Hockey bettors must beat closing line

December 1, 2021 05:53 PM
In the end, wins and losses are really all that matters, because every sports bettor’s goal is to make money. However, wins and losses don’t really tell you all that much in the short term. In fact, even if someone wins more than they lose after making a few hundred picks, results aren’t always a good indicator that a bettor is on the right track. There’s still a chance that the results could be nothing more than a consequence of luck.
Hockey is still considered a niche sport compared with football, but the closing line is still a good indication of where the line should be. Why? Well, because throughout each day, information and opinions shape the market, and if a bettor is consistently getting the best of the line, it likely means that that bettor is getting to market before information and opinions cause a shift. For example, if a bettor lays -110, and the line closes -130, the bettor should feel like a winner.
What happens after the puck drops is totally out of a bettor’s control. The price the bettor pays is really the only thing that is within their control. If a bettor is consistently beating the closing line in hockey, he should feel good about his bets, even if the wins aren’t rolling in. Alternatively, if a bettor lays -130 and the line closes at -110, it was probably a bad bet. No bettor will beat the closing line 100 percent of the time, but winning bettors seem to get the best of the line about 75 percent of the time.
After analyzing the closing line, I turn to a hockey stats website like Evolving Hockey or Natural Stat Trick. Both sites have game logs that allow bettors to look under the hood and judge how the teams they bet fared, after the fact. For example, viewing a game through the lens of Corsi and Fenwick will show you which team controlled the puck the most, while expected goals or scoring chances can give a bettor a pretty good idea whether the team they bet on generated more quality chances than its opponent.
I am not doing myself any favors in terms of how I keep my record, as I grade my bets on against the consensus line, which is basically the worst line imaginable. Shopping around for the best line will increase your chances of obtaining positive expected value and hopefully, you’ll make a profit. Here’s a look at the moneyline bets I’ve made over the last few weeks:
Date Pick Line Close Result
4-Nov NYI -130 -140 W
5-Nov EDM -155 -162 W
7-Nov NYI -105 -108 L
8-Nov FLA -115 -115 L
9-Nov WPG -110 -119 L
9-Nov PIT -125 -139 L
9-Nov FLA -140 -142 L
9-Nov ANA 135 130 W
11-Nov LAK -115 -110 W
11-Nov ANA 145 146 W
12-Nov WSH -125 -124 W
13-Nov VAN 130 129 L
14-Nov EDM -115 -114 W
14-Nov PIT 125 113 L
16-Nov SJS 165 159 W
16-Nov DET 165 166 L
18-Nov SJS 135 132 L
18-Nov MIN -130 -136 W
19-Nov WPG -110 100 L
20-Nov PIT 150 144 W
20-Nov VGK -150 -135 W
22-Nov ANA 130 130 L
24-Nov SJS -165 -180 W
24-Nov NJD 105 105 L
26-Nov PIT -145 -160 W
26-Nov NJD 125 124 L
26-Nov SJS 135 130 L
27-Nov WPG 150 156 W
28-Nov ANA 160 160 L
29-Nov SEA -130 -140 W
Of the 30 moneyline bets listed, there were only seven instances when the line closed better than it was when I took my position, which means that I got the best of it a little more than 75 percent of the time. A 1.4-unit profit is nothing to write home about, but I am happy with the way the lines have been moving in my favor. Whether you’re a seasoned sports bettor, or someone just starting out, I suggest you start analyzing your betting record in this way if you haven’t already.
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