The NHL Stanley Cup tournament is one of the greatest competitions in all of sports—and we’re not just talking about its larger-than-life trophy. The National Hockey League’s playoff championship ushers in 16 of the NHL’s best teams to compete in an avalanche of face-offs, checks, and shootouts — and it’s a perfect opportunity to get in on the action.
While you won’t be lacing up your skates to ravage the rink, the Stanley Cup betting season is upon us. That means it’s time to make your ultimate NHL betting power-play.
With that being said, huddle up as we review 6 Stanley Cup betting strategies around how to bet on hockey to help you win right alongside this year’s Stanley Cup champions.
#1 Bet the Futures
In many ways, NHL playoff betting is tougher to predict than any other sport. Despite the seven-game format of each playoff round, upsets still happen regularly due to hockey’s low-scoring games.
This makes betting on individual games a tricky proposition. However, there is one place where you may find value: NHL futures.
Predicting which team will win one round is difficult. As such, predicting which team will win it all is even more of a challenge—both for you and the lines makers.
The good news is that this means that if you place the right bet, you’ll get high payouts.
To that end, here are a few tips to help you maximize your winning on NHL futures:
- Look for sleepers – The best betting odds will be found by looking at the underdogs. Check out the teams’ recent forms. If you can find a team that started slow but recently improved, you may be looking at a huge payout as they continue their winning streak.
- Diversify – Think of your bets like a stock portfolio: You don’t want all of your money on one asset. Because payouts can be high on NHL future bets, sprinkling a little on multiple teams can be a smart strategy to maximize your chances of a win.
- Be conservative – Predictions are hard. Even Nostradamus’ predictions tended to be vague and open to interpretation. But you can’t be vague when choosing a Stanley Cup winner. That means it’s highly likely you’ll be wrong. Stanley Cup futures can lead to high payouts, but never bet more than you can lose…because the chances of losing are high.
#2 Look at the Lines
In hockey, teams are set up in different lines or combinations of players. Look at how each teams’ lines will match up against each other. Sometimes the underdog will have line advantages that can push them over the top.
For instance, let's say the Tampa Bay Lightning are playing against the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final, and Tampa Bay is the favorite. While the Lightning might be favored to win, the Boston Bruins have an advantage of a stronger second line than the Lightning.
This type of deep research can provide you with a competitive advantage when making your bets.
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#3 Take Goalies Into Account
Nothing can predict NHL playoff success quite like a hot goalie. Don’t believe it? Listen to these stats:
- In the 20 years between 1993 and 2013, only one team with a primary goaltender who had a playoff save percentage under .910 (91%) and a goals against average above 2.20 won the Stanley Cup.
- Between 2001 and 2013, five goalies were named Stanley Cup playoff MVP. That’s more than any other position.
We shouldn’t be surprised—if you have a goalie who’s standing on his head to protect the net, you’re going to win a lot of games (the other team can’t beat you if they can’t score).
To that end, see which goalies stand out in the early rounds, then ride them as long as you can.
#4 Consider Injuries
Hockey is a game where rhythm matters and even small changes in lineups can throw off an entire team’s flow—including injuries.
Injuries are a big deal in any sport, but in hockey they can lead to line shuffling that may prove detrimental during the playoff tournament. As such, track injuries across the board and fade teams who are taking their players off the ice.
#5 Double-Check Trade Deadline Moves
Since hockey matchups are often close, analyzing any recent changes to the team, such as a new player, can help bolster your betting strategy. A new player can help a team's chances in a few ways:
- A new player may inject energy into the squad
- A new player can cause shuffling of lines that may bolster a line that’s been struggling
- A trade shows the commitment of the front office and the team to winning
For instance, let's say the Chicago Blackhawks are playing the Pittsburgh Penguins in an Eastern Conference matchup. Their past couple games, the Blackhawks have always had an edge over the Penguins. But, the Penguins just acquired a powerful new right wing, and it's the first time he's played against Chicago. This will shake things up a bit.
A trade isn’t a magical cure for an under-performing team. However, if you’re betting on an even matchup, you may want to lean toward the team that has a new arrival.
#6 Get Expert Advice and More at Tipico
Paying close attention to futures, lines, goalies, injuries, and trades can give you quite a bit of advantage during NHL playoffs betting. However, if you want to sharpen your insights, Tipico has the resources you need.
In addition to our sportsbook, The Inside Edge, we provide the ideal platform to place your bets on all things NHL. You can also download our Tipico Sportsbook app to get the betting odds on player prop bets, futures, parlays, and more.
Win Stanley Cup-sized earnings with Tipico.