Every Tuesday, we look at one aspect of hockey betting that is unique to the sports in hopes of making us smarter and more successful bettors. Like the other major pro sports, hockey betting has a lot of similarities and often provides the same type of wagers. However, there are a few differences that are worth pointing out and worth noting.
Massive Underdogs: Are They Worth the Payout & Potential Reward?
We have reached the point in the season where some teams, notably the Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, Seattle Kraken, and Arizona Coyotes, are big underdogs in every game they play, understandably so. These teams have become the worst teams in the NHL and continue to lose game after game.
The beginning of the season provided some unpredictability and the profitable Underdogs bets as a result. Unfortunately, at this point in the season, some teams are seeing their seasons spiral out of control and the losses keep piling up. Because of the surplus of losses, you will oftentimes see a betting line where the Underdog is +180 with the money line while the favorite is -220 or needs to cover the spread and win by at least two goals.
The question is if these bets are worth taking? After all, hockey is a sport where the Underdog can easily pull off the upset on any given night.
For this situation, especially at this point in the season, we have to weigh the risks against the reward, which of course is a big payout if an Underdog pulls off an upset. With +180 odds, you’d make $280 on a $100 bet IF that team pulls off the upset.
The problem is that at this point in the season, those types of upsets aren’t happening, rather awful teams keep losing. Granted, even the worst teams in the NHL will win occasionally but with most team’s fate’s being determined at this point in the season, and will only become more determined as the trade deadline approaches, it’s clear that these struggling teams will continue to lose.
Going back to an Underdog with +180 odds. If you found three of those teams on a given night, you would need two of those teams to pull off upsets to make a profit. Frankly, that isn’t going to happen, and it might be more likely that all three of those teams lose.
Ultimately the Underdog or the heavy Underdog isn’t worth taking, especially at this point in the season. The four or five worst teams in the NHL are simply best to avoid.
Conversely, some teams will be heavy favorites on a nightly basis. While they aren’t profitable with the money line, they often will provide profitable payouts with a spread (often with +120 or +130 odds) but those bets should also be taken with precaution considering how hard it is to win by two goals.
In the end, the sweet spots for big Favorites and Underdogs are 150. When teams are favorites but have -160 odds on their money line, it would be best to bet on the team with a spread. Similarly, teams that are Underdogs with +160 odds or greater are either best to avoid altogether or bet with the spread, giving you a goal to spare.