The NHL Betting Trend to Know for the Stanley Cup Playoffs

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Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) skates against the New York Islanders during an NHL hockey game on Monday, March 7, 2022, in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jim McIsaac)
(AP Photo/Jim McIsaac)
Andrew Doughty @DoughtyBetMGM Apr 07, 2022, 9:23 AM

The Vegas Golden Knights were favored (-1.5) against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 4 of their West Division Second Round game last year.

The Golden Knights, however, at +225 were an underdog to cover the puck line as they sought to even the series and, with a two-goal win, earn a rare postseason cover in NHL betting for teams with sizable puck line odds.

It was the eighth game of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs in which one team had puck line odds of at least +225. Those teams were 1-6 ATS in those games, which included the Avs’ failure to cover -1.5 (+225) in a Game 3 loss two days earlier.

In Game 4, Jonathan Marchessault erased an early deficit with a first-period goal en route to a hat trick and 5-1 Vegas win. It was just the 103rd cover in the last 454 postseason opportunities for teams in that spot since 2006.

The 22.7% cover rate has produced an ROI of -20.8% over those 16 years, which resulted in a loss of nearly $10,000 if you bet $100 on each team with puck line odds of at least +225.

Here’s a year-by-year breakdown (there were no such games in 2020):

YearATSROILoss/Gain
20212-6-17%-$136
2018-196-1121.4%+$364
2017-184-12-15.5%-$248
2016-176-34-48.1%-$1,923
2015-167-33-37.6%-$1,505
2014-1512-32-7%-$308
2013-1410-34-18.7%-$822
2012-139-34-26.8%-$1,153
2011-127-39-42.9%-$1,974
2010-1110-28-7.4%-$281
2009-1011-1642.9%+$1,140
2008-095-13-3.6%-$65
2007-088-186.1%+$158
2006-073-26-66.1%-$1,918
2005-063-15-42.1%-$757

The postseason failures for these teams are on a different level than the regular season. Teams aren’t profitable in the regular season, either, but they’re not sucking at the staggering postseason level.

Over the same time period, regular-season high-odds teams are only covering at a rate barely 5 percentage points higher (28.3% in 5,640 opportunities through April 5, 2022) than the postseason (22.7%) and have a negative ROI.

However, the regular-season ROI is only -1.4% – compared to the -20.8% in the postseason – and the loss, at -$7,782, is less than the postseason loss despite 5,000 more games.

The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs are scheduled to start on May 2. You can view updated NHL odds and more online sports betting opportunities at the BetMGM sportsbook.

Jamie Foxx holding a mobile phone next to the BetMGM's risk-free bet offer.
About the Author

Andrew Doughty

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Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM with a focus on college football, NFL, college basketball, and NASCAR. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he previously wrote for Sports Illustrated and HERO Sports.

Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM with a focus on college football, NFL, college basketball, and NASCAR. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he previously wrote for Sports Illustrated and HERO Sports.