|Jul 31st, 2018
Ice Hockey is a fast paced, non-stop action sport and a lot of fun to bet on too. If you are new to ice hockey betting though it can be a bit confusing and there are lots of mistakes that beginners can make. To help you avoid this our article focuses on the most common mistakes NHL bettors make so you can make sure you dont do it. You can also check out Joe Duffy podcasts on sports betting for some more advice on how to make money
NHL Betting Mistakes to Avoid
Below you will find our top 7 NHL sports betting mistakes to avoid if you want to turn a profit with your bets.
- Don’t Assume a Game is a Lock: One thing that every sports bettor needs to realize is that locks don’t exist in any sports, especially ice hockey. In the NHL season, at least 20-25% of the games are usually decided in overtime or with a shootout. Some of the games also end up being 1 goal decisions. A referee making a bad call or a puck bouncing in the net off a skate or shin page can be enough for the underdogs in any game to win out over the favorites. Motivation levels are a huge part of the game and the effort that is put in too. The big teams often don’t put in as much effort when playing against a big underdog and this can be a bettors chance to net a profit when betting on a lobsided hockey game.
- Don’t Bet on Favorites on the Puck Line: A lot of beginning NHL bettors place their bets on the puck line instead of putting everything on the favorite. The puck line is similar to the point spread in basketball or football where the favorite needs to win by a certain amount. The puck line bets appeal to beginners because of the big odds that they offer. Even a -200 favorite will pay around +150 on the -1.5 puck line and most would prefer to win $150 on their $100 wager instead of having to risk $200 to win $100. What you have to remember though, is that the odds on puck line favorites are big for a reason and many of the NHL games are decided by 1 goal.
- Don’t Focus on Shots on Goal: A lot of beginners focus on a team’s recent shot differential when assessing them. This is where they compare shots for and shots against, but it can be misleading. Teams that aren’t as skilled will often shoot as many times as they can regardless of whether they are in a good scoring area or not. By getting lots of pucks on net, they hope to score on a screen, deflection, or rebound. Some of the better teams of course will make the extra pass and limit their shot attempt in favour of really strong scoring opportunities. The score in a game can also determine the number of shots on goal a team is prepared to attempt. If a team has an early 3 goal lead they may move to a more defensive play. Instead of focusing on shots on goal, we recommend paying attention to the more advanced statistics that are available such as shot attempts percentages in close games.
- Know the Goalie: The most important player on any ice hockey team is the goalie and many new bettors don’t pay attention to who he is. It is vital that you know who the goalie is for every game before you place your bets. Even the best goalies in the NHL will get between 10 and 15 games off especially when they are playing back to back games or facing an inferior opponent. If a backup goalie is going to be playing in the game you want to bet on make sure that you know what his save percentages and goals against averages are. If the backup goalie is poor then it would be wise to place your bet on the other team and vice versa.
- Home Ice Doesn’t Mean Advantage: As with all sports, NHL teams have an advantage when they are playing at home. They don’t have to travel to the game and they get the last substitution after the whistle which helps coaches to get the matchups they want. They also have the home crowd advantage too. This doesn’t necessarily translate to an advantage during the game though and most ice rinks now look exactly the same. Home teams still do win almost 55% of their games in the NHL but they don’t win as often as home teams in other sports like the NFL or NBA. As with all NHL bets, it is important to look at the stats for each team and assess them properly before placing your wagers even if the home team does have the advantage.
- Don’t Overreact to Injuries: Injuries happen in any sport but in ice hockey they are usually less meaningful. This is because even top players only play for about a third of the game. There are some players that you might worry about but in general it shouldn’t make too much of a different. Certain teams can survive without their top players more than others. The oddsmakers will also factor injuries into the betting lines and it is a known fact that players will focus more when they know they need to elevate their game to fill in for a missing teammate.
- Get the Best Odds Possible: Odds will vary depending on the sports betting site you use and getting the best odds possible for your NHL bets is important. Moneyline odds are especially important and the difference between +125 and +120 may not seem like much but over a long season this is a lot of money and profit that you could be missing out on.
How to Get Better at Betting on NHL Games
Now that you know what to avoid we have a couple of tips to help you get better with your NHL bets.
- Don’t Overspend and Know Your Sport: This is probably common sense but you will find that many sportsbooks put smaller returns on money lines and puck lines. Just because this happens doesn’t mean you should splash out and spend more than you have. Stick with your budget and make sure you know the sport you are betting on.
- Pay Attention to Pucklines: You should pay careful attention to pucklines. Hockey is a low scoring game and almost no NHL game ends with a point spread of five or six points. If you bet on the favorite to win within the spread you have a very good chance of winning more for less. Sometimes the underdogs have a very strong payout too and if your research tells you the game could go either way, bet on the underdog.
- Use the Puckline and the Money Line: It does no harm to bet on the the money line and the spread and these bets can often be quite profitable if your research shows the favorite is really strong.