Hockey, much like baseball, is predominantly wagered on using moneyline, with oddsmakers essentially setting a price to play each team. That means that you just can’t make sports picks on the top teams each and every night and expect to turn a long-term profit.
Books tax those elite clubs, making bettors pay extra to play the NHL’s best, setting moneylines at -200 and higher. That means that for every dollar you want to win, you’ve got to wager two $2 – or more. A bad night from a top team can be a very costly loss for hockey bettors on the wrong side.
If you’ve been betting these teams listed below, you’re stacking some cold hard cash on the NHL ice so far this season. Some are surprises, some are not. All make up the best NHL bets of the 2017-18 season, based on units won on the moneyline odds.
Vegas Golden Knights (19-11, +12.15 units)
It just makes sense that the one professional team from Las Vegas is the best bet in the league. Expectations for the Golden Knights were very tempered, using past expansion teams as a gauge. Hockey oddsmakers had Vegas priced as a lofty underdog most games, which is when the bulk of these profits were piled up.
The Golden Knights offense has been surprisingly explosive, netting 3.4 goals per game, and that’s helped overcome a rash of injuries to their top goaltenders. Vegas has played extremely well inside T-Mobile Arena is a winning over a huge following of fans in Sin City – in part to their constant success at the sportsbook. The team hasn’t been as sharp on the road, giving up 3.56 goals against as a visitor.
Tampa Bay Lightning (22-8, +11.92 units)
The Lightning are another team riding their potent offense to profits at the book. Tampa Bay is tops in the NHL in scoring, averaging 3.7 goals a night. It’s been remarkable on special teams, recording a NHL-best 27.7 power-play percentage and isn’t giving up much when the Bolts find their way to the box, killing almost 83 percent of their penalties.
The Lightning have maintained this pace despite a bit of a down season from sniper Steve Stamkos, who has just 12 goals through three months of play. Stamkos is, however, setting up a lot of Tampa Bay’s strikes, posting 30 assists heading into Thursday. All that offense shouldn’t take away the credit due to goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who already has 20 wins and a slim 2.15 GAA.
New Jersey Devils (17-13, +8.01)
The Devils are giving Vegas a run for its money in terms of the biggest shocker of the NHL season. New Jersey, which has wallowed in the Eastern Conference basement for the past few seasons, started the schedule on fire. The Devils won three straight to open the year and suffered just two losses in their first 10 games in the opening month of the season – most of which were as plus-money underdogs.
New Jersey is starting to cool off as the winter weather rolls but the Devils have remained a value play whenever they hit the highway, boasting a 10-6 record on the road – winning +8.33 units in the role of visitor. It will be interesting to see how New Jersey does with scoring leader Taylor Hall sidelined with a knee bruise for the next few games. He’s recorded 31 points on the season, pacing the 10th-ranked offense in the NHL.