Hockey picksFebruary 25, 2021

NHL Divisional Trends

My NHL divisional trends highlight a couple of strong betting opportunities to consider on the moneyline and puck line.


Not All Divisions Created Equal

Given how few games each team has actually played, the average point margin separating first from last within the divisions varies quite significantly. In the West, only eight points split the Vegas Knights from the Anaheim Ducks. Meanwhile in the North, Toronto and Ottawa, though located only 250 miles apart on the highway, are divided by 17 points in the standings.

NHL divisional trends

Higher offensive output in the North, roughly 10-percent more scoring per game, is one big reason for the variance. As things start to settle down, however, it’s worth examining scoring margins between divisions.

Think of it this way. A moneyline favorite of -120 can be had for +135 in regulation time. But on the puck line, where the favorite must win by two or more, the payback is +200. It makes all the difference in the world towards your overall win-percentage, but you have to consider ‘team’ and NHL divisional trends when weighing out the value.

My NHL picks are on a sickening 19-4 (83%) run for +$13,560, with five winning days out of the past six (83%). Max Plays are 5-0 (+$5,640) during this hot streak. Don’t miss the next one!

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Here’s a breakdown of the data along with potentially live scenarios. High-percentage NHL divisional trends are listed below.

East

Total Games = 65
Wins by 1 goal = 34 (52%)
OT Yes = 20
OT No = 14
Wins by 2-plus = 31 (31%)

North

Total Games = 70
Wins by 1 goal = 28 (40%)
OT Yes = 11
OT No = 17
Wins by 2-plus = 42 (60%)

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Central

Total Games = 71
Wins by 1 goal = 33 (46%)
OT Yes = 20
OT No = 13
Wins by 2-plus = 38 (54%)

West

Total Games = 68
Wins by 1 goal = 36 (53%)
OT Yes = 15
OT No = 21
Wins by 2-plus = 32 (47%)

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NHL Divisional Trends: Close to Coast

Closer games are more prevalent in the East (52%) and West (53%). The Bruins (7-4) and Penguins (8-2) have played the highest number of games decided by a one-goal margin, and this is not the usual tendency for these teams.

  • The Penguins have only played 298 regular season games decided by a one-goal margin since 2011 (T-2nd fewest).

Boston ranks 20th on the list and what this data suggests is that in the current format, these two perennial favorites are either:

A) Worth the price on the moneyline if you like the matchup.

B) Worthy of a fade on the puck line if you feel the opponent will provide good competition.

Thursday Trend Tip: Bruins at Islanders
Moneyline: Boston -135
Puck Line: New York +1.5 (-220)

Boston loss 4-2 to New York on Feb. 13. The Bruins have the No. 2 penalty kill in the league at 87.7%. The Isles are 9-2 ATS against elite penalty kill teams the past couple seasons.

  • Road faves of -200 or less with a W/L record of .600 or better are 55-18 SU when seeking revenge for a loss by two or more goals.

Thursday Trend Tip: Penguins at Capitals
Moneyline: Washington -110
Puck Line: Pittsburgh +1.5 (-250)

  • Washington is 63-38 SU vs. teams that allow more than 2.85 GPG.

The Pens have the seventh-highest goals-against average in the league at 3.24.  

The Ducks (12), Coyotes (11) and Blues (10) are also into the double-digits this season for games decided by a one-goal margin. And what a coincidence, all three of these teams were working overtime just last night!

North of 40

Only 40-percent of games in the upper region have been close, with just 16-percent requiring overtime. The Jets (3) and Senators (3) make up the bulk, with Ottawa playing into the extra frame three times in the past 10 days.

Since 2010, only the Senators (8th) rank inside the top 15 for close margin games amongst all Northern clubs. This trend is suggesting that if you like the favorite in these divisional tilts, consider playing them in regulation time, or on the puck line for huge savings.

Thursday Trend Tip: Canadiens at Jets
Regulation: Montreal +133
Puck Line: Montreal -1.5 (+190)

  • Road favorites with only 1-2 wins in their past seven games are 108-51 (68%) against teams that have won three of their past four.

Thursday Trend Tip: Oilers at Canucks
Regulation: Edmonton +106
Puck Line: Edmonton -1.5 (+180)

  • Vancouver is 3-13 this year vs. teams that average 29-plus shots per game.

The Canucks have lost nine in a row vs. teams with heavier firepower, and just one of those losses went to overtime. Edmonton currently ranks 12th with 30.7 shots per game.

Stuck in the Middle

Staying true to its name, the Central division has the most pedestrian set of statistics from our NHL divisional trends. The two teams with the highest frequency of close games are Columbus (12) and Chicago (11). These two are squaring off at 7 pm ET this evening.

  • The UNDER is 25-8 (76%) since 2017 when Columbus is home off a one-goal loss.  

Six of the past seven games between these two have been decided by a one-goal margin and four of those seven went to overtime. Chicago (339) is also tied for fourth-most one-goal margins in the past 10 years. Perhaps the ‘Overtime – Yes’ prop deserves a look? It’s paying back at +320.

My NHL picks won again last night (2-1), improving my record since Friday to 19-4 (83%) for +$13,560, with five winning days out of six (83%). Included in this hot streak is a 5-0 record with Max Plays (+$5,640), and on the year, the big ones are a perfect 9-0 (100%) for +$10,270. Overall, I’m +28 games over .500 with hockey (+$17,710) and I have weekly and monthly packages available now!

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