NHL Betting: Why Game 7’s Are So Hard To Predict?



There is an old saying that, “Game 7 are the best two words in hockey”. The players might prefer “we won”, but that’s an entirely different matter altogether. Hockey fans love the idea of the winner-take-all series finale. However, the only problem is that Game 7’s in the NHL are extremely difficult for bettors to predict. Here is a look at why NHL Game 7’s are so hard to predict.

Home Advantage

Home advantage is talked about a lot across professional sports. However, the numbers indicate home advantage in hockey isn’t nearly as significant as it is in other sports. Consider that since 2005, the home team has won around 55.5-percent of all NHL playoff games. That is up slightly from the regular season mark, which is around 54.9-percent. However, it is still not at significant as in some other sports and the number dips even further in Game 7’s. Since 2005, the home teams in Game 7’s have posted a 26-25 record straight up. The Pittsburgh Penguins win over the Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of this year’s Eastern Conference Finals pushed that number above .500. Consider that in the NBA the home teams have posted a 28-11 record in Game 7’s over that same span. The fact that the home advantage isn’t nearly as significant in NHL Game 7’s makes those games that much more difficult to predict.

Momentum

There has definitely been a lot of talk about momentum throughout the NHL playoffs. However, a closer look at the numbers reveals there really isn’t much to that idea when it comes to Game 7’s. Teams that won Game 6 in an NHL playoff series have gone on to win Game 7 only 52-percent of the time. Since 2005, the teams that won Game 6 have posted a 25-23 straight-up record in Game 7.

The Favorite

The factor that is closest to being a true indicator of what to expect in a Game 7 might be the favorite. Since 2005, the favorites have posted a 27-21 record in Game 7, which translates to a 56.3-percent success rate. That is by far the best result among the three categories that we have discussed to this point. However, even that number is slightly down when you consider that the favorites have won 60-percent of the first six games of a playoff series since 2005. That disparity indicates that while Game 7 favorites tends to win more than they lose, the favorites are still less reliable than they are for Games 1 through 6 of a playoff series.

Outlook

The numbers are further proof of why it is so difficult to predict an NHL Game 7. Home ice advantage and momentum offer virtually nothing in terms of potential indicators for what to expect in Game 7. Meanwhile, the favorites tend to win Game 7 more often than not but even that number is lower than it would be when measuring the success of favorites from Game 1 through 6 in the playoffs. The fact that NHL Game 7’s are so difficult to predict probably adds to the excitement among fans. However, it also makes things that much more difficult for the bettors that are looking to make money by picking the winners of those games.