The Hunt for October in baseball which involves teams in the MLB trying to qualify for the post season is now reaching the closing stages which means the focus turns to other American sports and in ice hockey Bet Enthusiast will be looking to identify outstanding bets based on key statistical trends. Ice hockey is a little known sport in Britain but in the States it is big business.
British bookmakers all offer betting on ice hockey and as is common in most markets odds are pretty standard across all outlets and websites. Most firms will not employ an ice hockey specialist but an odds compiler who might be responsible for a portfolio of sports. The key to beating the book is rating each team and taking advantage of any discrepancies between the prices quoted and the relative strength of each side.
The National Hockey League (NHL) is the top professional league in North America, consisting of teams from 30 cities across the US and Canada. In a season they all play each other several times so each team plays over 80 games. Teams go on road trips which involve several away matches and six or more games are played most days during the season.
Games are contested between two teams of six players, with rules kept to a minimum. Each team aims to score by hitting the puck into the opponent’s goal. Games are played in three 20 minute segments and the main betting opportunity is predicting the winner. Bookmakers also offer odds on the number of goals and a handicap by which the underdog is given a head start, in half goals to avoid a tie and returned stakes.
For those betting in running an important aspect of a game is the concept of the Power Play. This happens when one side loses a player for two to ten minutes, depending on the severity of a rules indiscretion. That team will focus on defending and it’s a significant achievement to survive a Power Play without conceding a goal. The odds for the team to score the next goal will shift in favour of the team with the numerical advantage.
There is a simple ratings system that will enable bettors to quickly assess the likely outcome of a match. The Bet Enthusiast service will be applying the key statistics to rate each team and advising bets accordingly. The basis of the ratings is how effective each team is in attack and defence. There may not be too many tips in October as we need a few weeks worth of data before coming to any firm conclusions.
The ESPN and NHL websites record the number of shots on goal for each team in the league. Attacking and trying to score goals is one element of the analysis but how good a team is at shutting out opponents must also be considered. The key measure of effective defending is the number of shots an opposing team has to make before they score a goal. This provides a guide to a team’s defensive abilities. A combination of defensive and offensive efficiency can then be calculated for each side in a match.
British bookmakers largely take their lead from US bookies when setting prices. However, if a team’s best player is injured, which can happen quite often due to the physical nature of the sport, they may be slow to update their odds. The internet is a good source of injury developments and if a key player is due to miss a match the opponents should be backed in an otherwise even contest.