The new NHL-wide tactic of ‘pulling the goalkeeper’ early has led to an abundance of goals and headaches for bettors who take advantage of not being able to adjust the odds fast enough. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
28 years of scoring goals
Scoring for 28 years in the NHL, bolstered by a new tactic to ‘pull the goalkeeper’ early, is causing all kinds of headaches for sportsbooks as the right bettors feed the market.
NHL coaches bench guards for players off the field
As I mentioned USA TODAYSports betting writers pointed the finger at the new trend tactic for the mounting losses in the excess market. “Goalkeeper pull” sees NHL bench guards for outside players to chase the score, leaving the net wide open. Although this is not a new tactic, coaches have been sitting on goalkeepers early in the game this season to catch opponents by surprise.
“The aggressive trend in the industry has collectively increased the score,” said Jay Rudd, Bali interactive odds maker. Sportsbooks simply can’t adjust their direct odds calculations fast enough to mitigate the new high-risk trend – which has seen at least nine teams score 19 goals without a goalkeeper conceding this season.
There are only a few weeks left of the National Hockey League season this year, but the 2021-22 goal stats are already staggering. According to the NHL Statistics published by Hockey Reference, the team’s average goals per game has increased this season from 2.94 in 2020-21 to 3.12 with matches played as of April 1. It is the highest goal-scoring number since 1993-94, when teams scored 3.24 goals per game.
According to sports betting sites that track NHL scores, including Scoresandodds and Covers, 53% of games this season have exceeded the excess total. The impact of this trend was confirmed by Tibiko Sportsbook Director Sunny Gupta, who said USA TODAY: “Our books and other books have been badly damaged by visitors.”
Not only that, but the NHL season has also seen a huge swing toward the nominees in most games. For the season so far, 65% of the candidates have won their matches.
Will the trend continue?
Commenting on the Stanley Cup playoffs, Rudd suggested that sports betting could get some relief through a rise in casual betting. However, he then subduedly admitted that these gamblers are in fact “usually drawn to preferred bets and more”.
We had more haves versus have-nots.”
“I hope the trend in the playoffs now that the competition is over is not unlike what it used to be – very annoying – when we had more haves versus have-nots,” USA TODAY Rod mentioned saying.
All nine teams that have scored 19 or more goals in the empty nets this season have made the playoffs. For now at least, it seems likely that Rood and Gupta’s esports writers will see more about betting during the Stanley Cup playoffs that began on May 2.