Handicapping the Final Few Games of the NHL Regular Season
Betting on the NHL at the last week of the regular season can sometimes be an ill-advised adventure and it is one littered with hidden landmines. Trainers give AHL goalies you’ve never heard of shock begins and superstars get scratched minutes prior to puck drop. Nearly every group has differing motivation down the stretch and sportsbook lines are not to be trusted.
So, how should we go about betting the last few games of the NHL’s regular slate? Very carefully. Wait late as possible to place a bet, unless there’s a line you know will proceed in the wrong direction should you wait, and track injury reports and Twitter closely.
One of the things that are most essential to remember is whether a group has clinched. Should they have, plus they have nothing left to play for, they are more likely to bench stars and provide their No. 1 netminder a rest. This year’s Minnesota Wild team is one of the greatest examples of this. They have experienced a playoff spot locked up for quite some time and also with Devan Dubnyk struggling after a heavy workload this year, Minny brass decided to phone up Alex Stalock to present their starting goalie a recuperation time.
With that advice, you are probably thinking I am telling you to fade the team that’s clinched but it’s not that easy. These can be snare games as goal-stoppers being called up from the AHL are usually auditioning for future jobs in the big series and while they generally crap their pants under the pressure, every once in a whilethey perform lights out like Stalock (.944 save percentage) has because his call-up. This makes moneyline gaming extremely hard and I tend to avoid it entirely from the dwindling daylight of the normal season.
What I do recommend, however, would be to bet the OVER — freely.
Last year, the OVER went 27-18-3 in games where at least one group had fewer or three games remaining on its schedule. Not too bad. What I attribute mostly to the trend for late-season games to go above their total is teams napping top-four blue-liners and we have seen more than enough incidences of that this year.
Take the Montreal Canadiens, for example. The Habs recently clinched the Atlantic Division and really have nothing left to play . They now have scrappy D-men Shea Weber and Jordie Benn both listed as questionable with assorted bumps and bruises and if they are really scraped on a particular night, whichever team they are playing that evening will have a far freer route to the Habs net, resulting in more scoring opportunities and can you imagine what else? Paradoxically.
To recap, check to be sure how intact a team’s blue line is and wait till at least a half-hour before puck fall to turn your bet as soon as you’ve chosen a spot. If some key men are missing along with also a backup goalie — or two — is enjoying, pound the OVER.
Keep these things at the front of mind when browsing your sportsbooks along with your Twitter timeline and you should be able to stay whole and enhance your bankroll heading into the postseason.