NHL 2021: Betting Tips for a Strange Season
The new NHL season is finally here, with a reworked schedule that divides the teams into four separate mini-leagues. Let’s look at how the changes will affect your betting strategy.
The long-awaited NHL season has finally arrived, after a peculiar finish to the 2020 season due to Covid-19 concerns.
Last season, NHL teams played some 70 games out of the 82-game regular season, from October to mid-March, when the season was called off due to Covid. The teams returned for revamped playoffs in August. Twelve teams from each conference made it to the post-season. The Top 4 teams of each conference received a bye from the first round of Best of 5 games.
Eventually, the Tampa Bay Lightning of the Eastern Conference beat their Western Conference counterparts, the Dallas Stars, by 4-2, to hoist the coveted Stanley Cup trophy.
The NHL 2021 season, which began January 13, will be another extraordinary one. The previous season finished only three months ago—around the same time this season would have started under normal circumstances. Of course, the circumstances now are all but normal.
Changes have been made to the NHL season to accommodate these strange times. Keep an eye on the changes when you’re betting.
New NHL Divisions & Schedule
Obviously, the most drastic changes for the NHL season are the new schedule and the new divisions.
Previously, every team faced every other team in the league at least once, with the emphasis on their own conference and division. This NHL season, every game of the regular season will be played within the divisions. In effect, this means the NHL will consist of four separate mini-leagues for those 56 games, as well as the first two playoff rounds.
There are four divisions with eight teams each, except for the Canadian division, which has seven. The teams will face each other seven times during the season, and nine to 10 times in the North division. Talk about some mini-playoffs here!
The schedule is very condensed, with a lot of back-to-back games and also series of games played with one resting day in between—much like the “normal” playoffs.
Let’s look at the new divisions:
NHL Betting Tip: The matchups within the divisions are all-important this season. Pay attention to the h2h results if underdogs are a good fit against the favorite. This time around, the oddsmakers are making almost as many guesses as the bettors, so there’s likely a bunch of value to be found.
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Reaching the Playoffs
The four best teams of each division will make it to the post-season after 56 games (hopefully) are played in the regular season. The playoffs will be played first within the division. Then the winners of each divisional playoff round will form the semi-final pairings.
The setup is likely to make every regular season game a bit more important, because you’re losing points to your direct rival within the division. Previously the conferences were separate, but the teams still played inter-conference games, so it was less important to beat those opponents in the other conference.
With no room for longer slumps, we might be in for some surprises.
NHL Betting Tip: Keep an eye out for the teams showing playoff-like endurance during the regular season. Which team has managed to win most back-to-backs? Which team has collapsed after two games in a row? This will give a good indication of which teams might be worth a shot in the playoffs.
Rosters & ‘Taxi Squad’
Not many NHL teams have shown signs of cutting down their spending due to the current situation, but several are operating near the salary cap. The new “taxi squad” rule means teams can have their normal roster size active in the NHL level (20+3), but there’s an additional allowance of up to six players in the reserve, the so-called taxi squad.
There could be plenty of rotation along the lines. The movement between the taxi squad and the NHL roster will only be made on paper, which will allow teams to effectively have a wider roster available through the season. Salary cap and other finances are somewhat affected by the taxi squad moves, but let’s not concern ourselves with that. Actions on the ice are what matter to us.
NHL Betting Tip: Pay attention to the lineups, goalkeeper selections, injuries and personal maintenance days. There could be a lot more rotation in the lineups than usual, especially with the condensed and comparatively heavy schedule ahead. The early bird catches the worm, so be sure to react before the oddsmakers do.
Heading into the new season, there are plenty of unknowns. They make the NHL season even more unpredictable than usual. Be sure to follow BetQL’s NHL picks and trends to gain advantage over your bookmaker. Sign up for BetQL today for NHL insights all season long.
2021 NHL Season Outlook
The 2021 NHL season promises to be a wild and exciting one for bettors at PlaySugarHouse.com. Here’s the sportsbook’s 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Outlook:
The Colorado Avalanche (+650 Stanley Cup), led by surging superstar Nathan MacKinnon (+550 Hart Trophy, +600 Art Ross Trophy), are the odds-on favorite to win the 2021 Stanley Cup and are backed by the most money, with 24.8% of the total handle.
The Pittsburgh Penguins (+1800) and Philadelphia Flyers (+1800) are close behind with 13.7% and 13.3% of the total handle, respectively. The Vegas Golden Knights (+800), with the third shortest odds to win the Stanley Cup, are backed by 11.2% of the total handle, making Vegas the fourth most wagered-on team to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Surprisingly enough, the reigning champion Tampa Bay Lightning (+750), with the second shortest Stanley Cup odds, are not one of the four most wagered-on teams, having lost 2019 league MVP Nikita Kucherov to an injury that will require surgery and keep him out of the entire season.
Futures & Parlays
Stanley Cup futures are a popular addition to parlays, and a championship win for the Colorado Avalanche, which would be their third overall and first since 2001, would help toward major payouts, like on the following $250 fourfold parlay (+98340) that has a potential payout of $246,100: Green Bay Packers win the NFC Championship (+250), L.A. Lakers to win the NBA Finals (+275), golf superstar Rory McIlroy to win the Masters Tournament (+900) and the Avalanche to win the Stanley Cup (+650).
2021 NHL Stanley Cup Odds
- Colorado Avalanche +650
- Tampa Bay Lightning +750
- Vegas Golden Knights +800
- Toronto Maple Leafs +1100
- Boston Bruins +1500
- Carolina Hurricanes +1800
- Pittsburgh Penguins +1800
- Philadelphia Flyers +1800
- Washington Capitals +2000
- Louis Blues +2000
- Dallas Stars +2500
- Montreal Canadiens +2600
- Edmonton Oilers +2600
- New York Rangers +3000
How to Bet the NHL Season
For more tips on how to bet on the NHL season, visit /nhl-live-hockey-betting-tips-tricks/