NHL Betting 101 – Win More Hockey Bets

There is no real secret to hockey betting. To win more hockey bets it takes some homework. In this post, we look at a number of things bettors can do to improve their NHL winning percentage.

Key Points

– Win more hockey bets by analyzing stats, trends, and other metrics.

– Knowing the referees can help bettors win more hockey bets.

How to Win More Hockey Bets

While different sports have slightly different betting options and outcomes, the general concept is always the same. We’re looking to find good value in picking outright winners, betting against the spread, or wagering on in-game player props. This requires having at least an introductory knowledge of the specific sport on which you want to bet.

If you plan to take sports betting seriously and want to try and build your bankroll, it’s important to do as much research as possible to gain an edge. You may have some success just trusting your gut. Maintaining success over long periods of time will be much harder. For that, you’ll need to analyze stats, trends, and other metrics.

Here’s a look at everything you should consider when betting on a National Hockey League (NHL) game, or hockey games at any level for that matter.

Look at Home-Away Records

The first and easiest thing you can do when determining if a game is worth betting on is to check out each team’s home and away splits. Usually, the home team is favored unless there’s a huge gap in the standings between the two teams. For instance, a team with a 40-20-1 record is still likely to be favored on the road against a team with a 20-36-5 record. 

However, you might find some teams struggle at home or excel on the road. While it doesn’t happen often, it can help inform your bets. The New Jersey Devils, for example, were third overall in the NHL standings as of March 21, 2023, with a record of 45-18-7. However, they were just 19-13-3 at home and a remarkable 26-5-4 on the road. This is good to know because it can help in recognizing good value in betting the Devils on the road. 

The Importance of Tracking Player Injuries to Win More Hockey Bets

Tracking Player Injuries to Win More Hockey Bets

Oftentimes, player injuries are already accounted for when bookmakers set odds for a specific game. It’s useful for bettors to know about these injuries before placing a bet. Looking back at the example of the Devils, they might be an underdog on the road against another good team. Take the Tampa Bay Lightning as an example. Even with their outstanding road record, bettors must still do more research.

There’s plenty of resources online to track player injuries. You can start by Googling “New Jersey Devils injuries,” or look at the game previews on most sports apps. Obviously, the Devils won’t be as likely to win if they are without star players like Jack Hughes and Timo Meier.

There are teams that play better without star players for whatever reason. It might be because there’s some pressure on other players to step up. Stat Muse is a great website to track team records without certain players. For instance, New Jersey was 2-1-1 without Hughes in 2022-23. 

Know the Starting Goaltenders

Similar to soccer, the goaltender is the most important player in hockey. If you aren’t sure which goaltender is starting in a given game you should probably just avoid it altogether. NHL teams have two goalies and the backup is usually considerably worse than the starting goaltender. This impacts a team’s likelihood to win a game.

There are several websites and resources you can use to see which goaltender is starting a certain game. Daily Faceoff, RotoWire, and Left Wing Lock are all useful resources that list the starting goaltender as soon as it has been announced by the team.

Knowing the goaltenders is also helpful when making totals bets. As a general rule, the Over should be more likely to hit if one or both team’s backup goaltender is starting. You should do your due diligence to make sure that’s the case. Look at the goaltender’s past few starts and see how many goals they’ve allowed on average. 

Don’t Forget Referees

There is an online resource for just about everything. Scouting the Refs is a great tool to use to see the crew responsible for officiating each game in the NHL. This might sound like doing a bit too much, but it can be helpful.

For instance, the website lists Peter MacDougall and Dan O’Rourke refereeing the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers game on March 21. It then shows how many goals per game are scored during games those referees officiate. There are other stats, including power plays per game, penalty minutes per game, percentage of penalties on the home team, etc. It also shows how each team fared the last time those referees officiated their game.

While this is a useful tool for betting on game outcomes, it’s also especially resourceful for making Over/Under bets. If you notice the two scheduled referees hand out more penalties per game than their peers, it might make sense to take the over. This is especially true in a game involving two teams with strong power plays.

ATS and Over/Under Records

A team’s against the spread (ATS) record can be dramatically different than its actual win-loss record. The ATS record refers to the puck line in hockey, which is almost always 1.5. That means a favorite needs to win by two and an underdog must lose by one or win outright in order to cover. 

The Philadelphia Flyers, for instance, had the best ATS record in the league as of March 21, although they were well outside of the playoffs. The Flyers were 44-25 ATS, meaning they’ve had a lot of one-goal losses and covered. The first-place Boston Bruins had the second-best ATS record at 41-27.

Bettors can use several different websites that list each team’s ATS and Over/Under records.

About the Author
Joe Berra
Joe Berra
Sports Writer
Content Covered on SportsHub: Blog and News
Click to Contact
Joe takes care of the bits and pieces that sometimes slip through the cracks of the sports world. Efficiency and consistency is what makes SportsHub.com different. JB helps keep Sports Hub’s content fresh and exciting, managing its many authors. From the New York area, Joe knew he had a knack for sports betting when his uncle was always asking him which side he was on as a young boy. His meticulous approach to the numbers formed his career path as a professional handicapper. Joe is sometimes called Jimmy Bagpipes, JB or Mr. B.