TSI 021: A NHL Betting Strategy Called "The Streak Breaker Play"




Audio version

Hello savvy sports investors, I feel like today is going to be a great episode that will bring a ton of value to all of you!

I’m actually going to unveil an interesting hockey betting strategy that I call “The NHL Streak Breaker Play”.

Hopefully, it will help grow your bankroll, even if you know nothing about hockey or the NHL because, as you will see, it is pretty simple to follow. You don’t need to know anything about the teams and their players. You don’t need to keep track of injuries, starting goaltenders or days of rest. It’s really a great method for making money from NHL betting.

The strategy basically answers the intuitive question I asked myself a while ago, which goes as follows:

Considering the public’s tendency to overreact to recent results, should we bet on NHL teams which are currently on a losing streak facing a team riding a winning streak?

All right, so let’s see if we can profit from this proposal!

Before we dive into the details, I’m thrilled to announce that this episode is sponsored by Intertops, the sportsbook that has accepted the world’s first ever online sports bet! I’ve also had an account with them since the late 1990s, so I’m glad they have accepted to support my sports betting business.

1. Basic Exploration

First of all, you should note that the results presented in this article come from a dataset containing information about all NHL games from the nine (9) seasons covering the 2007/2008 to 2015/2016 period.

Let’s kick off this study with a very simple analysis: we are betting $1 on each team coming off at least one loss playing against a team coming off at least one win. Here are the results:

  • Record = 2533-2767 (win percentage = 47.8%)
  • Profit = -$202.16 (ROI = Return On Investment = -3.8%)

To put these numbers in perspective, how much money would we have won or lost from using the opposite strategy (i.e. betting on teams coming off at least one win facing a team coming off at least one loss)? The answer is: -$181.43 (-3.4%). As you can see, the initial suggested strategy is not doing any better than the opposite plan. We are not off to a good start, but please hang on because the sun is about to shine!

From now on, I will use odds with “reduced juice”. In my dataset, when two teams were evenly matched the juice was 20 cents (for example -110 versus -110 in American format, which is the equivalent of 1.91 lines in decimal format). That is not representative of the reality as you can obtain much better odds simply by playing with sportsbooks like Pinnacle or 5Dimes. Also, if you have an account with multiple bookies you can get even better odds by shopping for the best line. Consequently, I have adjusted odds in my dataset so that we are now getting -105 lines (1.95 in decimal format) when both teams are equally likely to win the match.

With reduced juice, the profit numbers above become -$100.95 (-1.9%) when betting the team on a losing streak versus -$89.98 (-1.7%) when betting the team on a winning streak.

2. Length of the Winning and Losing Streaks

All right, let’s now refine our analysis to see if we can find a winning strategy. But first I’d like to introduce a little bit of notation to simplify the writing for the remainder of this report:

  • w = number of games from the winning streak
  • l = number of games from the losing streak
  • Teams W = teams coming off at least one win
  • Teams L = teams coming off at least one loss

Let’s study the performance of the suggested strategy both as a function of “w” and “l”. Ideally, we’d like to see our winnings increase as these two variables go up. In plain English, are we making more money when backing a team on a big losing streak facing a team on a big winning streak?

Let’s start by focusing exclusively on the performance of the suggested strategy as a function of “w”, the number of consecutive wins by the team we are betting against, also called “fading”:


(team we are fading)

Profit Teams L

# Games


























As you can see, most of the damage is done when fading teams on a 1-game winning streak. If we remove those cases and only bet when Team W is coming off at least 2 wins, we are earning +$30.34 which yields a +0.6% ROI. Such a return on investment is very small, but at least we are not losing anymore! We’re talking about a VERY SIMPLE strategy here: bet teams coming off at least one loss facing a team coming off at least two straight wins. That’s it!

Let’s turn our attention to the performance of the suggested strategy as a function of “l”, the number of consecutive losses by the team we are backing:


(team we are backing)

Profit Teams L

# Games


























We observe a similar pattern to the one we saw earlier, where the vast majority of the losses occur in the first row. If you remove the cases where we backed teams coming off a single loss, the profit becomes positive: +$12.93 (ROI = +0.2%). Again, the benefit is small but at least we are not throwing money out the window anymore!

The natural question that might have popped into your head at this point is the following: what happens if we remove all cases of w = 1 and l = 1 simultaneously? In other words, what is the performance of the strategy consisting of betting teams coming off at least 2 straight losses when playing against a club riding a winning streak of at least 2 matches? The answer: 662 bets won, 708 bets lost (a 48.3% success rate on a total of 1370 games) with a +$51.97 profit for a +3.8% ROI. Things are getting more interesting, right?

3. The Road/Home Split

I have read an article online claiming that betting all visiting teams over the last 10 years led to a ROI of -0.7%, as opposed to -3.1% when betting all home teams. I figured I would check if our strategy leads to better returns when backing road versus home teams.

Let me reveal the general conclusion right away: the road/home split does not affect the results at all.

Let’s start by showing the performance of the initial idea which recommended backing any team coming off a loss when facing a team coming off a win:

  • When the backed team was on the road: Profit = -$41.28 (-1.5%)
  • When the backed team was at home: Profit = -$59.67 (-2.3%)

Notice how the sum is -$41.28 – $59.67 = -$100.95, which is the same figure we showed earlier. As you can see, the results were equally bad in both cases.

How about the road/home split of our latest recommended strategy, which claims you should back teams who have lost at least 2 games in a row versus a team riding a winning streak of at least 2 games? Here are the results:

  • When the backed team was on the road: Profit = +$29.50 (+4.5%)
  • When the backed team was at home: Profit = +$22.47 (+3.2%)

Again, no statistical difference between the two situations so this factor seems irrelevant for the sake of our investigation.

4. The Odds Split

Is the suggested betting strategy performing better for a certain set of odds? That question came to my mind after realizing we may be winning less, or even losing money, on teams where the odds were pretty high. Not because the system does not work, but simply because the vigorish (the casino’s commission) is bigger in these instances. Let’s see the results, still based on the strategy which consists of betting any team on a losing streak of 2+ games facing a team coming off at least 2 consecutive wins:


# Games


1.67 or less



(1.67 - 1.77]



(1.77 - 1.84]



(1.84 - 1.92]



(1.92 - 1.97]



(1.97 - 2.06]



(2.06 - 2.16]



(2.16 - 2.255]



(2.255 - 2.36]



(2.36 - 2.46]



(2.46 - 2.59]



(2.59 - 2.71]



(2.71 - 2.79]



(2.79 - 2.89]



(2.89 - 2.99]



(2.99 - 3.11]



(3.11 - 3.26]



(3.26 - 3.56]



Above 3.56







It looks like my initial fear of losing money on teams where the odds were high was wrong. We are earning a profit in 5 of the 6 highest odds categories. Only the last grouping led to negative results. However, the losses were fairly small so I leave it up to you to decide if you wish to avoid cases where you are backing a team with odds above 3.56 in decimal format (+256 in American format).

We notice that the strategy yields negative results for decimal odds of 2.36 or less (+136 or less in American format). Here is the actual breakdown:

  • Decimal odds of 2.36 or less: -$19.06 on 887 games (ROI = -2.1%)
  • Decimal odds over 2.36: +$71.03 on 483 games (ROI = +14.7%)

There is a striking difference among the two splits, and it appears like the recommended strategy works best when backing an underdog (which cannot be too small of an underdog).

5. Final Word

Here is a summary of the betting strategy called “The NHL Streak Breaker Play”.

Bet all NHL teams coming off at least two straight losses when facing an opponent coming off at least two consecutive wins, but only if the decimal odds are 2.37 or above (+137 in American format). The estimated ROI (Return On Investment) on such bets is +14.7%.

I would like to end this analysis by putting the results in perspective. You may wonder how much one can expect to earn during one full NHL season by following this strategy. The truth is you won’t get super rich because there aren’t that many games meeting the three required criteria for betting. We made 71.03 units over 9 seasons, which amounts to around 8 units per year. Therefore, if you are a $100 bettor, you can thus expect to make an $800 profit during one NHL season. Nothing to get overly excited about, but a smart gambler needs to find several such angles in order to become a truly successful sports investor.

If you enjoyed this sports betting strategy-based article and would like to kept up-to-date on my future work including more betting strategies about the NHL-NBA-NFL to come in the near future, you can either signup to my mailing list (at the bottom of the homepage) or join my Facebook group.

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Thanks for reading this report and don’t hesitate to contact me for comments/questions!

Professor MJ