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How much is the NHL home ice advantage worth to each team in the league?  It is common knowledge that playing at home is an advantage to teams in every sport, but what is not as clear is how much of an advantage it is.

We looked at every regular season NHL game since 2006 to find out how teams performed at home versus on the road.  We looked at their margin of victory/loss in each situation, then compared them to find exactly how many goals playing on home ice is worth.

If you are looking for the most simple answer to the question of how much home ice is worth, it’s about 0.28 goals per game, which is the average of every NHL team since 2006.  To us that simply doesn’t go far enough.  Each team is unique in their location, arena configuration, and fanbase, so each team should have a slightly different home ice advantage and if you know what that is you might have a big enough edge to win with your hockey betting.

We found the true home advantage for each team and listed it below.  The important thing to remember here is that this doesn’t show us who the best home teams are (you can find that by simply looking at their record and margin of victory at home), what it tells us is which teams have the biggest advantage playing at home compared to on the road.

There are some very good hockey franchises listed near the bottom of the table.  All that this means is that those teams play well both at home and on the road.  The teams at the top of the table play significantly better on their home ice than when they hit the road.

This could be because when blowing a team out you might not be trying as hard to score in the final period as you would be if the game was competitive.  If you are just trying to win the game you’d try to hold the puck and prevent the opponent from getting the puck into the net.

NHL Home Ice Advantage by Team

TeamHome RecordHome MarginRoad RecordRoad MarginIce Advantage
Blue Jackets335-3260.01264-396-0.60.31
Red Wings349-3130.18294-365-0.370.28
Golden Knights144-860.71124-1010.230.24
Maple Leafs355-3040.19291-371-0.260.23

It’s a small sample size but it does seem odd that the Seattle Kraken are worse at home than they are on the road. Again, I’m going to want to see more games come in before I make anything of it, but being an expansion franchise it might mean their fans aren’t really showing out for them like other teams in the league.

One team that doesn’t surprise me is the Las Vegas Golden Knights.  If you are a hockey fan wanting to travel and see your team on the road it would be hard to beat Vegas for the destination.  This means at Knights games you will frequently see the stands filled with away jerseys.

However, on the other hand you might think there could be an edge there with opposing players getting caught up in the nightlife.

The Knights are a really good team, but that’s evidenced by how they’ve played on the road more so than any edge by being in Sin City.

As you can see it’s quite the advantage getting to play in from of the home team’s fans.  That is why when it comes to the playoffs you don’t want to be the visiting team, you want as many games played in front of your fans as possible.  That is why the odds to win the Stanley Cup are usually skewed towards the teams getting more series at home than on the road.

When handicapping the NHL you should realize that where the game is played gives some teams a significant advantage.  You probably can’t develop a winning betting strategy based off a simple home/road split, but it should be given a little extra weight in case you are already liking a side.

What Causes Home Ice Advantage in Hockey?

I think the number one factor in determining the edge the home team has is with travel.  If you are traveling a short distance and staying in the same time zone, you won’t be behind the eight ball when going on the road.

However, if you are going from the East Coast all the way to the West Coast, playing a late game with a three hour time zone difference than what you are used to that’s a big difference.  Not to mention the wear and tear from flying on a plane.

The other thing that really matters is attendance.  Some arenas are setup to be loud and have a lot of crowd involvement.  Some home supporters are more fanatical than others and this can give the home team a psychological edge.

Home teams can also try to change the speed of the ice to fit how their team performs.  I heard rumors that back in the day teams would slant the ice to make sure the visitors are skating uphill the entire game while the home team is going downhill.

There are rule advantages to being the home team too.

The first is the last change rule where during stoppages in play the home team makes their substitutions after the visiting team.  This allows the home team to matchup with who the visitors are sending out onto the ice.

The face-off also gives the edge to the home team.  The player able to place his stick last gains the ability to time the puck drop better and win more face-offs.  The second player can also see what the first player might try to do on the draw, giving them a little more info to come up with a strategy to win.

And lastly if the game is tied after the overtime period it goes into a shootout.  Each team gets three shootout attempts but the home team has the benefit of choosing of going first or second, so they can go last and see what the other team does.  If the score remains tied after three attempts the shootout continues with a sudden-death format.

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Home Advantage in Other Sports