Among the four major sports in USA, NHL is surely the fourth in public appreciation, and this affect the way bookmakers create the odds and set betting limits. Football or Basketball are more popular sports and the sportsbooks are less comfortable accepting bets on hockey.
What will you find in this guide:
The best way to bet on NHL
Most common betting methods on National Hockey League are Money Lines, Puck Lines (also known as “Spreads” in other sports) and Totals. They all involve the outcome of a single game and can not be changed after the start of the game.
Today we try to make you understand operation and structure of the games’ bets to give you a solid foundation and approach to NHL.
01. NHL Money lines
The odds on a typical NHL game as offered by FanDuel sportsbook for example, may look like these:
Carolina Hurricanes +105
New York Islanders -125
In this case, Islanders are the favorites and Hurricanes are the underdogs. This time you bet on the game winner, let’s see how the odds work.
The favorites are represented by a minus sign and show how much money you have to risk in order to win $100.
- NY Islanders are -125 to win
- if you place a successful $100 bet on them you win $18 [(100/125)+1=1.8]
- you also get your original $100 bet back
- total payout = $118 ($100+$18)
The underdogs are represented by a plus sign and show how much money you can win if you risk $100.
- Hurricanes are +105 to win
- if you place a successful $100 bet on them you win $20.5 [(105/100)+1=2.05]
- you also get your original $100 bet back
- total payout = $120.5 ($100+$20.5)
02. How to bet NHL puck line
When you bet on spreads or puck lines, you lay 1.5 goals with the favorite or take 1.5 goals with the underdog. Puck line is like the Run line in baseball, or spread in Football and basketball. We use the game above, where the puck lines (or point spread betting) will be like these:
Carolina Hurricanes +1.5 -250
New York Islanders -1.5 +210
In this case you bet on goals, and if you wager on the favorite, means that it has to win by a specific number of goals, otherwise, if you bet on the underdog means that they not have to lose by a specific number of goals (usually 1.5).
Related to the game above, New York Islanders are the favorite and if you bet on them, they have to beat New York by at least 2 goals in order to cover the puck line.
Conversely if you bet on Carolina Hurricanes, they must win the game or lose by less than 1 goal, if you want to win this bet. In the first case (bet on Islanders), if you risk $100 you can win $14, in the second case (bet on Hurricanes), if you place a $100 wager you can win $31.
03. Betting on totals (Over/Under)
NHL bettors have the possibility of betting on the total number of goals scored in a game, a number usually between 5 and 6.5. In the game mentioned above, these are the total lines:
Carolina Hurricanes Over 6 +105
New York Islanders Under 6 -125
If you bet on Over 6, the total number of goals must be 7 or higher, and you can win $20.5, if you bet on Under 6, the total of goals must be at least 5 or lesser, and you can win $18.
There is a big difference in betting hockey totals as opposed to the football or basketball ones. Hockey scoring is much lower than in the other two sports, the bookies do not like to change the number of a total, and instead will often adjust the odds.
Other popular NHL bets
These are the common and simple methods to place NHL bets, but as you can see on the image above, there are plenty of other types of bet, where you can find value.
You can wager on the 60 minute line outcome (team 1 win, draw or team 2 win), or the number of home and away goals, 60 minutes winning margin, race to 2, 3 or 4 goals and so on.
04. NHL propositional bets (or props)
How do you bet on NHL games? This is the way to wager on events within the event itself. They can vary from bookie to bookie but some types are nearly unanimous, such as first team to score, total of goals of every period, moneyline on every period, the possibility of an overtime, double chance, double result and many others.
05. NHL futures bet
After the end of every NHL season you will see many future bets offered by the sportsbooks, like “Winner of Stanley Cup”, “Winner of the conference”, and so on…
Be careful when you place your futures bets because your money is tied up until the end of the season and your wager is locked in at the odds you placed it at.
Betting on NHL playoff’s futures is very popular, even if these bets will not open until the playoffs has been determined. For the most part, bookmakers will close future bets once the season starts, to protect themselves from financial losses.
06. NHL parlay bets
This is a type of bet that involves multiple events, within a game or across several games. You can create custom parlays due to your experience and pleasure.
An example of a parlay is the possibility to bet on both the New York Islanders win and the Under 6 goal (totals). If you want, you can add other events to that stake to improve your payout.
Remember that in order to be successful, every single event contained in your parlay must be a winner. If you predict two out of three events correctly you will not get a dime. In the same way you can win a huge amount of money with a small bet.
07. NHL playoffs betting
How to bet and win on NHL
Do you want to make a long term profit with NHL betting? Here are the keys of a successful hockey wagering, a complete plan to set before the season start.
Early schedule’s studies
NHL season schedule is usually released in late July, even if the season starts in October. You need to go on each team’s schedule and look for the following:
- Note everytime a team plays consecutive calendar days and also if these are home or away
- Note everytime a team plays at an unusual time (sometimes they play a matinee)
- Write down every extended road trip for each team, and when western teams plays east, and vice versa
- Periods where teams play 3 games in 4 days, 4 games in 6 days and so on
These accurate studies can help you to find out games in which teams can bring their best effort, or games when they are probably tired, for example. Teams can be also focused on games against division rivals more than other teams. It you think it’s a good spot, be fast to bet when lines come out to beat the bookmaker.
Always know who’s starting in goal
Knowing the starting goalie is extremely important, because when the teams play consecutive games, often the starting goal tender do not play both of them. This change the power rating of team and sometimes can be a big drop off in the team’s performance (when the backup goalie plays).
Count out short odds on totals
Hockey totals lines are generally static, marked by the number 5, 5.5 or sometime 6. We know that about 30% of games land right on the total of 5. Games over 5 total goals are about 45% and under 5 goals occur about 25%.
A few times 4 or less goals are scored so we suggest you to avoid wagering totals when the game is lined 5.
Keep a record of your bets
If you want to become a professional bettor (and even if you do not want it), you must track every wager you make. As se already said in our NBA betting guide, is fundamental to understand your strength or weakness.
You should track team scoring, team goals and other factors. If you know how teams perform in different scenarios, you may find great spots to bet on or against them.