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Hockey Betting Strategy Guide

Hockey Betting Strategy Guide
Looking to improve your chances of picking winners and making money betting on hockey? You’ve come to the right place then friend. In this hockey betting strategy guide, our expert bettors are going to share the strategies and tips they think are the most important for you to utilize to improve your chances of being a more profitable hockey sports bettor.

Are you magically going to be profitable after reading this guide? We wish we could say yes, but we’re not into blowing smoke up your tailpipe. The answer is no. But! If you take the information, tips, and strategies that we outline for you here, you’ll be able to mix that with some hard work, and you’ll be well on your way to being a profitable hockey bettor.

We’re going to set you up for success. We’re going to paint the path that you need to skate to turn your current hockey betting strategy into a leaner, meaner, and more effective winning system.

Choose a Good Place to Bet

Surprisingly, a lot of people overlook the importance of where they place their hockey bets when they’re talking strategy. Why? Well, the betting public is not known for being profitable, so we’re not surprised that they neglect something this important.

It is imperative that you choose a reputable and trusted online sportsbook to take your hockey betting action. Why online? Well, it’s because of a lot more than just convenience. You have the ability to shop lines quickly and easily, you have many more bet type options to choose from, and you don’t lose money from the costs associated with traveling to and from the brick and mortar betting location.

We could hammer on this all day, but that’s not what this guide is about. Take our word on this one, and you’ll set yourself up for success. Below, you’ll find a list of the top-rated online sportsbooks offering extensive hockey action of all kinds.

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Break Down Line Matchups for Advantages

Hockey is not an individual sport. The teams operate in pre-planned lines that are almost like mini-teams within a team. If you’re already a hockey fan, this is not news to you. What we’re recommending that you do is when you start to compare two teams playing in an upcoming game, don’t look at them as a whole.

Look at them as individual lines. Compare the successes and failures of the individual lines as a part of the whole team. Then go ahead and compare how these different lines are going to match up against the individual lines of the opposing team. By doing this, you’ll be able to unearth value that might not be evident if you’re just looking at team-wide stats.

If you can find a team with a line that is crushing the world, you may find a team that you can ride to victory. Additionally, you can start to compare the characteristics of the types of lines that line excels and struggles against. Upcoming team with a lot of line-types they excel against? Might be a good bet. Upcoming team with a lot of line-types they struggle against? Might be smart to bet against them even if the team-wide stats say otherwise.

What we’re trying to do here is something that will be a recurring theme throughout this entire guide. You need to look at as many of the small details as possible. Yes, the big details are important but these are already going to be factored into the initial line, and these are the things the general betting public (who controls the betting line after it’s released) will be looking at.

We can guarantee that the betting public is not breaking down the individual lines for strengths and weaknesses and comparing it to the strengths and weaknesses of the other team’s lines. By doing this, you force yourself to look at the smaller details, and you’ll be pretty impressed with the value you’re able to regularly unearth. That value will turn into cash.

Power Plays and Penalties

If you look at the stats from a few previous NHL seasons, you’ll see that power play goals for each team account for somewhere between 14-29% of their goals. That’s a pretty big chunk of the scoring which means it’s something that we’re going to want to take a closer look at.

Specifically, we’d like for you dig into the statistics for this tip. You’ll want to look at each team and how successful they are on power plays. Then, you’ll want to compare that with how successful opposing teams are at killing power plays. The conclusions here are easy and might not seem groundbreaking. But, the betting public is not looking at this data which means you can find a lot of value here that they are missing.

What are you looking for? You’re looking for teams that crush on the power play getting matched up with teams that struggle to kill power plays. A lot of times these stats are going to be out of line with some of the other more mainstream stats that the betting public might be looking at. This is where you can find some value.

A team might not be the favorite when they’re at full strength, but a team can quickly become the favorite when they are on power plays. This is what we call a hidden favorite. Now, how important is this and how big of a role should it play in your picks? Well, you need to pull up another stat to know. How penalized is the team that struggles to kill the power play? If they are good little boys and girls and rarely get penalized, then this isn’t going to be influential. But, if they spend most of the game in time out, this could be a huge factor that you’re going to want to factor in more heavily into your final game predictions.

Goalies Matter

#GLM. Goalies Lives Matter. Hockey is a pretty brutal sport with a lot of injuries and players going in and out of lineups regularly. While it’s important to factor in the injuries of the players that skate the entire ice (we’ll talk more about this in a few), you cannot neglect the importance of the goalie or a goalie being out of a game. There’s a reason that some goalies make just as much as other skill position players.

When you’re making your predictions for a game, don’t just look at the players that are skating the full length of the ice. Look at the goalie. A good goalie can shut down a great offense and can kill your chances of winning a bet. But, you all probably were aware of this. What we want to point out is that goalies get injured too and get pulled from games and lineups. You need to take 30 seconds and double check the lineups and make sure the starting goalies are who you think they are. If they’re not, go back to the drawing board and make sure your prediction still lines up with the lineups.

Fatigue and Schedules

Hockey is a grueling sport that can take a serious toll on the body. When this comes in the form of injuries, we’re all on top of it and factor it into our sports bets. But, what happens when it takes its toll but it’s not in the form of an injury? We’re talking about fatigue. Believe it or not, hockey players get tired too. And when they get tired, they skate slower, hit softer, and produce fewer results.

You need to be on top of looking for teams that are tired not just to avoid betting on them, but so you can bet on their opponents for some easy value. How do you figure out how tired teams are? You need to start by looking at their schedules. We’re looking for a few things in particular.

First, look for teams that have played a lot of games in the last few days. In the NHL, you’ll often see teams playing 3 games in 4 days or 4 games in 6 days. When you see this, you can start to assume that team is potentially going to be struggling with fatigue. But, you should look a little deeper.

What did those earlier games look like? Were they hard-fought games with a lot of physicality or were they check the box type games that looked more like a practice than an actual game? Did the games go into overtime or were they completed in regulation? You’re basically looking for any factors that might add to the fatigue factor of a particular team.

What you can also do is look historically at how teams and lines have fared on game stints where fatigue is likely. Did the tough schedule hit them hard or were they able to keep up the steam at the tail end of the games? Were individual players or lines more or less affected by the tough games and long schedules?

All of this should not be the basis of your betting picks, but it can and should play a fairly decent sized role. Professional athletes are trained to deal with grueling schedules, but they are still human and are still susceptible to fatigue and injury especially in adverse conditions.

Defenses Prevail in the Playoffs

Historically in the NHL, defensively skilled teams have done much better through the playoffs and into the Stanley Cup. While they still need an offensive presence if they want to get on the board and win, defenses just seem to be much more important late into the season and into the playoffs.

The betting tip and takeaway here should be clear. When it gets to the playoffs or crucial games late in the season, give some extra weight to teams with strong defenses. Be wary of teams with high-flying offensives without much of a defense that only win their games by outscoring the other team in high scoring affairs.

Don’t blindly bet teams that have strong defenses, though. Remember, none of the tips in this hockey betting guide are meant to be used exclusively. They’re all meant to work together to give you the best overall picture of the potential outcome of a game. If you only focus on one factor, you’re going to end up getting yourself into trouble because it’s just not that simple.

Roster Depth

We touched on fatigue and the brutal nature of hockey several times in this article. What we’d like to do now is talk about the biggest factor you need to look at when betting on teams for individual games or season-long futures bets. You need to be looking at a team’s roster depth. Are they just one hot-shot line and then a bunch of scrubs that struggle or are they deep with a lot of talent throughout all the lines?

One of the most interesting examples of how important this is goes back to the Vegas Golden Knights first season. The team was 400 to 1 to win the Stanley Cup at the beginning of the season because the team had no real superstars. It was their first year as an expansion team, and people had all but written them off. Did they win the Stanley Cup? No, but they made it to the Stanley Cup. They were actually even the favorites to win the Cup. Had you made a futures bet on them, you could have hedged and made a ton of money regardless.

Now, why do we bring this up? The Knights were an amazing example of the importance of roster depth. They didn’t have any superstars, but every single player on the roster was good. Instead of having a few A-listers and then a bunch of C-list players, they had a continuous supply of B-list players who were hungry. Their depth across the board allowed them to thrive the entire time they were on the ice and shifted the way some teams approached setting their lines in the future.

When you’re making futures bets, this is extremely important. If a team can’t survive through a few injuries without completely falling apart, that’s a risky bet. And in a sport as violent as hockey, it’s not just a risky bet, but it’s not a smart bet to make. Look for teams that are talented but also have depth.

Hunt for Value – Selections and Shopping

The last thing we want to touch on is certainly one of the most important tips. When you’re making your bets based on your predictions, you can’t just auto bet every prediction that you have. Why? Well, just because you think a hockey team is going to win a game does not automatically make that a wise bet. You have to look at what you’re going to get paid out on that bet to determine if it’s wise or not.

This is called value. This is why you can have a winning hockey betting record and be losing money. This is also why you can have a losing hockey record (more losses than wins) and be making money hand over fist. If this concept seems confusing or foreign to you, check out our Understanding Value and How Betting Lines Work Guide where we break it down. If you haven’t read this guide yet, it is a must read for everyone.

Secondly, you can’t just blindly place your hockey bets at the first sportsbook you see. As you’ll also learn (or already learned) in the above guide, sportsbooks are going to have wildly different lines on the exact same hockey bets because they are trying to balance their own book’s portfolio of action. Because of this, you can get much better betting lines on the exact same wager just by checking at a couple different sportsbooks.

This is known as line shopping and is a must-do practice for anyone who is serious about making money betting on hockey or sports in general. As we mentioned at the beginning of the guide, this is one of the biggest reasons that online sports betting is so much better than betting in the brock and mortar setting. When you bet at the casino or live sportsbook, you are stuck with whatever lines they have on the upcoming games. If you don’t like them, tough luck; you either take them, don’t bet, or come back later to see if they’ve changed.

When you bet online, though, you can shop your lines in a matter of seconds by just opening up another browser tab. We’ve linked several reputable online sportsbooks offering action on hockey at the top of this page, so you have options for places to shop your bets. The only excuse for not shopping your hockey lines and bets is laziness at this point. Sorry for the truth be told harshness, but there is no nicer way to put it.

We want you to succeed, and if that requires us to tell it like it is, then that is what we’ll do. Good luck out there and if you want some more information on betting on hockey, make sure you check out our Hockey Betting Guide Hub where we have a lot more information and resources to help you with your hockey betting.