Veteran NHL bettors know that part of what makes the NHL playoffs so great is the overtime. In the regular season the sudden death period is limited to just five minutes, but it is endless in the playoffs. The drama is intense, and it’s not uncommon to see an overtime battle stretch on and on into the realm of the epic. Because the tension and the stakes are so high in overtime it’s inevitable that the hockey team that loses is going to take it hard. Handicappers understandf that sometimes that loss can translate into poor play in the next game as the frustration and disappointment lingers – and the winning team carries their confidence and momentum forward. Here’s a look at six factors that NHL handicappers need to consider when trying to determine if an overtime loss could have a lingering effect for the losing team:
How soon do they play again? – The longer there is between games the less impact the loss is likely to have. When the team first loses the loss will sting, and it will be hard for the team. With time though, the impact will lessen as the immediacy of the situation diminishes and teams focus more on the big picture and their larger goals. Teams are supposed to play every other day in the NHL playoffs, but scheduling – both in buildings and on TV – make that impossible these days. This is a case where a longer layoff can be a positive for a hockey team that has lost in overtime.
How was it tied up? – All losses hurt, but it can hurt more if the hockey team feels like they really threw away an opportunity. It might be easier, for example, for a team to accept a loss if they had been far behind and had fought back late to tie it up than it would be if they had had a lead until the final seconds of the game that they blew before losing in overtime. In the former situation the team could focus on their resilience and their strength late in the game, while in the latter there are many ways the hockey team could feel sorry for themselves or doubt themselves.
How crucial was the win? – Every win matters in the NHL playoffs, but there are some losses that hurt more than others. For example, NHL handicappers need to understand that a team will likely be less frustrated and shaken if they lose in overtime when they are leading the series 3-0 than they would if they were down 2-0 at the time. The more of a blow the loss had on their chances, the more potential it has to have a lingering impact on the team.
How have they dealt with ugly losses in the past? – The NHL regular season is long. Inevitably during the season even the best teams have dealt with rough losses a few times. Perhaps they had a big lead and blew it. Maybe they got blown out by a lesser team, or they kept fighting back from a deficit but couldn’t get it done. By looking for situations where a team could have been particularly frustrated – and then seeing how they bounced back in their next game - NHL handicappers can get a good insight into what you might expect now. If the hockey team played very strong in their next game – like they were out for revenge – then they could play the same here. If they seemed to pout and play like they were in a funk, then that could be even worse in this situation.
How resilient have they been in the playoffs? – NHL teams that do well in the playoffs have to deal with all sorts of setbacks. They’ll lose games they thought they should have won. They’ll have bad penalties called against them. They’ll suffer injuries. Some teams take those things in stride, and others don’t. Looking back at situations like this should be very instructive. The added advantage of situations like this is that they have occurred recently and the stakes were similar to what they currently are, so it’s easier for sports bettors to draw meaningful conclusions from them.
How is the public responding? – Sometimes the sports betting public will react strongly to a playoff win – they will assume that the winner of the game will have serious momentum going forward and will react accordingly. Other times, they will essentially bet like they always would on the game, and the overtime has had no real impact. By keeping a close eye on the betting action of the public, smart NHL bettors can often spot situations where the public reaction and their opinion are not in alignment and there is value as a result.