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MacNeil: Late scratches giving hockey bettors headaches

August 13, 2020 11:46 PM

Heading into the 2020 NHL playoffs, we knew that information would not flow in the same way that we have become accustomed to as sports bettors living in the social media age. What happened on Thursday, however, gave hockey bettors headaches.

When the Columbus Blue Jackets took the ice for warmups, they were without forwards Cam Atkinson and Nathan Gerbe. Minutes later, it was reported that both players were unfit to play. A few hours later, we learned that Vegas Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty would not be suiting up for Game 2 against the Chicago Blackhawks. Not to be outdone, the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes had plenty of announcements of their own. 

First, the Bruins announced that their leading goal scorer, David Pastrnak, would not be in their lineup and the betting market was quick to react. What they might’ve missed, though, is that the Hurricanes had a cluster of players who were unfit to play as well. Joel Edmundson, Jake Gardiner and Nino Niederreiter might not mean a lot on their own, but together, they create a sizeable hole in the Hurricanes lineup. 

Personally, I typically project lineups and goaltenders and place my wagers early in the morning before the market is shaped by other bettors. My track record is pretty good, too. I’m losing confidence in this process, though, and it’s becoming apparent that many of my future wagers will be placed after the teams take the ice for warmups.


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