Introduction to NHL Hockey Picks

by Staff & Contributors on August 14, 2023

in Gaming

The NHL season is in full swing, and that means it’s time for hockey fans to start making their picks and predictions for each gameday. With so many teams and matchups to choose from, figuring out which teams to pick can seem overwhelming. However, by analyzing key stats and trends, you can make informed NHL betting picks that give you a competitive edge. In this article, we’ll break down some tips and strategies for making smart NHL hockey picks this season.

Consider Home Ice Advantage

One of the most important factors to consider when making NHL picks is home ice advantage. NHL teams play much better at home than on the road, so home teams should get the benefit of the doubt in most matchups. Teams like the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, and Carolina Hurricanes in particular have huge home ice advantages. When two teams are evenly matched on paper, going with the home team as your pick is often the safest bet.

Look at Goaltending Matchups

Goaltending is the great equalizer in hockey. A hot goalie can carry an underdog team to an upset victory despite disadvantages in talent. When picking NHL games, you always want to give the edge to the team with the better goaltender. Look at save percentages and goals against averages to identify netminders in good form. Additionally, look out for backups or recent call ups in net, as inexperienced goalies often struggle. If there is a notable goaltending mismatch, pick the team with the advantage between the pipes.

Bet on Trends and Streaks

The NHL season is long, and trends and streaks can develop that provide great betting value. Maybe a team has owned their divisional rival in recent years. Perhaps they’ve won eight of their last ten home games. Identify positive and negative streaks and try to predict when they may come to an end. Ride hot streaks by continuing to pick those teams until evidence shows the streak is over.

Know Division Standings

The structure of divisions and playoff races in the NHL season means divisional games take on added significance. Within divisions, there are almost always teams pushing for playoff spots, teams falling out of contention, and teams jockeying for seeding. Use your knowledge of the standings to your advantage. Fading teams who have been eliminated from playoff contention in favor of teams still in the hunt is a sound strategy. Pivotal divisional matchups between teams in a tight playoff race tend to be coin flip games.

Follow Injuries Closely

Injuries play a huge role in hockey. Losing a superstar scorer or minute-eating defenseman can sink a team’s Stanley Cup aspirations. Make sure to check daily injury reports and account for key injuries in your NHL picks. Favor healthier teams over banged up opponents missing their best players. Additionally, be aware of players returning from injury and the potential boost they bring their lineup.

Shop for the Best Lines

The NHL has the most variance in betting lines and odds between sportsbooks. Don’t just settle for the first line you see posted. Do your due diligence and shop around for the best prices. If you put in the work, you can often find extra value on underdogs or favorable moneylines to back favorites. Maximize your edge by wagering at sportsbooks offering reduced juice options. Be patient and only place NHL picks at the very best prices available.

Fade or Follow Sharp Money

Sharp money refers to bets placed by professional or syndicate bettors with proven track records. The bets they place can often foreshadow where the lines are moving. Keep an eye out for unusual line movements or heavy action on one side to identify sharp money. Sometimes it pays to follow the sharps if you agree with their assessment. Other times fading the NHL bettingĀ  public money on popular favorites the sharps avoid can be profitable. Either way, monitoring line moves is a great way to reinforce your NHL picks.

Trust the Numbers and Trends

While factors like injuries, revenges, and situational spots do influence outcomes in hockey, more often the team with the best record and underlying analytics metrics wins. Don’t overthink your NHL picks and stray too far from what the numbers say. Teams with better Corsi ratings, high-scoring offenses, and disciplined defenses deserve to be favored against most opponents. Winning NHL picks generally come down to siding with whoever has been the objectively better team over the larger sample size of games.


Making sound NHL picks requires research, analysis, and trust in historical trends. Take advantage of factors like home ice, goaltending matchups, team health, and advanced stats when deciding on your wagers. Shop around for the best odds and pounce when you identify edges. While upsets and variance exist, teams with superior talent and track records of success offer the most value as picks over the long run. Employing these tips will help you make informed NHL hockey picks all season long.

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