Best Betting Trends for 2021 NHL Season

Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise (11) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
  • The shortened and newly formatted 2021 NHL season gets underway on January 13th, 2021
  • The Capitals were the best “Over Team” to bet on in 2019-20, but will they provide the same value this season?
  • See the best moneyline and over/under trends to follow for the upcoming 2021 NHL season

The 2021 NHL season is finally here. Although COVID-19 tried to take the wind out of the NHL’s sails, Gary Bettman and company found a way to create a 56-game, newly formatted season for players and fans.

With the division realignment and new playoff format, the top four teams from the North, East, West, and Central divisions will qualify for the postseason. Furthermore, teams will only play inter-division games, so each team within their division will play each other eight times. The only exception to that rule is the North division, or all-Canadian division, where each team will play each other nine or ten times.

So the question is, how in the world will there be trackable trends to follow when Connor McDavid is given the opportunity to play the same team nine times in one season?!? Well, if there’s one thing to know about sports betting is that there is always money to be made, no matter how different the schedule and format of the league is.

Let’s take a look at which teams hold the most value and which trends you should follow heading into the 2021 NHL season.

2019-20 NHL Trends & Return On Investment

Trend 2019-20 NHL Team (Record) ROI (%) 2020-21 NHL Team
Best Team to Bet On Philadelphia Flyers (ML Record – 51-34) +12.89% Minnesota Wild
Best Team to Fade Detroit Red Wings (ML Record – 17-54) +14.11% Chicago Blackhawks
Best “Over” Team Washington Capitals (O/U Record – 45-29-3) +16.89% New York Rangers
Best “Under” Team Columbus Blue Jackets (O/U Record – 30-47-3) +16.15% Nashville Predators

Value Team to Bet On

The Philadelphia Flyers weren’t exactly underdogs coming into last season, but they certainly weren’t contenders. Before the 2019-20 NHL season started, the Flyers were listed at +3000 odds to win the Stanley Cup. They ended up surprising oddsmakers, finishing with a 51-34 (including playoffs) moneyline record with a 12.89% ROI (Return On Investment).

This means that if you bet $100 on every Flyers game last season, you would be $1,289 richer. So, in what team can this value be found in 2021?

The Wild boast one of the most elite young defensive cores in the NHL, with the likes of Matt Dumba, Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, and Jonas Brodin. Minnesota allowed 3.14 GAA last season, but when Dean Evason took over Bruce Boudreau in mid-February, that number dropped to 2.93 GAA for the rest of the season.

One of the deepest rosters in the NHL goes to the Wild. They added Kevin Fiala and top Russian prospect Kirill Kaprizov to their roster heading into this season. Not to mention, they added veterans like Marcus Johansson and Nick Bonino, who are both recent Stanley Cup winners.

Cam Talbot and Kaapo Kähkönen are the starting goalies with Alex Stalock out for the foreseeable future. The names might not jump off the page, but Talbot has proven to be a reliable starter, and Kähkönen is 3-1-1 with a 2.96 GAA and .913 SV% in five starts with the Wild.

GM Bill Guerin and HC Dean Evason have already started changing this team’s attitude and morale. Minnesota is listed at +5000 to win the Stanley Cup. In a top-heavy West Division, the Wild have the ability to be undervalued all season. Moreover, they get to play Arizona, San Jose, Los Angeles, and Anaheim eight times each. Sounds like a recipe for success to me.

Value Team to Bet On: Minnesota Wild

Best Team to Fade

The Detroit Red Wings won this prize last season.

An abysmal season turned in a 17-54 moneyline record. If you were to bet $100 against the Red Wings in every game last season, you would return a profit of $1,411. Now, fading the worst team in the NHL tends to pay out large dividends. However, figuring out which team that is every year is not always the easiest task.

Here are a couple of trends to look at when finding a team to fade in the NHL:

  • Young & Inexperienced – The Red Wings have a lot of young players that haven’t fully developed yet but play big roles on the team
  • New Head Coach – The Red Wings don’t fit this trend with Jeff Blashill, but head coaches in year one with a new team tend to struggle
  • Bad Goaltending & Defense- The Red Wings allowed the most goals per game at 3.73 and allowed the fifth-most shots at 32.8

The team I think will follow in Detroit’s footsteps is the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks will be without Jonathan Toews (illness) and Kirby Dach (wrist) for what seems to be the entire season. Corey Crawford thought this team was so bad he decided to retire, leaving the netminding duties to Malcolm Subban and Collin Delia. Unless either of those two turn into Jordan Binnington circa 2018-19, this will be a long season for Chicago.

They allowed 35.1 shots per game last season, which led the league. Unless Patrick Kane can score 70 goals this season, they won’t be able to withstand the offensive barrage that teams will be laying on them.

With a solid offensive unit, oddsmakers won’t give up on this team right away. Chicago opens their season against Tampa Bay, where the Avalanche are 1.5-point favorites at +106.

Best Team to Fade: Chicago Blackhawks

Best Over Team

The Washington Capitals fit this mark last year due to the offensive firepower and inconsistent goaltending from Brayden Holtby. Washington’s games went over the total 45 times in 77 games in the 2019-20 NHL season, hitting at a 58 percent clip.

With John Carlson leading the backend and Alexander Ovechkin scoring from literally anywhere, this team could very well be the over team again this season.

However, I believe one team has a slightly better edge.

The New York Rangers hit all the marks to be a great over team this season. They have offensive-defensemen who like to rush with the puck and try to score in Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba, and Anthony DeAngelo.

They do have young promising goaltenders, but they have not had a chance to prove themselves. Neither Igor Shesterkin nor Alexander Georgiev will be able to ease into the season in a division with the Flyers, Penguins, Capitals, Bruins, and Sabres.

With the media overvaluing their young goaltenders, I can see their totals early on being set between 5.5-6.0. This would pose great value for over bettors with their young offensive unit led by Hart Trophy contender Artemi Panarin.

Best Over Team: New York Rangers

Best Under Team

Elvis Merzlikins and the Blue Jackets took the NHL by storm last season. Merzlikins and Korpisalo held teams to 2.61 goals per game last season hitting the under in 47 games. Unexpectedly good goaltending is where the hidden unders are found.

Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros were once dubbed as one of the best goaltending tandems in the NHL. Their stock dropped last year, but I believe they are poised for bounce-back seasons.

At the ripe age of 38, Rinne may have just enough left in the tank for one more solid season. Not to mention, the shortened 56-game season will definitely work in his favor. The Preds have an extremely talented defensive unit led by Roman Josi that will also be able to assist the veteran goaltender.

The Predators lack an offensive attack, to say the least. Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene scored a combined 27 goals last season, while Filip Forsberg led the team with 21. There’s a problem if your leading point-getter is a defenseman with 65 points.

Since they were a good over team last year, I expect the oddsmakers to pump these totals up early on in the season, leaving great value for under bettors.

Best Under Team: Nashville Predators

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