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  • Monday, 27 January 2020
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NHL Nathan Walker

Your punting guide to the NHL: An untapped gold mine

Tagged: Ice Hockey, NHL

Want value on the punt? Look to Ice Hockey.

Wondered why you’re hearing terms like ‘triple-double’, ‘tight end’ and ‘grinder’ a lot more these days?

The popularity of American sports is surging in Australia, as a new generation of fans tune into the global sports conversation. It’s a welcomed relief for Aussie punters who have traditionally sat on their hands at this time of year while they count down the days until footy starts again.

One of the least popular winter sports in America is Ice Hockey. With little grass roots representation in Australia, it has traditionally struggled to gain interest from Aussie punters. That trend has changed recently however on the back of Nathan Walker, the first ever Australian born National Hockey League (NHL) player.

But there’s another reason why Aussie sports punters should take notice of the game that Canadians believe is played in heaven.

With bookies focussing on the more popular NFL and NBA leagues, there are more and more value opportunities available amongst the plethora of NHL betting markets.

The NHL regular season runs from October through to April, with 31 teams split into two conferences over four divisions, each playing a staggering 82 games. The three highest-placed teams from each division, plus four wild card teams, qualify for the playoffs to decide the Stanley Cup champion. This high frequency of matches poses a tough challenge for Bookies whilst they cover the other major US winter sports.

To help you find the value in the Bookies' NHL markets, we've identified the key factors that you need consider.

Team Schedules

The NHL schedule is grueling, with an average of four games played every day. Teams who are flying high can often come unstuck when faced with a tough concentrated schedule which can involve as much as three games and two plane trips within five days. Bookies often fail to price the physical impact of tight schedules into their markets, leaving value on offer for the less fancied sides in a fixture.

Home/Away records

Be sure to consider a team’s home and away record as some teams don’t travel well. For example, the New York Islanders are undefeated at home this season winning all seven games on their own rink, however they lost all seven games on the road. These statistics are often overlooked by bookies.

Injuries & Team News

Ice hockey is an extremely physical sport and players cover large distances on the ice which eventually takes a toll on each team’s playing roster. With as much as 16 players in a squad, it’s common for key players to be withdrawn on the morning of a game, this can change the complexion of a match. Bookies are slow to react to team changes in the NHL allowing you to capitalise by keeping your ear to the ground and being quick pounce.

Suggested Bet

Toronto Maple Leaves (away) to beat the Edmonton Oilers (home) within normal time paying $2.50 with Ladbrokes.

Considering the key factors above, our analysts identified the Maple Leaves as a value opportunity (where the price on offer is higher than the assessed chances of it occurring) against the Oilers.

Reasoning:

  • Toronto boast an away record of 8-4-1 which compares favourably to the Oilers’ poor home record of 5-7-0.
  • Toronto have a +28 for/against goal differential over the Oilers.
  • Starting Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot is highly in doubt to play in the match and his backup, Nick Ellis, has been conceding 2.84 goals on average for the Oilers reserve team.
  • Both teams have played only one game over the past four days which will allow sufficient time for Toronto to prepare for the away trip.  

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