How To Bet On The Stanley Cup Finals
What are the best strategies for betting on the Stanley Cup Finals? What are the keys to making money betting on the NHL championship series? In this article we discuss five keys to help you enhance your NHL Stanley Cup Finals betting.
The beginning of the Stanley Cup Finals marks the last chance to bet on the NHL until the new season begins again later in the year. While our overall philosophy is that the regular season provides the best opportunity to profit, not only in NHL but in all sports, in this article we will discuss the best ways to make a profit through this last opportunity of the NHL betting season, the Stanley Cup Finals.
5 Tips to Bet on the Stanley Cup Finals
#1 - Don’t Rely Too Much On Regular Season Stats
While it's important to review statistics from prior meetings in order to make informed decisions about what is likely to occur in future meetings, one has to be very careful to not put too much stock in those games. There is a litany of issues outside of team talent that determines whether a team wins or loses in the regular season. Teams may have been in a bad travel spot, been dealing with injuries to key players, or may have been just building team chemistry with line changes etc. Now under the bright lights with their season and reputation on the line, players will find another level and cement their places in history. It is better to evaluate how a team is currently performing in order to get a more accurate assessment as to what will occur on the ice versus a random Tuesday in November.
Another big problem is the relatively small sample size of games to evaluate due to the fact that teams from opposite conferences rarely meet during the regular season.
#2 - Think Like A Coach
A huge difference between the regular and post-season match ups is that coaches and teams will make adjustments based on what is happening on the ice. During the course of a best of seven game series coaches will juggle line-ups and defences to exploit the other squad’s weaknesses. We're not saying this doesn’t occur during the regular season but rather that it happens much quicker in a short playoff series where each win and loss is magnified.
Sometimes each goal scored is magnified many times more than in regular season meetings. We try to anticipate changes to gain an edge and also try to get meaningful line up talk from both coaches. Sometimes line-up changes have an extremely dramatic effect on results. One huge example is a change in goal tenders. Often times teams will play a much tighter defensive game in front of a goalie that has not seen action versus a team’s effort in front of their regular starter. The team that is facing a goalie that they have not faced does not have the scouting to know exploitable angles. This also can indicate a lower scoring game based on those two factors.
It is also important to point out that the home team also enjoys the last line change. This means the home team has the luxury of seeing the personnel on the ice from the visitors and can then get their best defenders on the ice for every situation. This weighs way more into home-ice advantage now than during the regular season. Sometimes we see a dramatic difference in a team’s effectiveness based on this.
#3 - Utilise Every Betting Market Available
We have always felt that if the only way we could bet on NHL was a full game money line and total, the NHL would not be profitable to wager on it. If one is serious about profiting, then it is important that you find a bookmaker that offers a large wagering menu of alternate lines and handicaps that allow the bettor to focus on more specific angles to exploit. Most bookmakers offer the ability to bet individual period results, 3-way full game betting as well as alternative handicaps applied to both teams. It is important to note that the reason the books did this was to increase their handle. One can be sure that it was not done to give out free money. The individual bettor must utilise accurate assessment of risk before partaking in these markets. The rewards can be magnified significantly however, if analysed correctly.
#4 – Find Value In Live Betting Markets
The post season is an excellent time to participate in live betting markets. Some bookmakers offer real-time betting, even while play is in progress, while others offer intermission wagering. Either way it is an excellent way to secure profits if done correctly. As an example in a recent Chicago vs LA playoffs series, games 5 and 6 offered an opportunity that every bettor dreams of and that is securing profit no matter what happens on the ice.
Sound impossible? Hardly, let me explain.
In game 5 in Chicago the Blackhawks ended the first period with a 3-2 lead. The line at intermission was 1.33 for Chicago, 3.50 for Los Angeles. Professional NHL bettor John Marks talks us through his process:
“I played and advised via twitter to take LA at the very generous plus money return. I did this not because I was certain LA was going to win the game, but because due to the amount of scoring, this had a free-wheeling offensive minded style game and with 40 minutes left it was not a certainty that Chicago would lead this wire to wire. The Kings scored 2-0 in the 2nd period, taking a 4-3 lead into the 2nd intermission. The lines offered now were exactly opposite of that offered at the 1st intermission. It was now LA at 1.33 and Chicago at 3.50! Well this certainly set up for a very nice profit of 1.5 units by buying the Hawks at the same return as we had with LA.”
The same scenario in the first 2 intermissions was repeated in game 6 with both squads trading the lead in the intermissions! Often times these knee-jerk reactions by the betting public and by the books set up very nicely to buy plus money tickets on both squads and just scalp money from the books based on one’s timely purchases involving the calculated risks.
One can do this with totals too. Again, John Marks talks us through his process:
“In game 6 of the same series LA took a 1-0 lead into first intermission. The betting total pre-game was 5 with slight juice to the over. After the 1st period the books sent out a full game total of 4.5 at 2.1 and sent out an alternative total of over 5.5 at 3.65. Although the scoring was limited in the first, both teams were generating chances indicative that the lamp would likely be lit at a faster rate in the last 2 periods. The Hawks scored both second period goals and then both squads put up a 2-2 third period and sending this game over the total easily. With selectivity and proper risk assessment this is a very effective method to siphon off profits.”
#5 - Don’t Increase Bet Size
Just because it’s the finals and bookmakers have raised limits does not mean that it's wise to raise your bet size. The books would not be increasing their limits if they felt less certain about the outcome. The bottom line is that by the time the puck drops to begin the Stanley Cup Finals, every sports book and bettor will have broken down every angle between the two teams. Most angles, including ones you may not even know about, have been factored into the line. Books will use formulaic lines as the series goes on putting them in a “safe” place leaving less value on the board. Often these games become “coin flip” type bets based on the odds offered. Save your biggest wagers of the year when there is big value on the board not big limits.
Also avoid betting into cliché type strategies. Even the most casual bettor knows defence wins championships so betting Under the total blindly will often make for losses based on the heavily juiced lines offered. We can almost assure you that 1 or 2 of these games will have 6 or more goals and pay handsomely when they do. It is to the advantage of the bettor to find those gems going against the grain, than lining up to go with a common perception.