With the NHL season opening Wednesday, the unique schedule will draw a lot of focus. Not only is the season starting three months later than usual with fewer games, the frequency has picked up, meaning shorter rests and more back-to-back scenarios. Teams are also playing opponents in series-type formats of two or three games in a row.
I have always believed that in sports with multiple games a week in an inconsistent format — hockey and basketball — the layout of a team’s schedule can have a huge impact on its performance. The simple fact is that some teams fare better in certain scheduling spots than others — for many debatable reasons.
I’ve dug into my NHL database over the last three seasons to try to pinpoint key spots in the 2021 schedule. Some trends indicate that some teams are set up for greater success than others this season due to the condensed schedule.
Here are 10 top play-on and play-against scheduling situations that have produced noteworthy results for bettors over the last few seasons. I have listed all the spots to which they will apply over the next four months. If you notice a continued pattern of winning, by all means, keep playing it. If you see the pattern starting to turn, perhaps eliminate it from the list.