Betting on the NHL at the final week of the regular season can sometimes be an ill-advised experience and it is one cluttered with hidden landmines. Coaches give AHL goalies you have never heard of shock starts and superstars get scratched — sometimes minutes prior to puck drop. Nearly every group has differing motivation down the stretch and sportsbook lines should not be reliable.
So, how do we go about betting the last few games of the NHL’s regular slate? Very carefully. Wait late as you can to put a wager, unless there is a line that you know will proceed in the wrong direction if you wait, and track injury reports and Twitter closely.
Among the things that are most essential to remember is whether a team has clinched. If they have, plus they have nothing left to play , they are more inclined to seat stars and provide their No. 1 netminder some rest. This year’s Minnesota Wild team is among the best examples of this. They’ve experienced a playoff spot locked up for quite some time and with Devan Dubnyk struggling following having a heavy workload this year, Minny brass chose to phone up Alex Stalock to give their starting goalie a recuperation time.
With that advice, you’re probably thinking I’m telling you to evaporate the group that’s clinched but it’s not that simple. These may 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 beneath the strain, every once in a while, they play lights out like Stalock (.944 save percentage) has because his call-up. This makes moneyline betting extremely difficult and I have a tendency to avoid it completely from the dwindling daylight of this normal season.
What I do recommend, however, is to wager the OVER — openly.
Last season, the OVER went 27-18-3 in games where at least one team had three or fewer matches remaining on its schedule. Not too bad. That which I attribute mostly to the tendency for late-season matches to go above their total is teams resting top-four blue-liners and we have seen more than enough incidences of the this year.
Take the Montreal Canadiens, for instance. The Habs recently clinched the Atlantic Division and actually have nothing left to play for. They now have scrappy D-men Shea Weber and Jordie Benn both listed as questionable with assorted bumps and bruises and if they’re really scraped on a particular night, whichever team they are playing that evening is going to have a much freer route to the Habs internet, leading to more scoring opportunities and can you imagine what else? Yup, more targets.
To recap, check to be sure how intact a team’s blue line is and wait until at least a half-hour before puck drop to make your bet once you’ve picked a place. If a few essential guys are missing along with a backup goalie — or two — is enjoying, pound the OVER.
Keep these things in the front of your mind when surfing your sportsbooks and your Twitter timeline and you should have the ability to remain complete and boost your bankroll going to the postseason.