Week 1 of the NHL regular season is underway, and a fresh slate of weekend games await. From a betting point of view, home teams will have an advantage early in the season. Arenas will be packed, and fans will be rowdy, giving the home side a big boost. On opening night Wednesday, we saw three-of-four home teams come out with the win. This is a trend that I expect to continue heading into the NHL’s first weekend of 2019-20.
NHL Betting Tips
NHL is the least popular of all major sports to bet on. An extremely low percentage of all wagers placed on Vegas sportsbooks are on the NHL. This does not mean the sport is not profitable, but that perhaps, the public lacks knowledge. To become a sharp NHL sports bettor, you must get the upper hand on the bookie. Here are some tips to help you succeed during the 2019-20 NHL betting season:
- Know the starting goalies: Never lock in a bet until you know who is starting in net, as this can greatly affect the outcome and the over/under.
- Identify scheduling spots: Teams may be on a long road trip and be fatigued, for example.
- Ride current form: Team chemistry is huge in hockey, pay attention to recent performances.
- Stay on top of injury news: One or two major injuries can leave a team with a big disadvantage.
Types of NHL bets
- Moneyline: The moneyline is a bet that involves wagering on a team to simply win a game straight up, as opposed to covering a point spread or puckline.
- Puckline: The puckline is hockey’s version of the spread and is similar to baseball’s runline, with oddsmakers favoring one team by 1.5 goals with the other heading into the game as a 1.5-goal underdog.
- Over/Under: Hockey also has a total line you can bet on for total goals scored with most “over/under” odds set at either 5 or 5.5
Bests Bets of the Weekend
Winnipeg Jets at New Jersey Devils (Friday, 7 PM)
This is a good spot for New Jersey, as it is their home opener, and Winnipeg will be playing their second game in as many days. It will be the debut of the first overall draft pick Jack Hughes in front of the home crowd, and the arena will surely be rocking. Taylor Hall is back after an injury-plagued season, and the Devils added some big pieces in the offseason. P.K. Subban will help anchor the back-end, and Wayne Simmonds will add some scoring and grit to the offense.
The Pick: New Jersey Devils, Moneyline (-136)
Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers (Saturday 7, PM)
The Lightning are beginning their season without budding young star Brayden Point. They are still one of the deepest teams in the league, and many experts have picked them to win it all this year. The Panthers, however, are no slouch either. Led by Aleksander Barkov and Johnathan Hubeaudeau, this Florida team can pile on the goals. I like the Panthers to give the Lightning a good game and to cover the puckline in their home opener Saturday night.
The Pick: Florida Panthers, Puckline (+120)
Vancouver Canucks @ Calgary Flames (Saturday 10, PM)
It is always a heated battle when these two Western Canadian teams face-off. This will be the Flames’ home opener, and the Saddledome arena is sure to be loud. I expect a superior Flames team to feed off of the home crowd and to take care of business Saturday night. The Flames had 15 more wins the Canucks last season, and this Vancouver team did not improve much during the off-season.
The Pick: Calgary Flames, Moneyline (-200)