NHL Winter Classic Betting Guide: Preview, Statistics & Picks

Updated: 214 Ice Hockey

The 2025 NHL Winter Classic will take place on the traditional New Year's Day, the game will take place at Wrigley Field in Chicago with the Blackhawks hosting the St. Louis Blues.

NHL Winter Classic Betting Guide: Preview, Statistics & Picks
Andy Powell Content Editor

Horse Racing stats man, Andy has contributed to OLBG for 18 years - An Ipswich fan and F1 fanatic, he also contributes EFL football and Motor Sport opinion.

NHL Winter Classic

The MLB has the Fourth of July, the NFL has Thanksgiving and when it comes to the NHL, they have New Year's Day and the Winter Classic! This one-off game which is played on or around New Year's Day is not played in the host's arena, this unique game is played at an outside sporting venue within the host's area which is usually a baseball park or football stadium that is then converted into a makeshift skating rink for the match!

Who's playing in the NHL Winter Classic? The 2025 Winter Classic will take place at Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs with the Blackhawks hosting the Blues.

Useful NHL Winter Classic Links

  1. Free NHL Picks
  2. Best NHL Handicappers
  3. Recommended Hockey Sportsbooks
  4. Other NHL Betting Blogs

2008 was the first time we got to witness this fantastic event. It took place at the then Ralph Wilson Stadium which is home to the Buffalo Bills and now under the name of the Highmark Stadium in which the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in a shootout in front of a crowd of 71,217 at the time was a record attendance and is now the third biggest attendance this series has seen.

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The biggest attendance in the history of the NHL came at the 2014 Winter Classic when there were 105,491 fans, which is almost twenty thousand more than the next best which was 85,630 at the 2020 Winter Classic. The NHL record during the 2014 Winter Classic is not the actual record for ice hockey in the USA, the 'The Big Chill at the Big House' in 2010 at the same venue as the 2014 Winter Classic produced a crowd of 113,411 when Michigan Wolverines beat rivals Michigan State Spartans 5-0.

One factor of the Winter Classic which proves very popular with fans is the throwback sweaters, the two teams competing in the game generally reintroduce a sweater from back in the day and wear it in the one-off game. The whole build-up and the day itself is just an enjoyable experience and more than just hockey, it's about bringing entertainment and joy to the fans.

There is no fixed selection process which means you are not going to get Eastern Conference vs Western Conference each year, some years you will get teams from the same conference, it's more a case of picking the most popular teams to play in the Winter Classic.

Past NHL Winter Classics

The change of venue seems to upset a few of the 'Home' teams, they might still be playing in the vicinity of their official arena but losing that 'home ice advantage' seems to be the case as from the fifteen previous NHL Winter Classics, the home side has won just six of those meaning the visiting team have been successful in 60% of the matches (9-15) which seems to show the home sides losing that home arena advantage although they have now won three of the last four.

The Chicago Blackhawks have made the joint-most appearances at the winter classic, four times they have featured, however, unfortunately for them, they have gone on to lose all four of those games! Their appearance in the 2023 game moved the Boston Bruins on to four appearances too, they do however, have a much better record having gone on to win three of those.

The Blues, Rangers, and Capitals have a 2-0 record whilst joining the Blackhawks with multiple games without winning at the Sabres and Flyers who are both 0-2.

Here are the last ten Winter Classic winners:

YearVenueTeamsScore
2024
47,313
T-Mobile Park
Baseball
Seattle Kraken
Vegas Golden Knights
3
0
2023
39,243
Fenway Park
Baseball
Boston Bruins
Pittsburgh Penguins
2
1
2022**
38,519
Target Field
Baseball
Minnesota Wild
St. Louis Blues
4
6
2020
85,630
Cotton Bowl
College Football
Dallas Stars
Nashville Predators
4
2
2019
76,126
Notre Dame Stadium
College Football
Chicago Blackhawks
Boston Bruins
2
4
2018
41,821
Citi Field
Baseball
Buffalo Sabres
New York Rangers
2
3 (OT)
2017
46,556
Busch Stadium
Baseball
St. Louis Blues
Chicago Blackhawks
4
1
2016
67,246
Gillette Stadium
American Football
Boston Bruins
Montreal Canadiens
1
5
2015
42,832
Nationals Park
Baseball
Washington Capitals
Chicago Blackhawks
3
2
2014*
105,491
Michigan Stadium
College Football
Detroit Red Wings
Toronto Maple Leafs
2
3 (SO)

*The 2013 edition was postponed due to the lockout and played in 2014 instead
**The 2021 edition was postponed due to the pandemic and was played in 2022 instead

NHL Winter Classics Betting Picks

As pointed out above, the home team seems to lose any home advantage for this series, which is more than likely because they are not playing at their usual arena, the support will still be there, in fact, they will probably have more support than normal with the larger stadium being used. Take the 2022 game, the Wilds home at the Xcel Energy Center holds about 18k fans whilst at Target Field there were 38,519 so there was a lot more supporting watching, and cheering on.

The goal line in ice hockey is set at 5.5 goals and looking back over past encounters, three of the last five have gone over (2-4, 4-2 & 4-6), however, before that 9 of the 10 games all went under 5.5 goals, between 2008 & 2018, the only game to go over was the 2009 game when the Red Wings beat the Blackhawks 6-4 at Wrigley Field.

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It's worth noting that five of the six victories that the home sides have won have come at baseball stadiums where the home team has a 5-3 record and when playing at football stadiums their record is just 1-5.

The winter classic is just one game in a long season for the NHL and our handicappers have you covered throughout the season, we have a dedicated page set up to highlight only the best tipsters, our NHL Best Handicappers page will highlight only tipsters who have shown a profit over the past year and those who currently have open tips. Of course, you can also head over to the NHL Predictions page for daily picks during the season, see which outcomes are most picked, and also read our tipster's NHL analysis.

NHL Winter Classic Transformation

Ever wondered how a stadium is transformed to host the NHL Winter Classic? This timelapse is of the transformation of the Michigan Stadium for the record-breaking 2014 Winter Classic which attracted over 100k fans!

Author Information

Andrew Powell manages our hockey analysis articles, meticulously updating the data for our hockey content on OLBG

Noah Strang

Noah Strang

Hockey editor

🥅🏒 Our stateside Hockey specialist, Noah knows just about all there is to know about the NHL and covers the NHL for various publications in Canada - Our go-to guy for our Hockey content.
Andy Powell

Andy Powell

Content editor

Andy also possesses a keen interest in American sports with a particular affinity for the NFL and the NHL. He follows the Pittsburgh Penguins, emphasizing his broad palette for diversified sporting events.

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