NHL Betting Trend: Well-Rested Favorites vs. Back-to-Back Underdogs

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New Jersey Devils left wing Jesper Bratt (63) splits the defense of Vancouver Canucks' Travis Hamonic (27) and Brad Hunt (77) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb. 28, 2022, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Andrew Doughty @DoughtyBetMGM Mar 10, 2022, 9:35 AM

Three days after concluding a two-game road trip with an 8-5 loss in Chicago on Feb. 25, the New Jersey Devils hosted the Vancouver Canucks.

Despite a five-game home losing streak and four-game ATS home losing streak, the Devils were favored (-1.5, +175) in their first matchup with the Canucks since November of 2019. Seven different players scored as the Devils snapped both streaks and cashed tickets for anyone following a highly profitable NHL betting trend.

It was the 56th game this season in which a well-rested team (i.e., at least three days since their last game) was favored against a team playing the second half of a back-to-back.

The favorites are just 29-27 against the puck line in those games (.518) but, thanks to higher odds, have produced a return of investment (ROI) of 28.5%. 

If you eliminate the first month of the regular season when all teams have fresh legs, the ROI is a staggering 39.6% in 46 opportunities.

And when the favorite covers, it’s rarely close. 

In the 26 covers (of 46 total games since mid-November), the favorite has covered by an average of 1.9 goals. Only six of the 26 covers have come by one-half goal, i.e., the smallest possible cover margin, and 10 covers have come by at least 2.5 goals.

If you bet $100 on the favorite in each of those 46 games, you’d be up approximately $1,800 as of March 9.

The Feb. 28 game was the third such opportunity for the Devils, who are now 2-1 ATS in those spots. They’re one of eight teams with multiple covers as the well-rested favorite against no-rest teams. 

The St. Louis Blues have been particularly dominant within this trend, covering in four of their five opportunities, most recently covering the line (-1.5, +110) in a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 22. 

St. Louis Blues' Pavel Buchnevich in action during an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)
(AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Well-rested favorites were similarly successful last year, though they did so in limited opportunities. With a shortened and unconventional schedule, only 12 games fit this trend, with favorites covering seven times for an ROI of 25.7%.

And prior to the pandemic season when favorites were narrowly in the red, this trend produced an ROI of 10.9%. Even with the inclusion of the shortened 2019-10 season, the five-year ROI is still 11.2%.

What are the ATS records and ROI splits this season if we change filters?

Favorites regardless of rest against no-rest dogs: 75-95 ATS (.441), ROI of 4.6%

Favorites regardless of rest against dogs regardless of rest: 386-522 ATS (.425), ROI of 2.6%

Well-rested favorites against dogs regardless of rest: 129-169 ATS (.433), ROI of 3.2%

Well-rested favorites against well-rested dogs: 49-66 (.426), ROI of 2.7%

No-rest favorites against well-rested dogs: 13-23 ATS (.361), ROI of -3.6%

And no-rest favorites against no-rest dogs: 11-23 ATS (.324), ROI of -26.6%

You can view updated NHL odds for the remainder of the regular season and Stanley Cup playoffs at the BetMGM sportsbook.

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About the Author

Andrew Doughty

Read More @DoughtyBetMGM

Andrew Doughty is the Web Content Lead for BetMGM. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he previously wrote for Sports Illustrated and HERO Sports.

Andrew Doughty is the Web Content Lead for BetMGM. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he previously wrote for Sports Illustrated and HERO Sports.