How do we become profitable when betting on sports? It’s the question many have asked but few have been able to answer. Hell. Las Vegas was built off the fact that people thought they knew more than the people who make the betting lines.
Now I am not going to act like I don’t have room for improvement. We all do. When it comes to betting though there are ways to maximize your profits that keep you in the game.
Before we get into some tips that I like to stick by let’s cover some basics when it comes to betting any sport, not just NHL.
First, NEVER bet outside of your means. Losing the bet you make shouldn’t make a difference in your day to day lifestyle.
Second, be sure to practice proper bankroll management. This is arguably the most important rule to live by for hockey betting. I can’t stress enough how this will keep you being able to bet and not miss out on a profitable bet because you don’t have any money left to invest.
Invest. That’s another vital way to look at this. You are investing in a team hoping to increase your profits. Just like the stock market, sports gambling will always have its ups and downs. It’s the ability to avoid the bad bets and focus on the bets that represent more value that helps improve your winning percentage.
Now that we have covered some basics lets cover some of my favorite tips when I am looking to invest my money on an NHL bet.
My biggest rule of thumb is wanting to be on the opposite side of what the public is betting. Las Vegas was built on gambling profits so call me crazy, but I want to bet with the side that the books need to win.
Determining where the public money is going can be tricky though and don’t be hesitant to ask sportsbook employees where most the money has been going. If they feel the public has been betting on one side heavy I will automatically take the opposite.
Now let’s get into some betting tips specific to the NHL games. I have been betting NHL for over a decade and from the very beginning would take a look at these specific statistics before placing any bet so let’s go over some that I feel can increase your winning percentage.
Bet Vs. Teams Off a Back to Back After Getting a Win
This is a tip that I consider across all sports not just hockey. This is a very tricky spot for some bettors. To explain this tip lets conjure up a scenario.
A first place team is at home on a Wednesday night vs any type of team. The first place team wins this game defending their home ice. Tomorrow rolls around and this first place team is now facing a middle of the pack team on the road.
A regular Joe bettor will see the first place team at a low price. Maybe in the -140 range. Initially, they believe this is easy money. How can a first place team have such a small line versus a middle of the pack team? They see the value the complete opposite way that I see it. While the regular Joe is salivating at the chance of betting on the far superior team, I am seeing value in the team that is plus money at home.
In this specific scenario, I don’t have to win every bet. When you are getting plus money odds you can hit 2 out of 3 bets or even 3 out of 5 bets to turn a profit. Depending on how much you are wagering.
As the saying goes, “When something seems too good to be true, it usually is”. That saying holds up with this tip.
We need to always remember that the bookies are setting the lines with the intent of getting the public betting on a certain side. When they are offering you a top team at a reasonable price it’s because they want you to bet it. Then after the home team protects home ice the public is out of their money and the books are counting theirs.
As I mentioned earlier, I want to be on the side of the book. If they need a certain side to win to avoid taking a loss I will gladly join them in fading the public bet. This is not a guaranteed winning strategy but if our goal is to win 55%+ of the bets we make this will help us be on the side that chalks up a profitable year in and year out. That side is the side of the Las Vegas Sportsbooks.
First, we were taking a look at the schedule for a betting tip that can improve our betting winning percentage. Now let’s take a look at a roster move that is vital when considering NHL overs.
Bet the Over when Team’s Start Their Back Up Goalies
This tip falls under that category of playing the percentages. Back up goalies are back-ups for a reason. They are usually called upon after a few games off so there is always a rust factor for them.
Just logically speaking the back-up goalie is going to have a higher goals allowed average than the starter.
If you take a look at when back-up goalies get their starts it is typically the second game of a back to back. Not necessarily setting the goalie up for success.
Also, in today’s day and age where players get to watch video on opposing teams, it’s no surprise when players can take advantage of a player with multiple weaknesses. Like I mentioned earlier, back up goalies are backups for a reason. With the technology players have to study their opponents it’s no surprise they can find more weaknesses and score more goals versus a less superior goalie.
The team is typically not as fresh as the goalie is since he hasn’t played in a few games. Leading to defensive breakdowns as well as giving up power plays putting the goalie in tough positions. This will lead to a one on one situation between the goalie and scorer or when down a player. Chances are this leads to more goals than the typical game with the starting goalie in the net.
I know when I see Malcolm Subban in the net for the Vegas Golden Knights I immediately start taking a look at the total for the game and the odds for the over. It’s nothing against Malcolm, it’s just the fact that he isn’t Marc Andre Fleury.
So considering these factors I will take my chances and fire on the over when I see back up goalies starting in the net.
Now, let’s get back into looking at the schedule before making any sort of wager. Similar to our first tip this is one that can be used across all sports and one that I will make sure to check before betting on a specific team to win the game.
Pay Attention to Who Teams Faced the Previous Day and Their Next Opponent
This next tip is just one that makes sure you cover all the areas for making a bet.
Teams are subject to looking ahead to a future opponent, as well as exhausting a bunch of effort versus an opponent their previous game.
This tip is not to see who is playing the second game of a back to back. This is more a look at the team’s schedule as a whole, checking to see who they played the previous game as well as who they will play their next game.
Teams will naturally pay attention to the tougher opponents on their schedule. So if a team is playing a team in last place but their next game is versus a division rival that they battling the division lead with, it’s not crazy to consider the underdog.
This could be a spot where the puck line of +1.5 goals can be taken advantage of. This means that a team can lose by one goal but still cover the +1.5 puck line bet. In the scenario, we are discussing we could potentially get a team as plus money with a 1.5 goal lead. If the better team is looking ahead to their next game, they could look past this bad team and just escape with a one goal win. Making our bet on the underdog +1.5 goals a winner.
A recent example of this is available to us by looking at the Vegas Golden Knights schedule. On February 12, 2019, the Golden Knights played the under .500 Arizona Coyotes. The Golden Knights entered the game at a better than 2 to 1 favorite. With the Toronto Maple Leafs the next opponent on the Vegas schedule on February 14, 2019, it was clear the Golden Knights were looking ahead to facing the top team from the Eastern Conference. The Arizona Coyotes ended up winning the game in Vegas 5-2 on the 12th.
This is a prime example of a team looking ahead to their next opponent before facing the one opponent before facing the top team.
Especially when looking at a team coming off a back to back, meaning they played the previous night, you need to consider how hard was the game the previous night, who the team you are looking to bet played the previous night, were there any injuries preventing anyone from playing the next day, and arguably most important is the starting goalie playing back to back nights.
So as you can see taking a look at the schedule can lead to a multitude of bets that present a better winning percentage than just sticking to betting on which side is going to win. Totals and puck lines can be taken into consideration and save you from falling into the trap of not seeing who the team you are eyeing played their previous game or their next game.
Another stat that is good to look at while looking at the schedule is the teams’ record when they have rest. This will give us a better idea if the rest benefits the team or if they play better while in the rhythm of playing more games and not having as much rest.
Road/Home Records and the Home Underdog
This is a vital stat to make sure you don’t ignore when it comes to making a bet on the NHL. My favorite team has one of the toughest home ice advantages in the NHL.
So ignoring them when home can lose me a lot of money if I am not taking advantage of their home ice advantage and making sure I bet them.
Chances are home teams are going to be the betting favorite and the better teams are going to have even bigger lines, which aren’t always the most advantageous in terms of betting value. As long as I can stay under a -300 favorites I will take my chances to win a straight bet but I will make sure I don’t ignore the puck line in these situations too.
If my team is on a stretch of home games, and I see some of the other tips that I have laid out, I will also consider the puck line. For a puck line bet to cover the team needs to win the game by two goals. The lines are usually underdogs since there are a lot of one goal games in the NHL. That being said I have hit plenty of these types of bets.
Now on the flip side of this, there are good NHL teams out there that do not play as well on the road as they should. Meaning there are spots when they are playing a tricky home team that may be a home dog that is worth firing on.
This is why even though a team’s overall record may say that they are the better opponent, the road can equal this all out. I am a true supporter of the home underdog bet. Meaning any team playing at home that has odds of +100 or higher always grabs my attention. As well as, getting me to look into the game no matter the matchup.
A home underdog does not mean an automatic bet on the home underdog. All I am saying is that it deserves your betting attention. After looking into the game more you can determine if the home team can pull off the upset or maybe the road team is strong enough to consider at a lower money line favorite.
Bottom line is if you find certain stats that point towards taking either side of the game you need to trust your research and fire on the team. Obvious we can’t win all out bets but if we take the time to emphasize certain stats that lead to wins, they are important enough to keep looking for during future bets.
Similar to road and home records, taking a look at head to head records will help focus one team’s stronghold over another and vice versa.
This is another of those small stats that can easily be ignored but never should be. Certain teams just play better versus others. Whether it’s because their style of play matches up better versus certain opponents, possible revenge factors, or previous matchups the head to head records are important to take a look at before finalizing your bet.
I especially factor in the revenge factor when looking at the head to head records. These are professional athletes and they don’t easily forget losing to certain teams and losing certain games. So I will always lean towards a team that may have taken a tough loss versus this opponent the last time.
Especially if that team went into opponents’ territory and stole a win, I will typically love the team returning the favor and getting the win on the opponents’ home ice this time around.
This is just another statistic that can help you gather all the information needed to make an educated guess at how a game is supposed to go. That is the best we can do for ourselves when we are trying to place a winning bet. Gather as much information we can get our hands on to give us any sort of edge that other bettors will overlook.
Regardless of which of these tips you find worth using it is vital to set some betting guidelines to all the bets you are considering, no matter the sport.
For me, these have been the tips that I have stuck by when betting on the NHL. There are more stats and projections that I like to take a deeper dive into but for the typical public bettor even just having simple stats to focus on can lead to an improvement in your betting win percentage.
The best tip I can give someone when betting is to stick to making straight up bets. The second you start trying to put a parlay together is the second you begin to decrease your odds of winning.
What I am trying to do with these tips is to strengthen the team you do eventually end up picking to bet on. At the bare minimum if you look at these tips every team you are considering you will weed out the teams that you should be fading.
Some of the best money won is the money that you save. Fading a certain matchup because some of the stats are pointing the other way of what you want to bet is vital to having a winning betting record.
As we get later in the NHL season look out for some future picks in upcoming articles that will give examples of some of the teams that fit into these betting tips.
If there is nothing more taken from this article then for you to do your research then I have done my job. Too many bettors don’t even consider statistics, let alone dive into 5 of them that could help increase their winning percentage.
The more information you can gather will help lead you to a better-educated guess as to who will win a specific matchup. I know with myself the more information I can get the better. It just gives us all a better opportunity at being a better-informed bettor.
Nothing out there will guarantee you a win but positioning yourself the best you can is key to being a profitable gambler. Good luck with your NHL bets!