NHL Betting: Favorites’ Huge Weekend Run Torches Books

oronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano, center, celebrates with Auston Matthews, left, and John Tavares (91) their win against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on Saturday, April 16.
Image Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The saying usually goes, “Thank God it’s Friday.” In the wake of this past weekend of NHL betting, bookmakers are likely saying, “Thank God it’s Monday.”

Unless, of course, favorites keep going haywire and cashing out moneyline parlays. From Friday through Sunday, the chalk went a perfect 22-0 on the ice, including 14-0 Saturday and 6-0 Sunday.

That’ll certainly leave a red mark on sportsbooks’ bottom lines, as several oddsmakers revealed to Props on Monday.

‘Worst-Ever Day’ Of NHL Betting

Minnesota Wild left wing Marcus Foligno, left, reacts after scoring against the St. Louis Blues during the third period at Enterprise Center in St. Louis on April 16, 2022.
Image Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It all started rather innocuously, with a two-game Friday night NHL slate. The New York Islanders, -150 road favorites on the moneyline, shut out the Montreal Canadiens 3-0. And the Florida Panthers, hefty -275 home faves, hammered Winnipeg 6-1.

But then came Saturday, and things got really crazy. NHL chalk went 14-0, including two overtime victories and a shootout win. The St. Louis Blues (-115) needed extra time to beat the visiting Minnesota Wild 6-5; ditto the host Toronto Maple Leafs (-250), who edged the Ottawa Senators 5-4 in OT. Then the Seattle Kraken (-115) made it 14-for-14 for NHL favorites with a late-night 4-3 home shootout victory over the New Jersey Devils.

It was a great day for bettors, particularly for players who like to fire big moneyline parlays on favorites. On the flip side, the books took a pretty large hit, but nothing that terrible.

That changed for a few operators Sunday when the NHL favorites landslide continued with a 6-for-6 effort, stretching the streak to 22-0. All the public bettors got wind of Saturday’s big run and couldn’t resist the urge to craft NHL moneyline parlay tickets Sunday.

“Saturday was break-even,” BetMGM vice president of trading Jason Scott said. “Sunday was our worst-ever day on hockey.”

The weekend led to similar results at The SuperBook — bad in both cases — but keep in mind, Sunday had less than half as many games as Saturday.

“We had more volume Saturday, but overall dollars lost was about the same both days. Pretty ugly weekend on the ice, in terms of hold percentage,” SuperBook executive director John Murray said.

Zachary Lucas, director of retail sports for TwinSpires Sportsbook, said Saturday was worse at his shop, though both days saw bettors get paid well.

“Saturday for sure. We had a few 10-12 teamers hit,” Lucas said, before noting the book nearly got bailed out Sunday. “There were 90-95 percent ticket counts on some of these favorites, like the Wild. They won in OT (5-4 vs. San Jose). That would’ve been a huge swing if they lost.”

Favorites Of All Sizes Deliver

Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau, center, skates past the Arizona Coyotes' Barrett Hayton, right, during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Saturday, April 16.
Image Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no surprise that the big chalk contributed to the weekend NHL betting bonanza. Calgary was the biggest of those, going off at a whopping -600 at Caesars Sports for Saturday’s home game against awful Arizona. The Flames rolled 9-1.

In fact, Saturday saw a bundle of heavy favorites, with seven teams going off at -230 or greater. But the shorter faves dodging mild upsets are what got all those moneyline parlay tickets to the pay window:

— Edmonton laying -130 at home against a desperate Vegas team, and the Oilers rolling 4-0.
— Boston (-130) making two first-period goals stand up in a 2-1 home win over Pittsburgh.
— The aforementioned wins by St. Louis and Seattle in nearly pick ’em games.

Sunday’s six-game slate was similar: two chalks beyond -300, two in the -160 to -180 range, two hovering around pick, and all of them winners.

Adam Pullen, assistant director of trading for Caesars Sports, said he’s never seen anything like it.

“I can’t recall a streak like this 22-0 run in any sport,” Pullen said. “You always [a lot of favorites cash] late in the year, with some teams out of the running and others playing for something. That’s built [into] the price usually — you’re going to see favorites a little higher than they normally would be. Now, it doesn’t matter what you put them at, they can’t be high enough it seems. You’ll see it in other sports too, like if there’s a week or two in baseball where favorites are running rampant. This always happens every year, but I’ve never seen an undefeated streak for favorites to this extent.”

And again, Saturday’s huge run had customers salivating for Sunday.

“Bettors are always heavy on the faves to begin with, so Saturday’s 14-0 favorite run definitely fueled some more action on Sunday,” PointsBet USA sports analyst Mike Korn said.

Saved By The NBA, MLB And More

Seattle Kraken forward Matty Beniers (10), left, is congratulated by forward Jared McCann (16) and forward Jordan Eberle (7) after scoring his first NHL goal during the second period against the New Jersey Devils at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle on Saturday, April 16, 2022.
Image Credit: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

While NHL betting administered a good hockey fight of a beating to the books, there were other sports going on this weekend. That helped lessen the sting for oddsmakers.

“It was a crushing weekend in the NHL for us. It’s been a while since we got buried that bad on the NHL,” Korn said. “That being said, we had a good weekend with baseball and the NBA playoffs, so that was able to counter the hockey anomaly.”

The SuperBook’s Murray echoed Korn’s comments.

“It looks like bettors were more interested in NBA, baseball, and [boxing/UFC], which kept the actual dollars lost to a manageable number,” Murray said.

Needless to say, Murray was grateful something as bizarre as what happened on a weekend in April didn’t transpire during a weekend in October.

“I hope we don’t ever see a stretch of 22 straight NFL favorites covering,” he said. “That would hurt.”