Hockey Betting Strategy: Five Ways To Win Betting The NHL
With the 2022-23 National Hockey League campaign just around the corner, there couldn’t be a better time to provide sharp insight and actionable information that you can use to ensure betting success through this upcoming season.
My premium selections at Doc’s Sports managed to produce a company-best +$9,005 in total profit for a +10.85% ROI, with a season-high of +$13,345. My team and I are considered by sportsbooks managers worldwide as one of the most knowledgeable and sharpest betting groups around when it comes to betting on the NHL, and last season's record proves exactly why.
Here is a list of five proven methods that you can use to win betting on the NHL this season. Let’s get to it.
Doc’s Sports offers NHL picks for every game on our hockey predictions page.
1) Put the top down and go shopping!
I decided to put this method first as it requires zero handicapping ability and is proven to work season after season. Top-down betting is a tool used by many professional sports bettors. Essentially, utilizing a top-down approach means betting into stale and advantageous lines that aren’t in line with the consensus sharp price. You will need to do some research into which sportsbooks are market setting for any given sport. However, once you’ve located them, you will want to use these locations as your sharp line and source of truth.
Let’s say we have a matchup between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning. You will need to look at the pricing at both market-leading sportsbooks and combine them into an average.
Market Setting NHL Sportsbook A:
New York Rangers +155
Tampa Bay Lightning -170
Market Setting NHL Sportsbook B::
New York Rangers +163
Tampa Bay Lightning -178
To create our average price, we will combine each team's odds at each sportsbook and divide the sum by 2.
New York Rangers (155 + 163) / 2 = 159
Tampa Bay Lightning (170 + 178) / 2 = 174
This means the consensus sharp odds should be as follows:
New York Rangers +159
Tampa Bay Lightning -174
The next step in this approach is to remove vig so we have a true and accurate line with no bookmaker hold incorporated into the line. There are a variety of methods to do this, but it’s much easier to simply do a Google search for a vig free calculator. Once we remove the vig, we should arrive at the true market line.
True Market Line:
New York Rangers +164
Tampa Bay Lightning -164
All we have to do now is to search for off-market prices that are better than our True Market Line. For example, let’s say we find a square sportsbook that has inflated their line on the Lightning and is offering the following price:
New York Rangers +170
Tampa Bay Lightning -190
We can now confidently place a wager on the Rangers at +170 knowing for certain that we have a +EV long-term winning play in our pocket. There are many reasons this method works, but in a nutshell it’s down to market efficiency at the sharpest sportsbooks. Market setting sportsbooks take the sharpest action and accept the highest limits on the NHL. Therefore, their lines have been molded by the sharpest betting groups in the world and will be the most efficient representation of the true probability of a game.
We can use that information to our advantage to pick off stale numbers in the market, which essentially allows us to play bookmaker, while the square books become our customer. This has been, and always will be, a guaranteed method to win betting on the NHL. It’s simple math, and numbers never lie.
2) Bankroll Management
I know, I know. This has been covered a thousand times and is a tiresome topic, so I won’t spend too much time here. However, I wouldn’t feel right offering betting advice without preaching bankroll management.
Simply put, if you want to be successful this season, especially in a sport as volatile as the NHL, then you absolutely must manage your bankroll correctly. It’s vital. No amount of sound strategy and +EV wagers can outperform poor money management skills.
Here’s how I would approach it. If you are able to accurately quantify your edge, then you can use a multiple variation of the Kelly Criterion. However, if you know you have an edge of some kind but cannot quantify it, then we recommend flat staking with no more than 2% of your bankroll on any one wager. If you have $10,000 for the season, then bet $200 per game.
It’s also important to decide when you will re-adjust your percentage. I personally adjust my percentage each time I have either a 10% increase or decrease in my overall bankroll. For example, let’s say I started with $10,000 for the season; my wager size would be $200. Now if I start off hot and have success and my bankroll is now up to $11,000 (10% increase), I will now be betting $220 per game (which is still 2% of my bankroll). I will then treat this $11,000 bankroll as my new starting point and continue from there.
Now that’s over with, let’s move on to something more fun.
3) Pay Attention To Situational Spots
Situational spots such as rest, or specific motivation, can be a gold mine if you are able to accurately identify the value each scenario provides. The reason for this is simple;
Anything that is inherently difficult to put a price on (whether via math or a predictive model) will always provide valuable opportunities. It comes down to research and opinion. If you have better research, or a more accurate opinion than the next guy, then you can position yourself to take advantage of these scenarios.
As an example, we can go back and see how rest affects teams. Here’s some gold to get you started:
Teams that have had either one or two days extra rest than their opponent are 2486-1849 (57.3%) for a +1.1% ROI. This improves to a +2% ROI when looking specifically at teams on the road.
Pretty solid, right? I suppose I did say “gold,” though. OK here it is:
If we use the same situation but focus specifically on losing teams (sub .500 win percentage) this improves to a +7.5% ROI making a $100 bettor almost $4,000 in total profit.
This shows the power of researching and understanding situational scenarios.
4) Goalie out? Wager in!
This is as simple as it sounds. Monitor injury news, watch morning skates and lineup information. If the leading goaltender is ruled out, bet the other team before the market adjusts. It really is that simple. No handicapping required.
98% of the time this will leave you holding more +EV wagers, which long-term will produce profit and build that bankroll. This method also applies to other key players being ruled out, but nothing is as influential to the outcome of a game than who is in net.
5) Use the above tips for bankroll building, but use a pro to do the heavy lifting.
Shameless plug? Guilty! But in all seriousness, it’s true. The above tips should be used and will undoubtedly help produce profit and build your bankroll, but nothing will replace the heavy lifting we do as handicappers. It’s a full-time gig, and my team and I spend an ungodly amount of hours to ensure we are on the right side far more often than not. If you want to maximize your returns this NHL season, be sure to hop on board with one of my premium packages.
As mentioned in the brief introduction, I managed to produce a company-best +9,005 in total profit last season (based on a $100 bettor) for a +10.85% ROI while averaging just 1.63 plays per day. If you want the sharpest and most selective wagers, you know where to go!
Best of luck this season!
August Young (Professional Sports Bettor and Handicapper)
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