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NHL preseason betting: Taking advantage of market volatility

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The NHL preseason is right around the corner, starting on Saturday, September 24. The preseason market is one that I love betting into. Preseason games have an opportunity for line movement with high volatility, at a larger scale than expected line movement for regular season and playoff games. With the right market timing, this can be exploited effectively.

What makes the preseason line movement move so much? Lineup news. The inability to predict lineups before the lineup news creates the opportunity to jump on bets prior to line movement, which has the potential to be significant. For example, Team X announces they are sitting their top-four skaters, while their opponent, Team Y, decides to dress their full lineup. The opening line for this matchup is -110, but after the lineup news catches steam, market-making sportsbooks quickly move their line to Team Y -150. A recreational sportsbook could be a minute or two slow, and -110 is still available to take. 

In this example, with the right timing, you can grab -110 (52.35% implied probability) for a game that quickly moves to -150 (60.00% implied probability), for a 7.65% closing line edge. Edges like this can be achieved with preseason lines more frequently than regular season lines. 

There is criticism against betting on preseason games, which is understandable. With the uncertainty of ice time and effort of veteran and star players, it makes sense to just simply avoid preseason action. 

With the possibility of taking advantage of big swings in line movement, it is worth betting into this market if the opportunity presents itself. Of course, do not place the bet after the line moves, since all the value is gone. As always, keep your stakes at a level you can afford to lose. If you are new to preseason betting, monitor the lines and news, and see if you can take advantage.