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Three Simple Tips for New NHL Bettors



NHL Trade, Pittsburgh Penguins Tristan Jarry

Three Simple Tips for New NHL Bettors

There’s no denying that this has been a rough year for the Pittsburgh Penguins. When the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin, the Pens won’t be a part of them. It’s been even worse from a betting perspective, with Pittsburgh being well under 50% against the spread. That has certainly made matters worse for hometown fans who have wagered on the Penguins during the season.

Of course, there is always next season. In fact, there is still this season with several regular-season games left plus the playoffs, even if they’ll happen without the Penguins. After all, Pennsylvania sports betting isn’t just for in-state teams. Penguins fans are free to explore various sportsbooks and bet on any NHL game. For anyone who’s new to betting on NHL games, we wanted to share three simple tips to keep in mind when betting on hockey.

It’s A Long Season

The NHL regular season has exactly 1,312 games spread over eight months. Outside of a three-day hiatus during the holidays and a four-day break around the All-Star Game, players rarely get much of a break. The whole season is a grind. Some players get hurt while others simply get tired. This can make it a little harder to predict what team will bring its best effort on any given night.

Teams typically compete every other day, often facing games with minimal rest periods. This demanding schedule can significantly impact game outcomes. For instance, home teams have historically won 55% of games over the last five seasons. However, their win rate drops to 50% in the second half of back-to-back games, highlighting the schedule’s influence on results. In other words, the amount of rest a team has had and how much they’ve traveled should factor into bets. Also, don’t forget that some teams travel more than others because of where they’re located.

The Game is Changing

Just like other sports, analytics is starting to play a bigger role in hockey. Teams are being more strategic with their playing styles and personnel decisions. As a result, parity throughout the league is down, at least from a betting perspective. The team that’s perceived to have more talent is winning more frequently.

Favorites are not only performing better, but their odds of winning are increasing as well. During the 2019-20 season, less than 5% of NHL games began with one team having a win probability of 70% or more. Two years later, that figure grew to over 15%. This means there are shorter odds for favorites, resulting in a lower payout when they win, and fewer instances when an underdog with long odds earns a surprising win and gives bettors a big payout.

Be Prepared for Surprises

Does that mean NHL games are becoming more predictable? Not exactly. Granted, there is a growing gap between the teams at the top of the NHL hierarchy and the teams at the bottom. However, hockey is still a sport in which luck plays a significant role in results. It’s not always about talent and skill.

Like it or not, skill isn’t always rewarded in hockey. Therefore, betting on hockey can expose you to the whims of variance. It’s essential to understand that shots and scoring opportunities hold greater significance than goals, especially in limited samples. If you’re new to betting, take your time to analyze a team thoroughly before forming judgments. Perhaps the best betting advice you can receive is not to jump to conclusions or make rash decisions without thinking things over.