The National League is the top flight hockey league in the Swiss Hockey system and of the two-tier National League. It used to be called National League A but was changed to its current name in 2017.
The league is composed of 12 teams who play 50 regular season games each. The Top 8 teams advance to the playoff round where the Swiss champions are crowned. The bottom four teams play in a relegation tournament called the Playouts where the teams play and additional six games and where their regular-season point totals are carried forward. The bottom two teams will play in a best-of-seven series against the Swiss League champions with the winner of that series earning a trip to the next NL season.
Last year, SC Bern was crowned as the NL Champions. They are currently the betting favorites to repeat as such after winning the crown in two out of the last three years. Here are the odds to win the 2019/20 NL season. These odds were taken from TitanBet as of 8/13/19:
|Geneve Servette HC||+2000|
|HC Ambri Piotta||+2800|
|SCL Tigers Langenau||+3300|
|Rapperswil Jona Lakers||+10000|
Who Are The Favorites?
SC Bern was founded in 1931 and is the most popular team in Europe in terms of attendance in the last two decades. They have won the NL Championship 16 times including four times in the last seven years. SC Bern is the defending NL Champions after defeating EV Zug 4-1 in the NL Finals. SC Bern was also the #1 team during the regular season, finishing with 101 points earned from a league-best 31 wins and 3 OT victories.
Always the bridesmaid but never the bride, EV Zug were runners-up to SC Bern last season and they were also runners-up in 2017. This team has won the NL Championship just once in their history and this happened way back in 1998. They were a solid second to SC Bern during the regular season with 30 wins and a total of 97 points. Their 159 goals scored last time out was the most in the league. Their +44 goals difference was tied with SC Bern.
ZSC Lions were the 2018 NL Champions who finished 9th in the team’s standings last season and were involved in the Playouts. However, they finished second in the loser’s bracket and return to the NL Championship this season. Overall, the Lions have won nine NL titles including three in the last eight years.
EHC Biel finished 4th during the 2019 regular season and was the second-highest scoring team in the league with 149 goals scored. They advanced to the playoffs where they made it to the semifinal round where they faced eventual winners SC Bern and lost 4-3. EHC Biel has won five SC titles and three National League championships, the last of which came in 1983.
Lausanne HC was third in the league during the 2019 regular season with a total of 82 points scored. They ranked 4th in the league in goals scored with 141 but they also gave up 126 goals for a third-best goal difference of +15. They reached the semifinals where they lost to EV Zug 4-1.
It’s hard to deny that SC Bern is the best team in the National League right now and that’s why they are the hockey betting favorites here. Not only are they the defending champions, but they’ve also won the title four times in the last seven years. They also have Marco Arcobello who was second in the league in scoring last season with 53 points. They also had the best defense in the league, allowing just a total of 99 goals last season, the least in the league. That’s mainly because SC Bern goalkeeper Leonardo Genoni led the league with 27 wins and a save percentage of .933. Genoni also allowed a league-best 1.85 GAA. That said, I’m going with SC Bern because this is a team that plays well on both ends of the ice. Prediction: SC Bern