When you’re betting on the NHL, it can feel like the questions change as soon as you think you know the answers. Strategies and angles that worked one week don’t seem to work as well, or at all, the next. I mean, teams seem to get good overnight, and vice versa.
This is why having a consistent process is so important. For example, my process involves making my own odds and comparing them to the odds at sportsbooks like NorthStar Bets to find value bets like I do on The Puck Portfolio. I do this by analyzing statistics, betting markets, and information, but I also keep a close eye on league betting trends.
Betting Trends for the 2023-24 NHL Regular Season
Home teams have won 52.8% of the games so far this season, while home favourites have won 61.3% of the time. Neither of those numbers has changed much since the last time I checked in, but home dogs have been winning straight up at a higher clip than they were earlier this season.
While home teams have won almost 53% of the games overall, they’ve only won 41.7% of the games in regulation, compared to away teams, which have won in regulation 39.3% of the time. Games go to overtime or a shootout roughly 22% of the time, no matter how you slice it.
Home favourites aren’t covering the puck line (-1.5) nearly enough to be profitable, but the ‘good’ teams are getting the job done away from home overall, at least relative to the odds. But, once again, there’s a theme here: the odds appear to be shaded toward the home team.
As far as totals go, nothing really out of the ordinary, but if you’re betting a game to go over or under seven goals, be prepared to push almost as often as you win or lose. Check out all the data in the table.
Stanley Cup Playoff Chances
How are you feeling about your playoff predictions? I certainly didn’t expect the Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils to be on the outside of the playoff picture at the quarter mark of the regular season. We know that since the Wild Card format was introduced in 2013-14, most of the teams (more than 75%) that hold a playoff spot at American Thanksgiving end up qualifying, but a few teams always lose their grip and fall out every season.
Patrick Kane Signs with Red Wings
Speaking of playoff chances, Detroit improved its chances with the signing of future Hall of Famer Patrick Kane to a one-year contract on Monday. Before the signing, CSB’s NHL Projection Model gave the Red Wings a 38% chance of making the playoffs. However, since the move, Detroit’s odds have improved to almost 45%.
The Red Wings have outperformed expected goals to date, and Kane might help them sustain that to some degree, but Detroit must show some improvements in short order if they plan on being a real threat in the Eastern Conference. There are just too many ‘good’ teams chasing them, and the playoff picture is going to be crowded come the end of the season.
Side note: I don’t get why some outlets still have the Senators making the playoff more often than the Red Wings, but many do. That doesn’t add up. Ottawa might have the fewest games played, but they only have three games in hand on Detroit and the Red Wings have a nine-point lead. The Senators are not a team that anyone should be taking seriously right now.
Playing the Market
NHL bettors are quick to react to information. For example, on Monday morning it was reported that Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon was dealing with an illness and he was downgraded to a game-time decision. Within 10 minutes of the report, Colorado’s odds had dropped from -141 to -124, as savvy bettors jumped on the Lightning at +127, moving them to +110.
MacKinnon did end up playing against the Lightning, though, and he had two assists. Not to mention, Colorado’s odds shot back up to -140 just five minutes after he took the ice for warm-up, so betting that the illness would keep him out, or at the very least, keep him off the scoreboard, did not pay off whatsoever. Playing the Avalanche in the five-minute window before the game certainly would have, though, and that strategy doesn’t require you to sit at the computer, monitoring news all day.
Something to think about the next time the market moves because a player might not play for one reason or another.
Don’t forget to tune into The Puck Portfolio live at 11:30 A.M. ET on weekdays on the Canada Sports Betting YouTube channel to get free NHL projections and picks to help inform your handicapping and hockey betting.