NHL Schedule

 The NHL Schedule: the Toughest of All Sports

The NHL schedule is widely seen as one of the most challenging schedules in all of professional sports.  With 31 teams across the NHL playing 82-game schedules, the opportunity to wager on this sport comes very frequently when the season is in full swing.

As is the case with any sport you have an interest in wagering on, using the NHL schedule to your advantage can lead to greater profits and a nice bankroll to play with.


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Home Ice Advantage in the NHL Schedule

The NHL is no different from other professional sports league in that often times teams will play noticeably different on home ice than they do when they play on the road.  Deciphering which

Ice hockey player on the ice

teams play better at home gives you an immediate handicapping advantage, and often times can help unearth value on the board.

As mentioned previously, the NHL’s regular season is similar to running a marathon.  A total of 2,542 games will be played this season, meaning that over the course of a season you will find teams in the middle of long road trips, long home stands and everything in between.

The NHL schedule is very similar to the schedule of the NBA, with one glaring difference.  Unlike the NBA, the NHL has bye weeks for their teams to take a mandated week off.  This is similar in practice to what the NFL does, however most teams have their bye weeks in January and they take place either right before or after the NHL All-Star Break.  Teams that come off a bye week have shown to start out somewhat sluggish, and this is just one of many examples of how you can use the NHL schedule to your benefit.

Other means that home ice advantage can give you a betting edge are identifying the teams with a unique playing environment that gives away teams fits.  Some of these teams include the Colorado Avalanche, who play in front of raucous crowds in high-altitude, or the Vegas Golden Knights who play in one of the most distracting cities in the league for a road team.  The San Jose Sharks are known for their intense crowds and playing in Winnipeg or Montreal is never easy.

Home ice advantage doesn’t just take into account teams that play well from start to finish.  Home ice advantage can also be found in shorter bets (i.e. period betting), as often times data and analytics will show that certain teams start out hot at home before fizzling out late or vice-versa.

Other elements of home ice advantage to factor in includes travel by the opposing team and start times. When teams travel east to west or vice-versa, on occasion this will result in odd start times that can impact performance and subsequently impact your wagers.

It should be mentioned that while home ice advantage definitely exists for certain teams, the sport of hockey is probably the least dependent sport on any type of home advantage.

Using NHL Schedule Quirks to Your Advantage

The NHL follows the NBA with having back-to-back games littered throughout the schedule to account for needing to squeeze in 82 games a season amongst 31 different teams.  And just like the NBA, when teams have to play games in consecutive nights in the NHL, there is a noticeable difference in performance.

However, the NHL greatly differs from the NBA in the physical demands of the sport and there is no such thing as “load management” in the NHL.  As a result, recent studies on the impacts of playing consecutive games show that win probability amongst teams playing a second straight game drops by 5%.  This isn’t extremely large, but that same win probability drops even future if the same goaltender is in net for both games.

We believe accounting for back-to-backs in your handicapping is a good idea, but also be sure to monitor any scheduling advantages/disadvantages in the matchup and double check who the team intends to start at goalie before locking in your wager.

NHL Playoff Schedule/Stanley Cup Playoffs Schedule

The NHL playoffs are widely considered one of the best postseasons in all of sports, and the scheduling of the games is a big reason why.  Every playoff series in the NHL playoffs is a best-of-seven series in a 2-2-1-1-1 format.  Unlike the NBA that staggers out their playoff games to best fit national TV demands, the NHL doesn’t play like that.  The NHL plays games every other day come playoff time, leaving bettors with little down time in between games.

Wagering on the NHL playoffs is sometimes a little simpler than betting on the regular season, because you have a full body of work to research and can account for teams with a hot goaltender (this factor maybe more than any other), teams that came into the playoffs struggling, past performances against their opponent and so forth.

As always, the experts here at OddsUSA will help you all along the way.  Good luck and happy wagering!