In our opinion, people who sidestep hockey wagering are missing some great opportunities to fatten their wallets. A primary reason: odds makers are sloppier setting hockey lines than with football, basketball, and baseball combined! They don't pay as much attention because bettors don't pay as much attention. We use this to our advantage!
First thing you have to understand about the NHL is this – on the surface it's the most topsy-turvy major sport of all time. But it's really not all that baffling if you really devote daily attention to it. We only have to go back to the spring of 2005 for some perfect examples. The Detroit Red Wings appeared to be the class of the 2005-2006 seasons. They led the NHL in total points and were ranked number one in every published power rating. So what happens in the playoffs? They're immediately eliminated by the 8th place Edmonton Oilers. Though that was the biggest upset all four of the top teams in the West were knocked out in the first round. Incredible! Vegas couldn't believe it as night after night underdogs swamped the favorites. But the bettors couldn't believe it either. Most of them bet big high money lines on those losing favorites.
The point of all this history is to ask and answer the following questions and hopefully provide you some insights into our way of analyzing the NHL. We've always found it odd that baseball always notes the starting pitchers, their records and ERA's while hockey largely ignores goalie stats. We track every goaltender in the league to try to ferret out tendencies. Is he hot, is he cold, or is he just erratic? Is he a butter flyer and if so is that slight leg injury going to have more serious consequences when he really has to sprawl? Does he have a tough time with bigger forwards who try to hang out in the crease or with clubs that possess a couple of enormous slap shots? And the most overlooked stat of all – how does the goaltender perform against individual teams?
Finally, let's conclude with consideration number three – the intangibles assets and pitfalls of each team. This is where years of our nightly devotion to following the sport are irreplaceable assets. The intangibles of hockey are more numerous than any other sport. They can be summed up in two words – team chemistry. Here's what we mean...
The NHL is beyond fast and furious. This is the only major sport where player changes are made on the fly, where one flick of the wrist can change the entire momentum of a game, where 59 minutes of desperately hard work can go down the drain with one careless pass. Basketball? Screw up and you can redeem yourself ten seconds later. Baseball? The starting pitcher is almost expected to come out after six innings. Football? You've got specialists running on and off the field every play. In hockey, you screw up you better pray you have a teammate who can save your butt.
In hockey, the goalie isn't coming out unless he's hurt or your team is getting killed. In hockey, every defenseman on the ice has to be to skate like a forward and every forward better be willing to throw himself in front of a slap shot. This is a team sport like none other. That means that leadership, sacrifice, effort and commitment have to come from every player who ties up his skates or that team has a problem. And believe me, teams have problems. If a Russian and a Czech are feuding, if someone is on the trading block but still expected and suddenly not willing to take the body, if a particular official likes to call everything a physical team likes to do – well, you understand the nuances. We keep our ear close to the ice by following every team, every day; this allows us to enjoy advantages no other sport provides.