NorthStar Bets Weekly NHL Betting Insights (Dec. 19)

Hockey bettors will finally get a break as the NHL will pause for three days between December 24th and 26th, but there’s a lot of hockey left to be played. So, if you haven’t been tuning into The Puck Portfolio every day, what are you waiting for? Subscribe now to get daily NHL projections and picks for free on YouTube. In the meantime, here’s your weekly dose of betting insights and updated trends from around the league.

New Coach Bump For Senators?

D.J. Smith was fired as head coach of the Ottawa Senators on Monday and the team immediately replaced him with Jacques Martin, who coached the Senators for nine seasons way back when, but is it too late for the Senators? Daniel Alfredsson will join Martin on the coaching staff, and they have promised a defence-first mentality, but Ottawa is dead last in the Eastern Conference and defence isn’t exactly the team’s specialty.

The Senators do have the fewest games played, but with just 22 points in the standings, they’re currently 12 points out of a wild card spot. Making the playoffs isn’t an impossible task, but it’s not surprising that CSB’s NHL Projection Model has a mediocre team like the Senators making the playoffs just 4% of the time. Only five teams have allowed more goals per 60 minutes than Ottawa this season and they are currently +9000 to win the Stanley Cup at NorthStar Bets.

Maple Leafs’ Achilles Heel: Weak Opponents

Moneyline favourites win often, but by and large, the big favourites don’t win enough to overcome the juice. In fact, moneyline favourites with odds of -200 or greater are 68-39 straight up so far this season or 63.6%, but that’s not good enough because a bettor must win more than 66.67% of their bets at -200 odds to be profitable.

Bettors can use our Sports Betting Calculator to find out the implied probability, also known as break-even percentage, using American, Decimal, and Fractional odds.

This is especially true when it comes to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s a well-known phenomenon that Toronto plays down to its opponents, and here’s the evidence. The Maple Leafs are 18-18 straight up since the beginning of the 2022-23 season as moneyline favourites when their odds are -200 or greater. They should’ve won more than 70% of those games, but they won 50% exactly.

So far in 2023-24, the Maple Leafs have been a big favourite a total of five times they’ve gone 1-4 straight up. There are situations where betting a big favourite makes sense, but Toronto hasn’t been able to live up to the billing in these situations. My rule of thumb is: if betting on a big favourite causes an uneasy feeling, take it as a sign that it’s probably not a good bet.

If it feels like home teams have been on fire lately, they have been, but it’s also a product of scheduling. On average, the home team’s odds have been approximately -135, which is a few percentage points higher than it usually is and that suggests that better-quality teams were playing at home a lot more than they typically do.

Also, judging by the puck line trends, there were a lot of close games. Favourites went 14-38 or 26.9% on the puck line last week, meaning that’s how often they won by two goals or more.