams in the league.
Study the Schedule
The NHL regular season schedule is an 82- game grind in one of the most physical sports around. Many times you can find a mismatch between a team playing its third road game in four nights facing a rested team at home. Fatigue is much more of a factor in hockey than it is in many other sports and your knowledge of the schedule well in advance of the games can pay some big dividends down the road.
Home ice in hockey is not as big a factor as it is other sports, but extended road trips will begin to take a toll on just about any team. Once they are playing more than three or four road games in a row it is easy for a team to become more focused on getting back home rather than on the final game of the trip.
Shop Your NHL Lines
Wagering on NHL money lines is the primary way to bet on hockey along with the total line. Once you get a pretty good grasp of the game and the way these money line odds are set, you will be able to identify the value in the numbers. The favorite and the underdog in any game are clearly set, but the money line for that matchup could vary quite a bit from one sportsbook to the next. It may take some extra time to shop for the best value, but over the long haul this will add-up with a much better return on investment for your overall betting activity.
A good NHL betting strategy is to handicap a matchup independent of the money line odds to determine which team you have the most confidence in to win the game. Once you determine your top plays for that particular day, then it is time to shop the odds.
Bet the Underdogs
The best thing about betting underdogs on a money line is that the value is built into the return not the win and loss record. If you can consistently hit even just 40 percent of your money line picks on underdogs, you can probably still turn a profit over the long run.
Once again, the confidence factor is huge when it comes to winning with this betting strategy. With the exception of the top three or four teams in the league as well as the three or four bottom feeders, there are a number of extremely close matchups on each day’s schedule throughout the season. This creates a golden opportunity to sift out a few underdogs that have the best chance to win that night.