Hi, folks, Bob Akmens here. Over the many years I've run a sports service, people often ask me: "what's the best sport to bet?" Pound for pound, probably the sport you can make the most money betting is hockey. This surprises many, so let's talk about why I think this is true.
First, like baseball, you don't need to cover a spread as you would in football or in hoops. These days, lines on almost all hockey sides are presented in the form of odds - not pointspreads. The great advantage to that is that you just have to win the game to win your bet. Of course, that's a double-edged sword - in both bases and on the ice. For most amateur bettors, it's not that simple to pick a team that "just" has to win. If it were, the bookies would get cleaned out by baseball and hockey bettors all the time - and they don't. It may look deceptively easy, but it can be a minefield loaded with teams that look like "locks" but end up shocking you and lose the game. But if your procedure for picking those winners is sound, you'll find that the hockey teams tend to be even more formful than, say, betting on a given baseball starter.
That's because that baseball starter - let's imagine he's a -1.50 favorite - can shutout his opponent for 6 or 7 innings, have a brilliant start - and then the bullpen fouls everything up and blows the game. But a hockey team that you might pick that's also a -1.50 favorite is priced as a team - usually with the same goalie in net for the entire game. And if you think about it, the hockey goalie is actually aiming for a shutout - unlike today's baseball starters who virtually never get shutouts anymore. So, in the NHL, you tend not to get what happens to every great pitcher several times a baseball season - a magnificent start ruined by a crappy bullpen.
There's also the reality that hockey is basically a low-scoring game with a much narrower-range of final scores than happens in baseball games. A 10-0 baseball final is really no shock; I've never even heard of a 10-0 hockey game - though they probably have occurred. This also means that the lines on over-unders (totals) are much lower - and again, in a much narrower-range - than not only in baseball, but in any other sport. By far, the most prevalent hockey totals lines will be 5 goals, 5.5 goals, or 6 goals. You just rarely see anything out of that incredibly tight-range; sometimes a 4.5, sometimes a 6.5.
And the beauty of that slim-range of lines is that it happens because there's a perceptual bias that hockey bettors have - which is very often unfounded in any given game: that almost all hockey games are supposed to be low-scoring. Here's what I mean. Let's assume the Vancouver Canucks are playing at the Chicago Black Hawks. And let's further assume that, say, the last 10 times they played in Chicago, the average amount of goals scored in each of those games was 7.2. Well, the linemakers are not going to put up a total which reflects the recent reality of that matchup; that is, a line of 7 or 7.5.
Why? Here a truth you should imprint on your brain: because the purpose of betting lines - and poinstpreads - is not to tell you who's better by how much. The purpose of all betting lines is just one thing: to try to equally split the betting-dollars so that roughly the same amount is bet on each side. Never forget that fact when you look at any line and say to yourself: "this line's out of whack." No, it isn't. Either team may win or lose by a wide margin from that line, but the line itself was not bad: because it was designed to split the betting-action. The linemakers are far from fools.
Because the linemaker cannot put up a 7.5 goal line - virtually everyone would end up betting the under on a line like that and no bookmaker would be happy with taking on that much needless risk in one game - the totals line in a game like that would probably be posted at the high-end of that 1-goal range I've spoken about: 6 goals. And if you've done your homework (and I assure you that to do so, you'd have to look at more than just this solitary stat of average scoring) and your figures support that decision, you might be wise to play the over in a game like that.
Hockey actually was a harder sport to beat with any consistency just a few years ago. And the major thing that changed that was the NHL's decision to eliminate ties and force every game to now have a winning side - either in OT or something I as a bettor detest, the infernal shootout that happens after a tied overtime. These BS shootouts are happening with alarming frequency: 58% of OT games this year are going to this whoever-gets-lucky resolution. Every hockey bettor should despise going to a shootout because at that point, taking point-blank shots, one player after another versus the other goalie is a genuine crapshoot, and anyone can and does get lucky in these shootouts. I just hate 'em. The NHL implemented this new rule - along with several other rules designed to jack up scoring - because they wanted to jazz-up the game and, in harmony with the seemingly continual and never-ending dumbing-down of American culture and society, the NHL lords insisted that every fan needed this instant-gratification of a guaranteed winner. No ties, here, sir! No boring, indecisive affairs on our ice!
Before this monumental change of 100-year-old hockey tradition, many bettors used to get what was called the puck-line, and that really was a tough nut to crack because what is now, say, a -1.60 favorite used to be a -1.5 goal favorite (meaning they had to win by 2 for you to win your bet on them). But that also meant that the underdog was a +1 goal dog. Bookies loved this miserable line - which still exits, but modified to -1.5 goals on the favorite and +1.5 goals on the dog. Think about it. If the game ended in a 1-goal win for the favorite, all bettors on the favorite lost. And at the same time, all bettors on the +1 goal dog pushed. The bookie had to pay no one - and collected from the chalk-players - what a scam! I knew bookies who would rub their hands in glee every time they booked one of those bummer-bets.
Back in 1994, the American Association of Documented Sports Services (the AADSS) - the nation's first sports-monitor - ran the very first contest in hockey for sports services. They used a consensus line (thankfully, a money-line) from the five-largest sports books in Las Vegas that offered hockey betting. Each service started with a $10,000 bankroll. When that contest ended and the results were posted at the old - and now gone - Stardust, I had over $140,000 in bankroll! Not only had I won the first-ever hockey contest for sports services, I had more than 14-tupled (since I have no idea what the correct word for that would be) my original stake. It was the highest bankroll ever attained in any AADSS contest in the 15 years they had been around at that time.
Quite an achievement. But you might say what so many people say all the time: "yeah, yeah - that's all ancient history. What have you done lately?" How about this: In April 2009, we finished #1 for the entire 7+ month NHL Regular-Season in the Best Win-Percentage, All Sides category of The Sports Monitor contest. That was the 7th-straight hockey contest where we had a #1-ranked finish. You heard right. #1 in 7 straight regular & post-season hockey contests at either The Sports Monitor or The Sports Eye. To compete against anywhere from dozens to hundreds of other services...to even lead for a single week against all that competition...then to win a 1/2-year-long contest...and then win 7 of those contests in a row...how much more consistent can you possibly be? How about 8 #1-category finishes in a row? Because that's what we followed-up with in the 2009 NHL PLayoffs: #1 in Best Bets, Win-Percentage (minimum: 10-plays) in The Sports Monitor contest. 8 straight NHL contests where we finish #1 in at least 1-category.
Now, is that a better criterion for joining a service than the guy who has a hot month and everyone is chasing his performance by living and dying (bankroll-wise) with each of his daily plays? Infinitely better. No one on earth has ever done that. No one. I'm positive. Except Bob Akmens Sports. You can live to be 100 and never see that again.
What does all this mean to you? It means that Bob Akmens Sports has the best documented record there is in hockey - long-term, short-term, any-term. It means we can make you money betting hockey.
So, I hope you'll come on board and join myself - and my many successful hockey clients - in winning lots of profits for many years to come in hockey!