NHL Betting – How to bet on NHL Hockey

Shea Matthews weighs in with his analysis of how to become an expert as gambling on hockey. He tells our NHL betting fans the key is to look at goalies who are extremely important factors in hockey betting…

NHL Handicapping Tips – How to Bet on NHL Hockey

Compared to the biggies like football, basketball and baseball, hockey doesn’t get as many bets. But it should. The truth is that there’s money to be won in betting on NHL because the lines on average aren’t as sharp.


The betting public knows less about hockey on average than about other “every night” team sports like basketball or baseball; and, because it still has a constant flow of nightly games, bettors and oddsmakers can’t spend hours sizing up a single game the way they can for football.

Try these tips to cash in on NHL betting. Like with baseball, money lines are far more common than spreads, so we’ll stick to them here.

1. Pay close attention to goalies.

While they’re not quite on par with pitchers in baseball, goalies are extremely important factors in hockey betting.

For one, unlike an important position like quarterback, goalies commonly get days off (especially if their teams play back to back nights).

It’s thus crucial to keep track every day of which goaltender is slated to start for a given team.

A squad like Vancouver may not have a big gap between Roberto Luongo and backup Cory Schneider – but there’s a huge dropoff in New York from Henrik Lundqvist to Martin Biron. For that reason, I recommend picking your hockey games the day of, when you know who is starting between the pipes.

Another thing to watch with goaltenders: history against certain teams. Goalies are headcases. When a certain shooter or team gets in their heads, they often have trouble shaking the problem. Look at Luongo against the Blackhawks. They had him shaking in his boots in the playoffs the last three seasons.

2. Special teams matter.

Don’t underestimate the power of special teams. Do your homework; research a team’s power-play and penalty-killing efficiency. If the league’s top power-play team faces the worst penalty-killing team in the NHL, chances are the former will lay a beatdown on the latter.

3. Hockey is a team game – and momentum means something.

Momentum can be overrated across many sports – but I’m not sure if that’s true for hockey. This sport is a true team game in which teams often win based on coaching and belief in a system. Notice how teams often go on massive unbeaten streaks when they get a new coach or try a new line combination?

It’s all about chemistry. Hot streaks shouldn’t be ignored. Same goes for cold streaks.

Ever heard of a coach “losing the room”? it’s what happens when a team decides it doesn’t want to play for a given coach anymore…and mentally quits.

4. Beware the cross-country road trip.

When the Miami Dolphins travel across the map to visit the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL, we tend not to bet on Miami, right? It’s the longest flight a team can make and can throw players’ bodies out of whack. Translate it to the NHL. [ad-4437448]

Imagine the Florida Panthers travelling to Vancouver – then again to Calgary the next night and Edmonton two nights after that. The cross-country road trip can be devastating and physically punishing. It’s not that teams can’t overcome it but it’s important to review their recent track records on long road trips.

5. Some buildings are tougher to play in than others.

Not every hockey arena is a factor. However, the right combination of a winning team, rowdy fans and a claustrophobic environment can seriously influence a game. Whereas the Phoenix Coyotes play in half-empty buildings and Toronto’s Air Canada Centre is a stuffy morgue full of corporate fans, the Bell Centre in Montreal and the United Center in Chicago pulsate with passion.

Certain buildings are especially intimidating to play in and can influence betting results more than others.

On the flip side, there’s value in betting against “overrated” buildings. People assume that Toronto might be a hard place to visit because it’s the “Hockey Mecca” but the Leafs actually lost more than they won there last year.

Opposing players, many of whom come from Ontario, love to beat the Leafs in Toronto.

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By Shea Matthews

Shea Matthews the Senior Writer at CP. Lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national papers. Shea applies his knowledge to sports betting + handicapping daily, and shares winning picks with the world.