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Assessing NHL Playoff Contenders

More than any other major sport there is a lot you can tell about a team in the NHL regarding their readiness to compete in the playoffs before the regular season even ends. That doesnít mean that there arenít still upsets or surprises in the NHL playoffs - there certainly are. Itís just that often times teams that surprise the media and the general public arenít nearly as surprising as they seem if you have taken the time to assess readiness going into the playoffs. A team that isnít ready heading into the playoffs will rarely do much once the ...

Bad Betting Mistakes for NHL Finals

The Stanley Cup finals are the best time of the year to be a hockey fan or a hockey bettor. The play is brilliant, the emotion is highly charged, and teams can and will do anything to win. It is great theater, and it is capped by the best trophy presentation and celebration in sports. If you want to bet on the finals and win then it is important that you avoid making any big mistakes with your bets. Here are five common mistakes bettors make when betting on the Stanley Cup finals: ...

Exploit Difference Before & After NHL All Star Game

The NHL season goes through some subtle but significant changes from a betting perspective once the all star break happens. The season changes after the break, and the most successful bettors are the ones that can recognize those changes and figure out how to best exploit them for profit. Here are five different examples of things that change from the first half of the NHL season to the second half: ...

Betting Impact of NHL Suspensions

Suspensions are a common thing in the NHL, and they seem to be occurring more and more regularly as the league attempts to crack down on every questionable element of the game. For bettors suspensions can be challenging to deal with, and it can be very easy to make mistakes in dealing with them if you arenít careful. Here are seven questions to ask when you are attempting to determine the true impact of an NHL suspension: ...

Changing from NHL Regular Season to Playoff Mode

The NHL playoffs are the most grueling postseason test in sports. For two months players play brutally intense games. The team that wins the Stanley Cup has unquestionably earned it. For bettors the Stanley Cup playoffs arenít as grueling, but they can be intense, and they are certainly exciting. From a betting perspective the playoffs require a shift in thinking from the regular season as well. If bettors try to bet the playoffs like they would the regular season then they are not going to get the results they hope to. Here are six ways in whi ...

Betting Issues After Clinching NHL Playoff Spot

It can be very difficult for handicappers to determine how a NHL team is going to perform down the stretch in the regular season once they have their playoff spot sewn up. Some teams never take their feet off the accelerator, looking to build as much momentum as they possibly can to carry them into the playoffs. Other teams look to rest their players, heal their wounds, and be as fresh as possible when the most grueling postseason in sports starts. Getting a sense of which approach is likely for a team can help you find nice value - and avoid c ...

Betting Insights from NHL Coach Transitions

Job security is become more and more of a luxury for coaches in the NHL every year as the pressure to win increases and the patience of management and ownership declines. It used to be that a coach would be given a few years, and that changes would never be made during the season. Now, though, coaching changes in the middle of the season are very common. Handicappers have the challenge of figuring out how a team is going to respond after a midseason change is made, and that can be a real headache sometimes. There can be a positive side to these ...

Finding Handicapping Clues in Hockey Stats

Hockey isnít nearly as much of a statistics-driven league as football, basketball, or especially baseball are. Stats are obviously recorded and available, but the stats arenít nearly as sophisticated as they are for other sports. Thatís partly because hockey just isnít as popular as other sports, but there is a bigger problem - hockey isnít a game of direct matchups. In baseball you can look at how a pitcher will perform against a given batter, how a batter will perform in a certain circumstance, and so on. In basketball you can look at how wel ...

Coaching Influence on NHL Playoff Picks

The NHL playoffs are an absolutely brutal test of teams. In order for a team to shine and hoist the Stanley Cup they need a few key things - excellent goaltending, depth, talent, and a whole lot of luck. Most significantly of all, though, a team that wins the Stanley Cup will have an excellent coach - or at least a coach who is operating at full capacity in that moment. To keep a team focused and on task through two months of adversity is a very difficult task, and that responsibility lies on the shoulders of that coach. Because coaches are so ...

Betting Considerations for NHL Afternoon Games

There are some sports and some leagues that lend themselves to afternoon games. Itís more than common for a football game to be in the afternoon, baseball is at its best in the daylight, and basketball is played on many a weekend afternoon. For some reason, though, hockey is not played nearly as often in the afternoon as other sports. For many teams - especially those not on the east coast - an afternoon game is a rare and not necessarily welcome occurrence. Teams can play an entire season without playing before the evening. Because they donít ...

Gaining Betting Edge from NHL Midseason Slumps

Every year in the NHL around January or February we see the same thing - a serious playoff contender that started strong slipping into a midseason slump. Actually, it typically happens a few times most years. Sometimes they shake things off and get right back into form after the losses. Other times, though, the poor play can derail the season and send the team spiraling down the stretch. For bettors, the ability to determine whether a team is likely to bounce back or not, and how quickly that is likely to happen, can lead to some very nice prof ...

How Handicappers Evaluate NHL Goalies

Goalies are by far the single most important part of any hockey game . They are similar to starting pitchers in their importance in the outcome of a game. A hot goalie can salvage a lousy performance by a team, while a lousy outing can destroy great offensive play by the team. Because goalies are so important to a team it only makes sense that they are important to handicappers as well. In fact, a handicapper who is good at evaluating goalies and determining how they are likely to play has a strong chance of making a profit. Here are five facto ...

Finding Betting Edge After NHL Trade Deadline

The trade deadline in the NHL is by far the most active of any major sport. The coverage of the day makes it feel like a special event. There are typically literally dozens of trades done on the day and in the days right before the deadline. While many of those deals are obviously not exactly blockbusters, weíll typically see several big name players change their mailing address. Because of the significance of the day to the league it is important that bettors are properly prepared for the trade deadline. In particular, itís important to be rea ...

How to Handicap Extended NHL Road Trips

Each year in the NHL there are times when teams are forced out of their home buildings and on to the road for extended road trips. Some of those occasions are annual - like in November when the Blackhawks are replaced by the circus and the Oilers make way for the Canadian rodeo championships. Others are caused by one time events - the World Junior hockey championships often forces the team from the host city out of town at Christmas time, and the Olympics in Vancouver led to an incredibly grueling road trip for the Canucks. Playing on the road ...

How to Handicap NHL Teams After Overtime Games

One of the many things that make the NHL playoffs so great are the rare marathon games - the games that stretch into two, three or even more overtime periods. By the end of those games you can see that the guys can barely stand up, but they arenít willing to give an inch. Itís like the last round of a great boxing match when both guys are totally spent, but they both want to score the last few points. These games are a surefire recipe for drama. There are few things in all of sports that are like it. ...

Handicapping Homework After NHL Season

The hockey season seems to go on forever, so by the time it ends even the most avid hockey fans and bettors are probably ready for a break. As soon as the Cup is hoisted most bettors are thinking ahead to other sports, other bets, and where their next action is going to come from. Smart hockey bettors, though, know that itís important to take the time while the season is still fresh in your mind to look at what just happened, what you did well, and what you can and will do better next year. If you leave that kind of analysis until next fall whe ...

Handicapping NHL Teams Out of Playoff Contention

Each year in the NHL there are several teams that see their playoff dreams mathematically end well before the end of the regular season. That means that they have to play some games to finish the year that have no real meaning. For handicappers those games can be challenging. Most people will assume that those teams will not play particularly well - and that is very often true. Sometimes, though, those teams will play better than people think, and that can create some very nice value. Here are six factors to consider when trying to determine ho ...

How to Handicap Returning of NHL Superstar

Injuries are an unfortunate but inevitable part of the NHL. As the game gets faster, players get stronger, and teams get more cautious with their assets we are seeing more and more players - especially really valuable players -miss long periods of time. Whenever a superstar misses a lot of playing time bettors need to evaluate how that player will play upon his return, what impact that will have on the team in the short term, how bettors will respond, and what that means for value. Here are six factors to consider when evaluating the impact of ...

How to Bet on Hockey Games

The NHL season is here. Each year more and more people discover the joy of betting on hockey. It really is a great sport to bet on - there are games virtually every day, the lines and totals offer lots of value, and there is more than enough information available to handicap effectively. It really is the most under-appreciated betting sport in North America. If you are thinking of getting into hockey betting this year then here are five fundamentals about the sport to keep in mind: ...

How to Spot Out of Gas NHL Teams

In the first round of the 2011 NHL playoffs there were a couple of very interesting lessons to be learned by NHL handicappers who are committed to long term success. Washington faced the Rangers and they were dominant. They cruised through in five games and looked like they were settling in for a long playoff run. The Flyers had a bigger challenge against the Sabres, but they won the last two games of the series - including a dominating performance in the final game - and looked like they had piles of momentum to carry in the second round. Four ...

Special Betting Issues for Outdoor NHL Games

January 1 used to be all about bowl games. A few years ago, though, the NHL made the bold decision to stake a claim on the day. The league isnít the most successful or popular, but this big gamble has paid off handsomely. The Winter Classic, played each year in a baseball or football stadium - with past highlights including Wrigley Field and Fenway Park - is a huge success for the NHL. It gets a lot of national attention, TV ratings are far better than the league is used to, and the public cares about the game far more than other regular season ...

How to Handle Long Breaks in the NHL Schedule

The NHL does a better job than most leagues of scheduling their playoff series so that the games are played at a balanced pace - a game every other day or so. Sometimes, though, there are situations that lead to an extended break of three or four days or even more between games - particularly in cities in which teams play in a busy building that they share with other teams. When these longer breaks happen they present a real challenge for handicappers. You need to be conscious of the impact the break could have, and whether those impacts could ...

What Bettors Look for at NHL Training Camps

A lot of people who bet on hockey donít pay a whole lot of attention to the beginning of training camp in the NHL. Itís not hard to be distracted from the start of things on the ice since the NFL and college football seasons are in full swing and baseball is heading into the stretch drive. Bettors who pay attention to what goes on in the first few days of camp, though, can be rewarded with insights that can be turned into profits early in the season. Here are seven things worth paying attention to when the skates hit the ice for the first time: ...

Smart Bettors Reaction to Losing Star NHL Player

Hockey is a grueling, physical sport, so it is inevitable each NHL season that several teams will be forced to play for some period of time without their best player. The impact of a single player isnít as significant in the NHL as it is in many other leagues, but the loss of a superstar caliber player for any period of time can have a huge impact on the team, and the significance of that impact can grow as the length of the injury expands. Smart bettors need to be able to effectively assess the impact of the loss of this caliber of player in o ...

How to Rate Minor League Goalies Entering NHL

Several times each season in the NHL a team will start a goalie out of the minor leagues that is making his first NHL appearance - or at least one of his first. For bettors this provides a real challenge. The assumption is often that these goalies are going to struggle. If a bettor believes that the goalie has a better chance of strong performance than the public does then there is a chance for nice value. That means that it is important for bettors to be able to effectively evaluate these raw goalies. Here are six factors to consider when eval ...

Top Bettor's Mistakes When Evaluating NHL Goalies

The goalie is the most important player on the ice in a hockey game , so he is the single most important factor for bettors to look at when handicapping a game. If a handicapper is skilled at evaluating goalies and how they are likely to perform they are on the fast track to long term profit betting on hockey. Unfortunately, goalies are not always easy to figure out. That means that when bettors evaluate goalies there are plenty of opportunities for them to make mistakes if they arenít careful. Hereís a look at five mistakes that a lot of betto ...

Betting on NHL Games after Coach Firings

Coaches often get fired during the season in the NHL, and it is getting more and more common as teams get more expensive to run and owners get less patient as a result. When a coach is fired handicappers immediately have to try to figure out what is going to happen to the team in the short term. Is the team going to react positively to the coaching change, or is their shock and frustration cause them to play poorly at the start of the new regime? Here are 10 quick questions to ask to get a sense of which is more likely: ...

Dealing with NHL Game Seven Betting

If you are a hockey fan then there are few things you like more than a game seven in the playoffs. Everything is on the line, teams play like they have nothing to lose, and the hockey is very often incredibly memorable as a result. People who bet on hockey are also drawn to these games because they are the biggest and most dramatic events there are. Handicapping these games can be a different challenge than handicapping other playoff games. Here are six factors to consider when searching for value in game sevens: ...

NHL Goalies Impact on Hockey Betting

People who donít spend a lot of time betting on hockey - and even those who do - often have trouble determining what the role of goalies is in the outcome of games, and how to deal with them. In my view - or at least in a simplified view - goalies are the key to it all. Just like you make a betting determination in baseball based on who the starting pitcher is, the first and most important factor in a hockey game is who the starting goalie is. When you are thinking about the role of goalies in your hockey handicapping here are six things to kee ...

Betting Impact of NHL Midseason Coaching Changes

Midseason coaching changes in the NHL are reasonably common. They are also more significant than in any other major league because of the immediate impact a coaching change can have. A new coach in the NHL is often to significantly improve the performance of the team in a short time. Thatís because small improvements to simple aspects of the game - like penalty kill effectiveness or discipline in their own zone, for example - can have a big impact in the outcome of games and are relatively easy to implement in a short time frame. Not all midsea ...

NHL Playoffs Home Ice Betting Mistakes

Home ice advantage is a big factor in the NHL playoffs . If bettors arenít careful, though, they can give it too much credit, or incorrectly determine what the impact will be. Here are six mistakes bettors make when looking at home ice advantage in the NHL playoffs. Avoiding these mistakes is going to be very helpful for your bottom line: ...

Handicapping NHL Teams After Being Upset

There are few things in the Stanley Cup playoffs that are more exciting than an unexpected upset - when a lower seed finds their game at just the right time and pulls off the miracle series win. While that can be intriguing when it happens it can also create a headache in the next round. Bettors must do their best to predict how the team will bounce back from their win can they continue their momentum, or will they fall back to earth? Bettors also need to consider how the public will respond to the situation and where the value will be as a res ...

Handicapping NHL Teams on Brink of Elimination

There are few situations tougher for a team to face in the NHL than being forced to playing for their lives after losing three games in a playoff series. Their margin for error is zero, and they know that with one more mistake and one more loss their season can be over. Some teams can handle that pressure better than others. That means that there can be some great betting opportunities presented in these potential elimination games - but only if you do a good job of effectively handicapping the situation. Here are seven factors to consider when ...

Spotting NHL Win Streaks on Thin Ice

Wins streaks are very common in the NHL. A team that gets on a roll can string together six or eight wins in a row without a problem. When a team gets hot it doesnít take long for the public to take notice - especially if it is a high profile team that gets a lot of media coverage regularly. When the public gets excited about something they bet on it enthusiastically, and that can have a big impact on the odds available for betting on that team. That in turn means that there can be nice value found betting against the team when the winning stre ...

Predicting Which NHL Teams Will Improve

Every year in the NHL it seems as if there is a team or two that improves dramatically and often unexpectedly from where they were the season before. It could be that they have gone from a totally irrelevant team to one that makes the playoffs, or from a team that barely squeaks into the postseason to one that is a threat to win their conference. Effectively spotting these teams before the season starts would give bettors a big edge over the public, and would likely be very profitable. Here are seven factors that could help you spot a team read ...

Making Money with Hockey's Puckline Betting

I love betting on hockey. More significantly, I love betting on the puckline in hockey. Hockey doesnít get nearly as much betting attention as other sports, and the lines arenít set by most books until the morning of the game, so it is not at all uncommon to find a line that doesnít seem right. In cases where the line seems suspect and you think one team has a significant advantage the puckline can be a great way to capitalize on that opinion. ...

NHL Shootouts Impact on Hockey Bets

The shootout has become an important part of regular season NHL hockey, yet a lot of bettors give shootout performance almost no consideration when they are handicapping a hockey game . Because a significant number of games wind up in the shootout, being able to effectively handicap teams in the shootout could make the difference between a profitable season and a losing one for bettors. The ability for a team to shine in the shootout should never be the single reason you are making a bet on a team, but if two teams are reasonably well matched a ...

Deciphering Slow Starts of Elite NHL Teams

At the beginning of every NHL season there are a few elite teams with serious Stanley Cup aspirations that really struggle out of the gate. Inevitably this will cause panic among the hockey media and the betting public. Sometimes these teams continue to have a poor season, but far more often they turn things around sooner or later. The trick for bettors is be able to get a good sense of how real the struggles are and how long they are likely to last. If you can be reasonably accurate in that assessment then you can give yourself a big edge over ...

How Special Teams Impacts NHL Playoffs Bets

Power play and penalty killing is a big focus of importance for NHL teams, and itís a big focus for a lot of handicappers as well. But are those statistics as useful in the NHL playoffs as they are in the regular season? Should they be handled differently in the postseason than they are in January? Letís take a look. ...

Strategy for NHL Season Futures Betting

The NHL season is just days away. That means that this is as good a time as any to be thinking about which season long NHL futures bets we want to place. Who is going to win the Stanley Cup? Which teams will win their conferences or their division? When you play those types of bets correctly they can be nicely profitable. You have to be smart about them, though, because your money is tied up in them for months. Here are six things to consider as you plan out your NHL futures bets: ...

Tips for NHL Preseason Betting

There is one big reason why betting on the NHL preseason is a good thing - almost no one else is doing it. Because it isnít popular the lines are very soft, and you can find very nice value if you know where to look for it. Most bettors are too focused on football or the baseball pennant races to worry about September hockey. If you want to buck the trend and give preseason NHL action a betting try then here are six factors to keep in mind: ...

Signs of Underachiever NHL Teams Rebounding

When an NHL team that came into the season with high hopes struggles out of the gate the public can quickly turn negative. The media will write about why the team isnít winning like they should, and the public will often assume that the team is doomed. It makes sense, then, that smart bettors who can spot disappointing teams that are capable of turning things around in the second half of the season are going to be able to make some nice money before the public catches on that their perception of the team is no longer accurate. Here are six fact ...

How to Handle Unexpected NHL Hot Starts

Every year in the NHL we see a couple of teams that are widely expected to be really bad that start out the season on a hot streak. Not only does it seem like they canít lose, but they are playing with far more skill and polish then they should be able to based on their roster. Sometimes the teams turn out to be much better than expected over the course of the whole season. More often, though, the team comes crashing back to earth sooner or later. So, why is this relevant to bettors? Well, the public loves underdog stories, and they love winnin ...

How to Expect Unexpected NHL Playoff Runs

The Stanley Cup playoffs are the most brutal postseason tournament in sports. It is incredibly difficult to come out on top. The highest ranked teams heading into the playoffs win their share of Cups. Every few years, though, there is a low seeded team that shocks the league and makes a deep run into the finals and maybe all the way. Florida, Calgary, Edmonton, Carolina - the list goes on and on. If bettors were able to spot the teams that were going to be the surprises before it happens then they would be well positioned to make some very nice ...

Finding Value in Stanley Cup Futures

If you are drawn to betting championship futures in major sports then you should really be looking at the NHL. Stanley Cup futures are as attractive as any other - and more attractive than most - when you are looking for profitable ways to invest your money. The reason for that is simple - hockey tends to be more predictable than other sports and less prone to shocking surprises. The heavy favorites donít always hoist the Cup, but it is very rare that the winner is anything less than a talented team that has been on the rise or has been among t ...

How Weather Impacts Indoor NHL Games

Weather is a factor in the NHL playoffs . That seems like a ridiculous statement, but itís true. Bettors who are aware of the potential for weather issues in a game, and who can adjust accordingly, can give themselves a much needed edge as the playoffs progress and the remaining teams get better and better. ...

What to do When Good NHL Teams Struggle Early

By the time the NHL season is about a quarter of the way over we tend to have a pretty good sense of how good teams are and about what we can expect from them. Inevitably, though, there are some teams that are still hard to figure out. The toughest are the teams that are expected to be good - serious contenders once the playoffs start - that just arenít playing any good this far into the season. Sometimes a good team that is struggling at this point will eventually turn things around and will play much better down the stretch. Other times, thou ...

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