Hockey Betting Tips: Take A Close Look At The NHL Schedule

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Here’s a simple hockey betting strategy that has stood the test of time — at least the past decade — and takes a minimum of study, if any.

All anyone needs is a schedule.

(Online betting site oddsmakers, please avert your eyes).

Working The Schedule

A long while back, starting with the 2010-11 season, I researched the results of home teams over a stretch of two-plus seasons to learn how they fared playing at home a day after a road game.

Overall, the standings showed home teams during that span had an overall mark of 192 games over .500, yet when playing at home a day after a road outing they were 14 games under .500 at 50-64 — provided they faced a team that had one- to three days rest.

And considering home teams in hockey usually go off as a nice favorite, there’s money to be had when the visitors are winning at a 56.1% clip.

Does that trend still work these days? Sure does. Maybe even better.

Ignoring last year’s bizarre regional schedule and instead using results from the 2019-2020 season until the pandemic, there were 71 games in which a team played at home after a road battle (excluding home-away series vs. the same foe). The home teams went 32-39, giving the visitors a 55.0% win rate. In all other games, the home teams were a cumulative 79 games over .500 for the whole season.

And this time it didn’t matter if the visitor also had no rest. The away teams went 18-14 when also going without a day off. Yowza!

An extreme betting opportunity that immediately comes to mind occurred in early March 2009. That’s when the Colorado Avalanche, on a six-game losing streak and doomed to finish last in the Western Conference, faced the Blackhawks in Chicago, a team that would finish with 104 points.

But, GRRR!!!!!, Vegas sportsbooks took the game off the board.

Colorado, on three-days’ rest, won 5-1 for its most lopsided road win of the season. Too bad there was no chance to cash in on a lopsided money-line bet.

Notes

Making the 2019-20 data even more powerful was the fact that six Western Conference teams that didn’t have any road/home back-to-backs were a combined 16 games under .500 at home and probably would have been extra vulnerable to losing right after a road game.

Of course, there were a couple of teams that put a dent in the home/away trend that season. Chicago went 5-1 and the Islanders 3-0. The others therefore went a combined 6-17. 

Upcoming

The first two chances to use this strategy occurs Oct. 14 when the New York Rangers, off a game at Washington the day before, plays host to the Dallas Stars in their season opener. 

Four days later, Ottawa, after playing at rival Toronto, also plays host to Dallas, which won’t have a rest day, either.

And, on Halloween, there’s a good one when New Jersey is at home to Columbus, which has one day of rest.

About the Author

Bob Christ

Bob Christ, based in New Mexico, has been a gaming writer (primarily the NFL) for almost four decades, with his work appearing in publications/websites across North America. He's a big fan of the Arkansas Razorbacks, Philadelphia's Eagles and Phillies, and inexplicably the NHL's Winnipeg Jets.

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