Your success as an NHL sports bettor depends on properly preparing for the upcoming season. This is an ongoing process. Although you may want to rely on last season’s performances as the groundwork for the new hockey season, the fact is that what occurred in the past has little relevance in the present. It’s true that a dominant team may still be dominant and a weak one may not be much improved, but each club has new factors that will influence the degree of success it has in the new season. That means that careful preparation is important.
Monitoring Off-Season News
Take time each day to look at the latest NHL news concerning movement of players and coaches, changes that are happening within individual organizations, and league developments. Although not a lot seems to be happening in the few months before the NHL takes off, there’s enough that will influence rosters, team dynamics, and the possible results of games. Have news updates sent directly to your smartphone, and carefully check NHL.com, Fox Sports, and ESPN websites. Taking a few minutes a day to focus on NHL news may give you an edge during the season.
Draft and Trades
The NHL Draft is held in June. During that draft, NHL teams choose North American hockey players between the ages of 18 and 20 and European players of all ages for their teams. Some players will go right to the NHL, while many will end up in the AHL or other minor leagues. Goalies tend to always need more development, while offensive players can often make an immediate impact.
Trades are also important. A trade that involves a veteran player can have a major effect on a team. Even older vets can make a difference when they go to a new team. However, don’t just pay attention to the big name trades. Trades that include niche players can be as important as those that move a star from one team to another. Sometimes a club’s ability to fill a hole or two, to get a few more quality guys on the ice for a couple of extra minutes, or to add a role player to one of their specialty teams can make a major difference.
Although you will be heading into a new season, if a trade happens or a drafted player is added to a team, it’s a good idea to check out some tape on those players. What is their style like, how will they mix with their new teammates, and will they be able to contribute in a useful manner to their new team? Does their style of play fit the new club’s style? Be selective in your tape viewing, concentrating on determining how players may contribute to their new team.
Each year, season previews are released about four to six weeks before the NHL season. You may purchase them at your local newsstand and also access them online. Previews will review stats, analyze players and their potential to contribute, and will give you an understanding of each organization.
Rookies will be assessed, coaches, GMs, and owners will be critiqued, and predictions for the new season will be posted. All of the careful analysis that is done in NHL previews can be very helpful in getting you focused on the upcoming season, as they offer you facts and insights designed to create a solid foundation for your future wagering efforts.
What’s Happening in Camp
NHL training camp starts in early September, and within one week, teams are playing preseason games. The preseason lasts about a month with the regular season beginning in mid-October.
Training camp will offer you insights into team health and dynamics. You’ll have a chance to see new guys play in the preseason game and will get a sense as to where each club is in their development. Remember that preseason games have no bearing on the regular season, and that outcomes can be especially tough to predict, as coaches are experimenting a lot and giving individual players a chance to prove themselves.
Coaching and Front Office
Take time to evaluate coaches and the people in the front office. Hockey coaches are often underrated, but there’s a reason why certain teams are more dynamic than others, why some clubs are great at comebacks, and why some manage to excel on the power play while others falter.
The people in the front office can also make a major difference, as these are the people who decide how committed a team will be to winning the Cup. Front office includes ownership. Owners are very important as they control the purse strings and set the tone for all operations.
This is a good time to assess goalies. You’ll get a chance to see how various goalies are performing, know which will be ready to contribute, and get a sense of depth in that position. Player health is very important on any hockey team, and a goalie’s health (both mental and physical), is key to a good season.
How does each goalie look? Do they seem to be in top form or are they struggling? Do you look confident? How much have they improved over the offseason? Does the team have a solid backup who can deliver when needed? No goalies can play the entire season and an NHL team needs a strong second-stringer.
Are You Ready?
Do you have all of your ducks in a row? The thing about the NHL is that some teams will go through major transformations due to injuries, roster moves, and trades. Plus, there’s a dynamic in the NHL that works through the long season where teams will, much like in the NBA, break down. This may affect them for a few games or for weeks.
Also, when goalies get hot, they can be impossible to beat. Watch for this trend as you can end up cashing in on it. An amazing run by a goalie can transform a team.
Being ready for the NHL season is important to ensure that you’ll be ready to recognize and act upon changing trends.
When the Puck Drops
When the puck drops at the start of the NHL season, it’s time to place your sports bets. Be sure to carefully budget your cash, bet in units, and place larger unit wagers on teams that are more of a certainty. Stay away from large risk wagers, don’t bet every game, and always do your prep work. To be a successful professional sports bettor, you’ll need to put in the time. In the end, you’ll find that it is well worth it.