NHL Picks: Home vs. Away Betting Trends in the NHL

David Lawrence

Friday, September 13, 2013 1:51 PM GMT

History has a tendency of repeating itself. That’s why we have to learn from it so that we have success in the future and don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

As the 2013-14 NHL season approaches, we took a look back to the 2013 lockout shortened season to see what kind of home-away tendencies we could extract from the data. Here’s a look at three trends we found:

Playing Well At Home Meant Playing In The Playoffs

It’s not entirely shocking but one of the first pieces of information we can gather when looking back at home-ice edge in the lockout shortened season was that those who took advantage of it, made the playoffs.

15 of the 16 playoffs teams from last season had a winning home record as the New York Islanders were the only team to sneak in while going 10-11-3 at home. Every single other playoff team had a home record of at least two games over .500 or better. How this helps your sports picks for the 2013-14 season is it is a valuable piece of evidence to keep in mind for futures, odds to win the division and betting yes/no props on will a team make the playoffs.

Goal Scoring Is Key To Road Success

People who won lots of NHL picks last year can tell you that the better road teams in the league last season were the teams that had some of the better offenses. Sure, that might seem like an obvious correlation: score more, win more.  However, there are also teams who are elite because of their defense and goaltending, yet they didn’t fare as well on the road.

The top six road teams in the NHL were:

Chicago Blackhawks: 18-4-2

Pittsburgh Penguins: 18-6-0

Anaheim Ducks: 14-5-5

New York Islanders: 14-6-4

Montreal Canadiens: 15-7-2

Toronto Maple Leafs: 13-8-3

What do those teams have in common? All of them scored at least 139 goals last season, which puts them all in the top eight of league scoring. See the pattern? More scoring likely means more road wins. Conversely, even playoff teams like Ottawa, Detroit and San Jose all had losing road records. They were all landed in different spots among the nine lowest scoring teams.

When you’re evaluating the NHL odds this year, keep in mind that good scoring teams will offer value in road situations.

Don’t Overvalue Home-Ice Advantage

Only 21 of the 30 NHL teams finished with a winning record at home in the 2013 season and 14 of the 30 teams were no better than two games over .500 at home. That gives us a good indication that home-ice advantage just isn’t that strong in the NHL.

Home teams in the NHL come with a higher price tag – just as they do in any sport – so keep that in when you’re betting. A good strategy appears to be to bet against weak teams at home when they are facing quality opponents. Sure, the public loves a good road favorite in any sport but this appears to be especially valuable in the NHL where only about half the league plays well at home.