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5 NHL Betting Trends You Need to Know

Updated June 3rd, 2021
Published March 25, 2021

Online sports betting is becoming increasingly popular among NHL fans looking for a way to get closer to the game. NHL hockey has thrilling matchups with high-paced action, and wagering on these intense rivalries takes everything to another level.

Looking at betting trends is one of the best ways to find an edge that could help you beat the sportsbooks. There’s a ton of trends relating to specific team matchups, like the Montreal Canadiens vs. the Philadelphia Flyers, for example, but we’re going to focus on five situational trends in our guide.

These wagering trends won’t give you much insight on specific teams. Instead, they give you a high-level view of some patterns we’ve noticed over a wide spectrum of games. These are great pieces of information that will bring you closer to the action and might even help you decide on a bet or two.

Remember, these trends aren’t flawless, but they’re interesting, if nothing else. A couple of these trends might even inform you on when to avoid making a particular wager.

In any event, lace up your skates and hit the ice with our five NHL betting trends you need to know.

1) Home Ice Isn’t an Advantage, With or Without a Crowd

‘Home ice advantage’ is a term that’s thrown around in hockey all the time. Tons of fans think their team should automatically have the upper hand in their own barn.

They might be surprised to learn this isn’t really the case, with or without a live crowd. Take a look at these stats for teams playing on the road during the 2019-20 and current regular season:

NHL Season Away Team Record Away Team Winning Percentage
2019-20 505-468-115 46.7%
2020-21* 233-203-51 47.9%

*As of March 23, 2021

The interruption of the 2019-20 season and the subsequent lack of a crowd in 2021 might convince you the away teams would have a better advantage. A home team is not nearly as intimidating without a roaring crowd behind them, but as you can see, that hasn’t translated into drastically different results.

Contrast that with the home team stats for these two seasons:

NHL Season Home Team Record Home Team Winning Percentage
2019-20 577-367-138 53.3%
2020-21* 254-168-65 52.1%

*As of March 23, 2021

Comparing the two tables shows that home ice hasn’t been that much of an advantage. Home teams were only winning 53.1% of the time with crowds present, and that’s dropped by exactly 1% since the pandemic began.

The big takeaway here is that home ice doesn’t mean as much as most fans think it does. We’ll need to look at some other trends to find our edge over the sportsbooks.

2) Fade the Underdogs, Unless It’s Against the Spread

Underdogs haven’t been a great bet so far through the 2021 season unless we’re talking about the puck line.

Dogs have gone 306-181 against the spread, a figure that adds up to a 62.8% winning percentage. Contrast that with 36.7% on the moneyline, and it becomes clear your wagers on NHL underdogs should come against the spread.

As a general rule of thumb, don’t make a straight-up moneyline bet on an NHL underdog. Unless you’re extremely confident of an underdog team’s chances, then it’s a safe idea to avoid this bet in general.

The puck line always adds +1.5 goals to the underdog’s total, which is a pretty huge deal in hockey. As you can see, it has translated into direct results for NHL underdogs against the spread in 2021.

3) Betting on NHL Totals Is 50/50 in 2021

Wagering on the over/under can be a difficult bet to handicap, especially when it comes to the NHL.

Betting on totals is a nearly 50/50 shot in 2021. Online sports betting sites have a pretty good read on any given team’s scoring capabilities, and their over/under lines consistently draw even action on either side.

Here’s a couple of quick facts about the over/under during the 2021 NHL season:

  • The under has won 49.1% of the time in 2021
  • The over has won 50.9% of the time in 2021

There’s a ton of skill in today’s NHL and teams can light the lamp with relative ease. Led by the likes of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Colorado Avalanche, and Edmonton Oilers, nearly half of all NHL teams are averaging 3+ goals a game thus far in 2021.

Sportsbooks usually set the over/under at somewhere between 5 and 7 goals. Still, the over/under is a tough bet to make either way so far this season.

4) Underdogs at Home ATS Are Your Best Bet

After all the talk about 50/50 trends, let’s get into some more definitive patterns. As of March 23, 2021, NHL betting trends suggest that taking an underdog at home on the puck line is your best chance at success.

Underdogs have a winning percentage of 66% against the spread when playing at home. This is the highest figure in any of the trends we’ll discuss in this guide, and it ties our first two trends together quite nicely.

Betting the moneyline on the home team has been roughly 50/50, underdogs are 36.7% on straight-up wins, but picking the dog against the spread at home is a smart wager in 2021.

5) Moneyline Underdogs on the Road Are the Worst

We discussed what wagers seem to be the best based on available betting trends, so why not explore the flip side and investigate the opposite?

NHL underdogs on the road have a 35.6% winning percentage on the moneyline up to this point in 2021. This is the lowest winning percentage covered in this guide, so it could be a helpful trend for deciding when not to make a bet if you’re on the fence about a moneyline underdog.

After our first two trends, bettors may not be surprised to find that NHL moneyline underdogs on the road are trending poorly in 2021. Nevertheless, this is a figure you should keep in mind when handicapping future NHL bets.

More Trends and Betting Knowledge

While these NHL betting trends might not be sure-fire patterns bettors can rely on for guaranteed success, we have a ton of other guides that can help you bet with confidence.

Sports Betting Dime has key resources for the NHL or any of your other favorite sports, whether it’s trends, betting knowledge, or wagering advice. Check out our ‘How to Bet on Sports’ section to learn more.

Realistically, there’s only one NHL trend that holds true 100% of the time – you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!

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