Top 4 Betting Tips for the NHL Playoffs
The NHL playoffs are traditionally some of the most exciting postseason action among any professional sports league in the world. Games are packed tightly together, and emotions run very high in the NHL playoffs.
There are four total rounds in the NHL playoffs, and every series is a best-of-seven, meaning a team must win four games to advance to the next round. These games are full of energy, contact and excitement -- and a lot of times, the emotions run high between the two teams.
The NHL playoffs are great to watch and great to bet on, too. If you're looking to bet on them, there are some NHL Playoffs betting tips to help you tilt those NHL odds and lines in your favour.
We recommend you to check out our guide on how NHL betting works if you’re a beginner.
NHL Playoffs Betting Tip #1 High Scoring Early, Low Scoring Late
The opening round or two are traditionally higher-scoring contests. There are many reasons for this. First, teams come out extremely excited to be in the playoffs, with home arenas going crazy rooting their teams on. This often leads to high emotional plays, such as big hits and big scoring plays.
Due to the NHL's format for playoffs, teams in the first two rounds will play other teams in their division most of the time. This means they are very familiar with their opponents and able to take advantage of some weaknesses.
In the latter rounds of the NHL playoffs, this scoring often cools down a bit. Games are more tightly-contested and it reflects on the scoreboard.
You can try to take advantage of this by betting on overs in the early rounds and unders in the latter rounds. Just keep in mind that the sportsbooks are well aware of this trend, so you may be betting against inflated lines as a result.
NHL Playoffs Betting Tip #2 Underdogs Win Often Early
Unlike some other sports where the big underdogs almost never win a series, that is simply not the case in the NHL. The #8 seed has defeated the #1 seed in a conference on multiple occasions, and similar longer-shot underdogs have been able to come out on top in the past.
As a result, there are many opportunities to cash in on the big underdogs in series win bets. Sportsbooks will list odds in a moneyline fashion for each team to win an individual series. This isn't to suggest you should bet on all the longshot underdogs, but don't shy away from an underdog in a series just because they aren't expected to win.
You can cash in with some longer odds this way at the sportsbooks that offer NHL playoffs betting lines.
NHL Playoffs Betting Tip #3 Track the Path to the Finals
Betting on the Stanley Cup winner is one of the more popular NHL playoff bets to make. It's a great futures wager that can bring back an impressive payout based on the odds sportsbooks post.
If you're interested in making one of these wagers, you should look not just at the odds and the skills of the players on the team, but the path they would have to take to actually win the Stanley Cup.
Because of the structure of the NHL playoffs, you can track the possibilities for each team's potential opponents as they make their way through the rounds. For example, a #1 seed might actually have a tougher path to the finals than a #4 seed, only because of the strength of the teams in their division that also made the playoffs.
This might not be reflected in the odds, either, so it's something you could take advantage of. For example, the team with the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference may actually have an easier path to the finals than the team with the best record.
NHL Playoffs Betting Tip #4 Utilize Hedges to Your Advantage
One strategy that you could take advantage of is placing one or two futures wagers on the Stanley Cup winner and then hedging against that bet by placing individual round bets.
For example, if you bet on the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Stanley Cup, then you can bet on their opponents in later rounds of the NHL playoffs to win the series against them. By doing this, you could hedge against the possibility that Tampa could lose a series before they get to the Stanley Cup Finals. Even though you'd lose your futures bet, you would win your individual round bet.
This isn't an automatic strategy that everyone can take. It really depends on the odds you're able to get both for the futures wager on the Stanley Cup winner and then also on the odds for the individual rounds. Make sure that if you want to take this strategy, you should pay attention to the matchups to see if it would even pay off -- or if you'd just end up reducing your possibilities of turning a profit.