The NHL schedule has officially been released, which means we can begin to look at some puck value. Before we dig into the schedule (which we’ll do more in-depth this week) here are three items to keep in mind when betting this shortened 48-game season.
1. Look hard at underdogs on short rest – The tendency is to want to fade the team that has played a bunch in a short period, say four games in five nights. But keep in mind these lines will be inflated, which is something we learned from the NBA’s lockout-shortened season last year when teams would face the tiresome task of playing three games in three nights.
“No matter what the number was adjusted to the player felt they had to play it anyway,” said Jeff Sherman, oddsmaker at the Las Vegas Hotel.
Unlike the NBA last year, teams will only be playing within their own conference this season so I think we could see some value here on the squads playing on short rest as public perception skews the line.
2. Least change, most value – Look for teams that had the most success last season, combined with the least roster shake-ups this season.
“If you compare it to the NBA last year, the teams who had the least roster change, excelled the most in general,” says bet365 trades manager Aron Black.
Think of the L.A. Lakers this year. They made some monster moves in the summer that made them the overwhelming favorite in the West. Now they’re wondering if they’ll make the playoffs.
The Minnesota Wild and Carolina Hurricanes made splashes in free agency this offseason – and are seeing some strong Stanley Cup futures action as a result – but keep in mind neither team made the playoffs last year.
3. Chew on some chalk – Everybody loves an underdog, but with the Pens, Rangers and Kings all available as high as between 8-1 to 10-1, there is some strong value with the faves. Looking back to last season, the top eight teams in the East after 48 games were still the top eight teams in the East at the end of the season according to TSN. Same holds true for seven of the eight teams in the West last year. Looking back again to the NBA-shortened season, the preseason favorite Miami Heat won the championship against the West preseason No. 2 favorite, Oklahoma City.