Ice Hockey -NHL
The Stanley Cup, which the teams play for, is the holy grail of North American Ice Hockey and has been won a record 24 times by the Montreal Candiens. Of all the major leagues in North America, the NHL is the only league to field teams that play in two countries' capital cities, Ottawa and Washington, D.C.
If you're new to the National Hockey League then we will direct you towards the best betting opportunities and NHL information.
We will try to answer the following:
a) How Is It Set Up?
b) Who Plays Who?
c) So Which Are The Best Teams?
d) What's With All The Statistics?
e) What Are The Betting Opportunities?
f) Where & When Can I Bet On NHL?
How Is It Set Up?
The NHL regular season runs over 82 games and if a team goes all the way to the title they will play at least another dozen games.
The 30 teams divide into two conferences, East and West -both of which have three regional divisions consisting of 5 teams (same as NBA).
The NHL season is divided into a regular season from the first Wednesday in October through the beginning of April, when teams play each other in a schedule, and a playoffs from April to the beginning of June. This is an elimination tournament in which two teams play against each other to win a best-of-seven series in order to advance to the next round. The final remaining team is crowned the Stanley Cup champion.
Who Plays Who?
As with other major sports in the USA, teams go on road trips where they will play several franchises in a particular region.
In spite of being in different leagues & divisions, each team plays every other team several times over the season -with games often being played in clusters (known as series).
So Which Are The Best Teams?
The Stanley Cup is a fairly open competition, with over a dozen different finalists in the last ten years. Teams must have a great goalkeeper in order to get into the play-offs and a deep bench to go all the way. Perennial challengers are Detroit, Anaheim and New Jersey, this season's form teams are San Jose, Washington and Boston -all of whom will be close come play-off time.
What's With All The Statistics?
Like most American sports, they believe that if they can measure it then they can manage it (and analyse it of course!). Hence, the game is awash with numbers, but all these figures can be helpful to the punter -as we get an insight into how many points may be scored in each game and by whom.
There's one site that has all the info that you could ever want -ESPN.
What Are The Betting Opportunities?
Just like football, you can bet on the seasonal outcomes or individual games -although betting in-running is limited to the play-off games.
The spread firms Sporting Index and Spreadex usually set spreads for the winning margins and the number of points scored in each game. These spreads are quite small so its unusual to win or lose too much, unless you are playing in high stakes.
If you take a long term view and want to have a bet that gives you some interest for 8 months then why not try to pick the winners of the Eastern & Western Conferences and also the Stanley Cup play-offs winner.
Paddy Power offers prices and there is plenty of value in the overall race -with Detroit 100/30, San Jose 4/1, Montreal 8/1 and Pittsburgh & Boston both at 9/1.
Where & When Can I Bet On NHL?
The TV schedule for the NHL can be found at livesportontv.com and the best places to bet on the NHL individual games are Sporting Index (where they update on a daily basis) and long-term Spreadfair.
Channel 5 televises a game in the early hours once a week in tandem with the NASN's weekly coverage.