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NHL Betting Trends: Debunking Myth of Cross-Country Games

NHL teams are profitable in the first game of a cross-country road trip.
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This content was produced in partnership with The Hockey News' sponsor, BetMGM.

Three days after a home loss to the Calgary Flames on April 6, the Anaheim Ducks took the ice at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia looking to avoid a 14th loss in their last 15 games.

It was their first (and only) trip to Philadelphia this season – a 5-hour, 2,400-mile flight from Southern California – and first game in the Eastern time zone in five weeks.

It was the 209th regular-season NHL game in the last 10 seasons (since 2012-13) in which a team from the Mountain or Pacific time zones played a road game in the Eastern time zone after playing their previous game in the Mountain or Pacific time zones, i.e., the first game of an East Coast trip.

Conventional wisdom says the West Coast teams should suck in these cross-country games.

Conventional wisdom is wrong.

In NHL betting, road teams are profitable in these spots:

  • Puck line ROI: -0.4%
  • Moneyline ROI: +2.7%
  • Total ROI: +1.1%

If you bet $100 on the road puck line and moneyline in each of the 209 games, you’d be up $500 on 408 bets, which includes a profit of approximately $195 from the Ducks on April 9. They covered +1.5 (-250) in a moneyline (-105) win over the Flyers, 5-3.

And conventional wisdom is demolished when the map is flipped.

There have been 275 regular-season games in the last 10 seasons in which a team from the Eastern time zone played a road game in the Mountain or Pacific time zones after playing their previous game in the Eastern time zone, i.e., the first game of a West Coast/mountain trip.

Road teams are very profitable in these spots:

  • Puck line ROI: +8.2%
  • Moneyline ROI: +6.3%
  • Total ROI: 7.3%

If you bet on $100 on the road puck line and moneyline in each of the 275 games, you’d be up $3,993 on 550 bets.

Historically, there are situations in which teams struggle in the first game after a long trip (e.g., sizable moneyline favorites are in the red), but, as a whole, it’s a myth in NHL betting.

Some upcoming cross-country games:

  • April 16: Blue Jackets at Kings
  • April 16: Hurricanes at Avalanche
  • April 18: Capitals at Avalanche
  • April 18: Senators at Kraken

You can view updated NHL odds and more online sports betting opportunities at the BetMGM sportsbook.

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