Let’s use the Super Bowl bye week to talk some pucks.
The National Hockey League is approaching the All-Star Break, which takes place this upcoming weekend, so it’s a good time to analyze some of the betting strategies I have used successfully over the years.
One of the biggest strategies I use in betting the NHL is riding streaks as opposed to trying to step in front of them. When a team is on a winning streak and playing their best, I’d rather bet on that team to keep the streak going than fade them and “hope” they suffer that win-streak-snapping loss.
A perfect example right now is Colorado, which enters this week riding a nine-game winning streak. Colorado was priced as an underdog in seven of their nine victories during that span and if you had been betting on the Avs in each of those games, you would be up over +10 units of profit following my philosophy of riding streaks in the NHL, not going against them.
The key to Colorado’s success is the superstar calibre of play they are currently getting from Nathan MacKinnon, the 1st overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. MacKinnon has collected a whopping 8 goals and 11 assists during his current nine-game point-scoring streak, which coincides with Colorado’s nine-game win streak.
Special teams is a key aspect of hockey as well, and a good power play and penalty kill often go a long way toward a team’s success; for the Colorado Avalanche, their special teams have indeed been special of late. Colorado is 2nd in the NHL in penalty killing (84.7%) and they have killed off 36 straight shorthanded situations. The Avalanche also have a Top 10 power play in the league that has scored on 15 of their last 50 power play opportunities for a solid 30% conversion rate with the man advantage over their last 14 games.
The Colorado top line with MacKinnon alongside Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog has combined for 51 goals, 70 assists and 121 points in their last 35 games, which is simply outstanding No. 1 line production. Colorado’s play in their own zone defensively has improved rapidly during this stretch of games and Jonathan Bernier’s performance level in net has been excellent as he is on a personal eight-start winning streak with a gaudy .958 save percentage since Dec. 31.
Colorado’s recent torrid hot streak is one of many examples of teams that go through extended winning and losing streaks during the course of a lengthy 82 game NHL regular season and how bettors can turn a profit from those extended streaks.
NHL bettors can often find many different instances where teams can also go on extended totals streaks in the NHL as well in terms of trending Over or Under the total game after game for an extended period of time. The best example of this is the New York Islanders who have somehow retained consistent value to bet their games Over the total.
New York is a remarkable 32-13, 71 percent to the Over (excluding pushes) in 45 games this season in what has turned into one of the biggest Over-the-total streaks involving a specific team in recent NHL history. How have the Islanders managed to have their games fly Over the total in 32 of their 45 games played this season?
It’s actually fairly simple to figure out. The Islanders are one of the NHL’s top scoring teams, ranked 2nd in the NHL averaging 3.4 goals per game. However, they are every bit as porous at the defensive end of the ice as they are good at the offensive end. New York is conceding a horrendous 3.6 goals per game, ranking them dead last at 31st in the NHL in that category, and their penalty kill has been a repeated sore spot for this hockey team. The Islanders sit 30th in the NHL in terms of penalty killing.
The Islanders have played an extended period of time without two key blueliners on defense, Johnny Boychuk and Calvin De Haan, along with inconsistent and borderline awful goaltending from the Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss combo all season long. You can see why it has been a perfect storm for an Over the total bonanza involving the NY Islanders all season long.
Recently, we have seen Islanders game totals get raised to 6.5 on several occasions, which is higher than the base line 5.5 and 6 totals we often see, and yet they’ve still managed to hurdle Over those higher totals. The question now is will we see a regression at some point and when will it be?
Local heroes, the Vegas Golden Knights, have been the single biggest and best story in the NHL this season. As of this writing, the Golden Knights sit atop the Western Conference and the overall NHL standings with a tremendous 31-11-2 record and a league best 66 points. Vegas has a complete team that has found chemistry and cohesion instantly with all four lines contributing to their success, a rock solid core of defensemen despite lacking any big time Norris Trophy candidates, and superb goaltending on most nights from Marc-Andre Fleury.
This team has battled through multiple goalie injuries to get to this point. They have a roster that has been well put together and constructed by GM George McPhee and well coached by Gerard Gallant. There has also been no lack of motivation for the players on this team. Many of them were seen as not good enough to be protected by their former teams prior to the expansion draft process that Vegas went through, giving these players a chip on their shoulder kind of mentality each night taking the ice.
There is not a single doubt the horrific shooting tragedy that took place outside Mandalay Bay on Oct. 1 united this team even more with the Las Vegas residents and fans.
They have been a very nice cash cow for their supporters at the betting window, leading the NHL in terms of profitability at +20.58 units of profit to this point of the season.