Every Tuesday, we look at one aspect of hockey and NHL betting and how to understand it with the hopes of becoming smarter and more profitable 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. This week, we will glance over a few myths and misconceptions that are prominent in deciding who or what to bet on in the NHL.
Home Ice Advantage, Clutch Goal Scorers & Other Hockey Myths That Don’t Exists
The NHL and hockey betting is filled with cliches and common ideas that are simply accepted as fact. After all, some things are referenced by fans, analysts, and announcers without much being thought of regarding the statements. However, there are plenty of ideas in the hockey and betting world alike that have been influential but just aren’t true.
Looking at the home-ice advantage, we see a perfect example. Many bettors will simply give an edge to a team or think a team will ply better simply because they are at home. Playing at home would make you believe that a team gains magical powers or has a distinct advantage but at the end of the day, teams are only slightly better on their home ice compared to playing on the road. which is good but not nearly as significant that it should sway a bettor (or be the deciding factor in a matchup).
The past season every team played 838 games at home and 838 on the road. The results show that home teams were statistically better but not overwhelmingly better simply by being at home.
|2020-21 home record||463 wins in 868 games||53.3 winning percentage|
|2020-21 away record||405 wins in 868 games||46.7 winning percentage|
All the NHL teams were better at home but only slightly, not enough to have strong evidence that teams have an advantage at home. While this sample size looks at the 2020-21 season, which was a unique one for a variety of reasons, the same issue is true about the season beforehand, which for all intents and purposes was a normal season.
|2019-20 home record||682 wins in 1,271 games||53.6 winning percentage|
|2019-20 away record||589 wins in 1,271 games||46.4 winning percentage|
There is an argument that this is taking into account all the teams in the NHL but good teams have a distinct advantage at home since they have a home crowd or play better at home. Once again, that isn’t accurate. Take the Colorado Avalanche last season, who finished with the best record in the NHL, they won 22 of their 28 home games last year but also won 17 of their 28 road games. Likewise, the Tampa Bay Lightning who won the Stanley Cup, went 9-3 at home but also went 7-4 on the road.
The bottom line for home-ice advantage is that good teams will win, regardless of whether they are at home or not and bad teams will lose regardless of where they play as well.
On that same note, the idea of goal scorers being clutch is non-existent. Good goal scorers find the back of the net, regardless of the situation. For bettors, searching for good goal-scorers prop bets, finding a scorer who can find the back of the net at a specific time or against a specific team isn’t as applicable as good scorers will find the back of the net regardless.
Other Myths In NHL Betting
It’s also noteworthy that a lot of people like to bet against reigning Stanley Cup champions. After all, the winning team has a championship hangover. While it’s hard to repeat as champions, in any sport, championship hangover isn’t commonplace in the NHL. Case in point, the Tampa Bay Lightning are reigning back-to-back Stanley Cup champions while dynasties have been a staple in the NHL.
In addition, for any reason whatsoever, if you are evaluating a player, don’t look at the Plus/Minus stat. The stat is overused and doesn’t tell you how good a player is rather it tells you how good the team and surrounding players are.
Ultimately, we as fans like to romanticize the game and all sports for that matter. However, it’s important to look into some concepts in the NHL, especially when considering some theories or myths in hockey betting.