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Myth-Busting Every Common Betting Theory About NHL Game 7s

Apr 24, 2019 9:30 AM EDT

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin

  • The Washington Capitals have home ice and are favored in their winner-take-all showdown with the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
  • Using Bet Labs, we analyze how home teams and betting favorites perform in Game 7.

The Carolina Hurricanes staved off elimination Monday in their Game 6 matchup with the Washington Capitals. Game 7 is Wednesday in Washington (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

The Caps are the defending champs and are favored to win but the Hurricanes have Justin Williams – Mr. Game 7. Williams has the most points (14) in Game 7s of any player in NHL history.

Which teams will advance? Your guess is as good as anyone’s. Data from Bet Labs shows that it is hard to predict Game 7 winners.

Is Home Ice Advantage Real?

If you have to play a Game 7, you want it at home. With familiar surroundings and a raucous crowd, home ice should be an advantage in the postseason.

At least that’s the commonly held belief. But sleeping in your own bed the night before a do-or-die playoff game isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Since 2005, the home team is 640-525 (54.9%) in all postseason games. That is the exact same win rate as the regular season during that time: 9,192-7541 (54.9%). Home ice doesn’t create an extra edge in the playoffs and that is evident in Game 7s.

In Game 7s, the home team has gone 29-27 straight up since 2005. Small sample, of course, but compared to the NBA Playoffs, where home teams in Game 7s have a 31-13 (70.5%) record since 2005, bettors shouldn’t weigh home ice too much when picking the winner.

Can Momentum Carry Over?