Handicapping NHL Hockey Based on Travel Schedules
Since oddsmakers account for a team’s travel when setting NHL betting lines, it is essential for bettors to take this into account before making their wagers as well.
When handicapping hockey games, it is easy to see that a tired team just does not have as much in the tank as a rested team, but there is much more to consider when breaking down a team’s schedule in relation to their opponent.
Fatigue Impacts Team Performance
NHL teams sometimes play three games in four nights, and when they do, they tend to show signs of fatigue by the time the third game rolls around – especially late in the season when the effects of the schedule are really felt.
Hockey is a physical and grueling sport, and NHL teams simply play too many games. That means they are due for a letdown spot throughout the season, mostly on the back end of long stretches.
While travel fatigue matters, so does the makeup of the team you are handicapping. Do not automatically fade teams based on the fact they that are at the end of a road trip. For example, a team with quality depth does not necessarily rely on a handful of key scorers and is better equipped to pull out a victory in these types of situations.
Keeping Goalies Fresh Critical
Goaltending is one of the important factors to consider when handicapping tired teams. Those with elite goaltenders have the potential to steal a game even when their legs are not there.
However, not every team has that luxury. Some teams also have a solid rotation of goalies that can work with them throughout a road trip. In this case, the second goalie may be just as good as the starter and rotate together perfectly.
Travel Worse in Western Conference
The teams in the West have much longer distances to travel when they hit the road, mostly those in the Central Division based in the Midwest part of the United States. The Chicago Blackhawks in particular go on their longest road trip of the season when the circus comes to the United Center, sending them away from home for two weeks.
However, they also get the opportunity to bond and end up playing some of their best hockey during that extended time. As a bettor, this is why you need to know each team’s unique situations regarding their schedule before betting on or against them. And specializing in one sport like hockey could pay off big if you know how to bet it.