By Brad Elliott
NHL Betting Tips – Whether it’s Gary Bettman’s unrelenting quest for parity, the volume of games, the omnipresent juice or a hundred of other variables you have to deal with – getting the best of the NHL can be an uphill battle. A fun one, but a battle nonetheless.
If you’re new to betting on hockey, whether you play your provincial sports lottery or somewhere else, here are a few lessons I learned the hard way that you’ll want to keep in mind.
Common NHL Betting Mistakes
1) Playing Big Favorites
I’ll set the scene – a Las Vegas strip sports book (Caesar’s Palace to be specific) and a cocky Canadian kid on his first trip to Sin City who couldn’t wait to hammer the books with his NHL insights and knowledge.
Fast forward 96 hours to said kid boarding a plane back to Canada with a lot less swagger. Vegas 1 – Brad 0.
Here are the broad strokes: I played 13 hockey games in total, winning 9 and losing 4. Pretty sweet winning percentage…before you factor in the “juice”. Two games in particular wiped out any chance I had of booking a nice profit. Both looked like sure things and as is the case with virtually all “sure things”, both were big favorites (over -200).
Losing those two plays meant I had to win four games just to get back to even. After the smoke cleared, I had made the slimmest of profits, but the lesson was stark – steer clear of big favs. Sooner or later they’ll break your heart.
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2) Playing a Lot of Games
See above. I played 13 games over three nights. There’s no way I had a strong opinion on 13 of the 24 hockey games played over those days. There were a lot of “leans” and “I likes” sprinkled across my betting slips.
It took me at least four years before I really got a handle on this one. Less is more when it comes to betting the NHL.
Nowadays, I only play on games that I have a strong opinion, based on my research and handicapping.
3) Going with your Gut
Don’t let a liberal dose of “gut-feel” be your guide when betting on the NHL. One of those big losses I highlighted in my first trip to Vegas was on the Red Wings. This was a Detroit team playing the second game of back-to-back nights, their third game in four nights (and fifth in nine days) with travel back from the West Coast. And here I am laying -210 without having checked their schedule. Crazy.
Before clicking submit on that betting ticket, be sure you’ve done some research (schedule, recent form, past history, starting goalies, etc.)
Now this still needs to be fun. And fun means being a little spontaneous, fun means putting a few bucks on the home team even if you don’t love the matchup – I get all that. And by all means have at it.
But do keep the above in mind as you go about wagering on the NHL.
Brad Elliott has been wagering on the NHL for over 20 years. He was a key contributor to the very popular (and profitable) weekly NHL Analysis in the Winner’s Edge magazine.