Online NHL Betting Implications for Winter Olympics

Posted by: Mike Davis

As we plunge deeper into the online NHL betting season, hockey sportsbook fans will want to have something to remind them of the season. The latest news involving the Olympics does just that.

As we had previously covered, the NHL was seriously considering withholding their players from competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics. The league claimed that the Olympics didn’t provide the same kind of exposure for the NHL as they had in previous years, and that risking their player’s health was an unnecessary risk.

However, the latest news released this Wednesday shed some light on how the league currently feels about the situation. In the end, the NHL decided to prohibit their players from competing in the Olympics. This is certainly a blow to players who bet on NHL games, but the league put forth a provision to allow some of the nation’s talent to play for their national teams.

The league announced this past Wednesday that AHL players can be loaned out to their national teams for the upcoming Winter Olympics. However, players who are currently under a two-way standard contract will be barred from competing. This ruling is in line with the league’s decision to withhold its own players from competing. Likewise, the AHL players who do have eligibility can only be loaned from February 5th-26th.

The Winter Olympics will begin its men’s hockey tournament on February 9th and it will conclude with the gold medal finals on February 25th – so the dates set forth by the league coincide perfectly with the actual online NHL betting competition.

While this revelation plays poorly for the US National team, it actually helps out Canada. Since most of the top US-born players play within the NHL, the US National team will not be able to call upon them. On the flip side, most of Canada’s professionals play for European leagues. In short, this ruling is crippling the competition while leaving their team unfazed.

This might lead the online NHL betting odds to peg Canada as the favorite ahead of the upcoming Winter Olympics. The Canadian team will be competing in a series of exhibition games in Russia next month, showcasing the aforementioned roster of European-based professionals. This will give sportsbook players an opportunity to scope out a potential betting favorite.

The Canadian coaching staff will be announced later this month, before the team gets set to compete in Sochi and St. Petersburg in August, the Channel One Cup in Moscow in mid-December. Those who are itching to watch these players can see many of the Canadian players that will make up the national team compete in the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland over Christmas break.

Because most of Canada’s top-talent is based in Europe, Canadian players who compete in the AHL will have a hard time cracking the National team. Here’s what a Hockey Canada source told reporters:

“We would have to scout and see who is available and how they compare to the players available in Europe. The top guys would be of interest but we would need to be careful they could fit in that late in process.”