NHL Stanley Cup Odds: Betting Tips to Consider on the Playoffs

NHL Stanley Cup Odds: Betting Tips to Consider on the Playoffs

There’s just two more days left in the 2022-23 National Hockey League (NHL) regular season. If commissioner Gary Bettman had any sense whatsoever, the playoffs would start on the weekend with a full slate of games on Saturday and Sunday, but instead, we’re left with no games this weekend. The playoffs begin on Monday.

As unfortunate as that is, it gives us the weekend to analyze first-round betting match-ups and make our predictions. There’s still plenty to be decided in the final two days of the regular season, but there are some first-round series already set, including the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning and Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings.

Without knowing all of the series, here’s a look at some general tips to increase your likelihood of success when betting on the NHL playoffs.


Keys to Profitable Betting on the NHL Playoffs


Bet Heavy on the Home Team

This is a rule that can be applied to regular season betting but is even more important in the playoffs. The home team will typically be heavily favored, but it’s worth risking an extra unit to make up for those odds as the home crowd can make a huge difference in the playoffs. Fans are louder and more engaged, and the players on the home team feed off of that energy.

Take a look back to the 2021-22 Stanley Cup Playoffs, for example. The home teams had a combined record of 50-25 with only the Florida Panthers (2-3) and Kings (1-2) having a losing record on home ice. Tampa Bay and the Colorado Avalanche, which met in the Stanley Cup Final, had a combined home ice record of 15-6.

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Favor the Under

You’ve probably heard the expression, “Defense wins championships.” While winning a title is a little more complex than just playing good defense, there’s no doubt that the teams with the best defenses typically advance farther in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Teams play much tighter systems in the playoffs, and goals are usually harder to come by, even for teams with high-powered offenses.

The Edmonton Oilers, Avalanche, and Pittsburgh Penguins were the only teams to average more than four goals per game in the 2021-22 playoffs. Nine teams, including the Lightning, averaged fewer than three goals per game. There was an average of 6.3 goals per game last year and the total is often 6.5.

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Check Injuries and Other News

The aforementioned tips are mere guidelines. Before placing any bets, be sure to check for any news regarding lineups and injuries. The playoffs are far more intense than the regular season and players are more likely to suffer injuries. Depending on the severity, NHL players often choose to play through injuries, but it’s worth knowing if a player is dealing with any bumps and bruises that might affect their play.

This is particularly important in regard to goaltenders. There’s usually at least a day or two between playoff games, so backup goalies rarely start, but teams might look to their backup if their starting goaltender is nursing an injury or struggling.

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