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Will Teams Struggle After Their Bye Week Once Again In 2018?

If you’re a bettor and were quick to catch onto the trend that surrounded teams coming off their 2017 NHL bye week, you made a killing.

In the first year that the NHL rolled out a mandated 5-day break for all teams (including practices), teams playing their first games following their bye week posted a combined record of 10-16-4.

But when those clubs were facing teams who weren’t also coming off the bye (Rangers/Maple Leafs and Canucks/Sharks last year), the record of teams coming off a bye drops to 8-14-4, a winning percentage of 30.7%.

2017 NHL Bye Week Stats

Those records don’t even begin to tell the entire story. Here are some more 2017 NHL bye week stats involving teams playing their first game after the bye week against teams who weren’t coming off a bye.

  • If you bet $100 against every team coming off its bye week last season, you would have profited approximately $1800*
  • The Flyers (versus New Jersey), Flames (Arizona), Kings (Arizona) and Hurricanes (Colorado) all lost at home as favourites of -200 or higher
  • Only 5 teams coming off their bye week won in regulation time
  • Teams playing their first game following a bye were outscored 87-68
  • Teams playing their first game following a bye were outscored 31-25 in the first period
  • If you bet the first period moneyline against teams coming off their bye week, you would have gone 13-6 with 7 pushes (ties)
  • If you bet Over in every game involving a team coming off a bye week, you would have gone 14-8 with 4 pushes
  • The shooting percentages of teams playing their first game following a bye was 6.6% (7.7% if you include Rangers/Leafs and Canucks/Sharks, who were facing rusty goalies), a decrease of 2.1% from the full-season average of 8.7%
  • The save percentages of goaltenders playing their first game following a bye was .903, a decrease of .010 from the full-season average of .913

* Risking $100 on underdogs and betting to win $100 on favourites

NHL Is Aware Of How Teams Struggled After Bye Week

There was plenty of media coverage last year about how NHL teams struggled following their bye week, especially after the first 18 teams posted a mark of 3-11-4 in their first game back from the break.

The National Hockey League acknowledged that teams were a disadvantage when playing their first game following 5+ days off (“We don’t think it worked well,” commissioner Gary Bettman told the USA Today during the annual general managers meeting), and made changes in 2017-18 to address them.

Instead of staggering bye weeks across January, February and March as they did last year, the NHL has scheduled each team’s bye week to take place during a two-week stretch in January. There will also be less games pitting teams off their bye against teams who are playing with regular rest.

But there are still matchups involving teams off their bye against teams who are in their normal routine. The biggest benefactors look to be the Vegas Golden Knights, who get to play the Predators, Panthers and Lightning in those teams’ first games back.

(Let the expansion team softer schedule conspiracy theories resume.)

However, Vegas also has to come off its bye to play the Oilers, who will begin their bye following that game.

2018 NHL Bye Week Schedule: Each Team’s First Game Back

Below is a full listing of when every NHL team will play its first game after its bye week in 2018.

We’ve also highlighted games in which a team coming off a bye will face a team that isn’t coming off their bye, just in case you want to try and capitalize on this trend once again.

(It’ll be interesting to see how the oddsmakers adjust to this as well, since NHL teams’ struggles after their bye is hardly a secret to anyone.)

NHL teams first game after bye week