NHL 1st Period Betting Strategies
Well, folks, hockey season is back and that means it’s time to talk about my favorite bet in all sports — the NHL 1st Period Under. Baseball has the NRFI (No Runs In The First Inning), but hockey fans have twenty minutes to sweat out every shot on goal that happens in the opening frame. It is electric.
To start, know that the 1st Period Over/Under is more often than not set at 1.5.
The first period is typically an introduction to how the final 40 minutes of a game will play out. As a former player, let me tell you that the first period was always my least favorite, especially if it’s the second game of a back-to-back. There is always a feeling-out process and an adjustment window for getting yourself into the game. Everyone is different, but I always felt better as the game went on.
With all of that said, there are a ton of factors that go into betting a 1st Period Under. For example, you need to take into account how many games a team has played in that week, their travel schedule, whether the starter or backup will be in the blue paint, if the specific team is better at home or on the road, and most importantly, if it’s a back-to-back.
I always like to look at the results from the team's three previous games, that’s usually telling of how a team is trending, more so with goal-scoring than goaltending. Even the best goalies have an off night, but if their teammates are struggling to score goals, that’s a good time to hop on board.
One key thing to take into account is that not every team is safe to bet on. I have one rule, never take the 1P Under in an Edmonton Oilers game, I don’t care how good the odds are. It is terrifying watching Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl skating with the puck while trying to root for an Under.
NHL 1st Period Stats
My two favorite teams to take in the NHL happened to have met in the first round of the playoffs last season, which was a glorious two weeks for people who follow my picks. Those teams are the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Islanders, the two most profitable teams in the 2022-23 season for the 1P Under. This bet was cashed 55/82 times for the Islanders (27.02% ROI) and 53/82 times for the Hurricanes (10.33% ROI), according to EV Analytics. Like clockwork, the 1P Under hit in all six games of their first-round series; it was beautiful.
I know there are a lot of people out there who hate taking Unders because they aren’t always fun to root for, but let me tell you this, hockey is different because it can be very dramatic. There have been so many times where I would lose if another goal were scored, a team would score, and then a coach's challenge would save my bet. Nothing makes the heart pump like an offside review to save an Under.
Another advantage of this particular bet is that it is very niche, which allows for more opportunities to find an edge and the empty net goal is never taken into consideration.
Whether you’re a hockey fan or not, there is a different kind of rush about the opening puck drop and the first period. It’s going to be a very fun season of taking the 1P Unders, so strap in and enjoy the ride.