As far as team sports go, hockey is not the most popular in the world but this doesn’t mean that hockey betting lines are hard to find. Practically, all great sportsbooks offer markets on the hockey’s biggest leagues, including the National Hockey League (NHL) and Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), among others.
Hockey is up there with baseball as one of the hardest sports to bet on. But just as with baseball, there are a lot of good opportunities for hockey bettors to earn a lot of money. This is especially true seeing as sportsbooks don’t pay that much attention to the sport due to it being less popular. Thus, you are more likely to find sharp bets on NHL games or other hockey matches.
If this all appeals to you, and makes you want to learn more about hockey betting today, make sure to stick around. Below we have a look at all you need to know about wagering on this famously brutal sport. This includes:
- How hockey betting lines work
- How to read odds
- Beginner betting tips
We also list all the best hockey sports betting sites so that you can get started on making hockey bets on the world’s biggest leagues as soon as you feel comfortable. So, read on and see ice hockey betting explained.
Looking for the best hockey bets tonight? Why don’t you have a look at some of our hockey betting picks for the latest upcoming games?
Hockey Betting Links
- Best Hockey Betting Sites
- Latest Hockey Betting Picks
- Hockey Betting Lines Explained
- How to Read Hockey Betting Odds
- Hockey Betting Strategy
- Best Ice Hockey Betting – FAQs
So, hockey betting isn’t all that different from other forms of betting but some people tend to get confused by terminology. In addition, there are a few unique wagers to NHL betting, which you may not be aware of. Overall, here are all the most popular bets in hockey:
A moneyline is also known as a straight-line bet and a to win bet. This is probably the simplest bet you can place on any sport. All you are doing is predicting who will win the game. Seems pretty easy, right?
However, hockey is a pretty unpredictable sport, so picking a winner in week-to-week games can be difficult. In addition, if the result does seem a bit too easy to determine (for example, you’ve got the Toronto Maple Leafs playing the Detroit Red Wings in Toronto in the 2019-20 season), you probably aren’t going to get too much by betting on the favorite. Which is why NHL puck line betting was invented.
Puck Line Betting
So, a puck line bet is similar to the run line in baseball or spread betting in football or basketball. With this bet, sportsbooks look at a game and determine a favorite and an underdog by looking at range of statistics.
They will then set the difference they expect the favorite to win by. So, for example, the line could be set at 1.5 goals. This means that bets on the favorite will only pay out if they win by two goals or more. Bets on the underdog, however, will win if they are able to lose by less than two goals or win the game.
Here is an example of what a line wager would look like at an online sportsbook:
Montreal Canadiens +1.5 (-110)
Pittsburgh Penguins -1.5 (-110)
In this line, the Penguins are the favorites to win. We can tell this by looking at the symbol next to the number of goals next to the team name. (We’ll get into how that works down below in the odds section of this page.)
Point spreads are always going to be harder to get right than moneylines but they are also a whole lot more rewarding!
A total bet is also known as the over/under. With this bet, you wager on the total number of goals scored in a game. So, the total of both teams is combined to give you a number.
Sportsbooks will set multiple lines for a game and then you can bet whether the number will come above or under this line.
There is a special type of over/under bet in hockey called the Grand Salami total. With this total, you bet on the totals of every game on a specific game day. The rewards are for getting such a bet right is huge but it is very hard.
Overall, a total bet focuses on final scores and has nothing to do with who wins the game. Many beginner bettors start with totals. They are much easier to get right than other bets but offer lower returns as a result.
Futures betting involves betting on a game or series that is due to happen sometime in the future. An example of this is wagering on who is going to win the Stanley Cup at the beginning of the regular season.
Futures betting offers great returns but at two great costs. Firstly, it is very difficult to get right. For example, at the beginning of the season, you could see that Auston Matthews scores in every Maple Leafs game he plays, and then bet on him to be the top scorer for the season. But then he suffers an injury that ends his season in the next game.
Secondly, futures tie up your money for a long period of time. Money that’s tied up isn’t money that you can bet with, so don’t focus too much on futures.
Prop bets are event-based bets rather than outcome-based bets. All this means is that it doesn’t matter who wins the game as long as the event you predict takes place during the game. You can place either team or player prop bets.
An example of a prop bet is betting on the Washington Capitals to score first in their next game. It doesn’t matter if they lose the game by the end of it all; as long as they score first, you win.
Check out our other hockey betting pages:
So, a lot of potential bettors get put off the idea of betting by when they look at odds. Although odds appear to be scary, they are actually really easy to read and understand. You are going to need to learn how they work if you are going to bet on hockey.
Essentially, there are three odds formats. We won’t get too much into it all (because we have got a dedicated odds guide for that) but all you need to know is that these three formats are American, decimal and fractional.
We will be explaining American here as that is the format our sportsbook set their default to, but you can change it. (If we’re honest, we actually like decimal best.) So, below is an example of a line using American odds:
Los Angeles Kings -123
Chicago Blackhawks +125
In American odds, you need to look at the symbol before the number as this will tell you which of the two following formulas to use to calculate your potential winnings. These are the two formulas:
- Positive – Odds x (Stake/100)
- Negative – (100/Odds) x Stake
In general, the team with a minus in front of their odds is the favorite, whereas the team with a plus is the underdog. But there can be situations in which both teams have pluses or minuses.
So, everyone is looking for the best hockey betting strategy that won’t fail. Although we believe that no such strategy exists, there are a couple of hockey betting tips that are sure to get you more wins. Here are some tips we recommend you include in your hockey betting system:
Focus on the Goaltender
So, not all that many people are aware of how important a goaltender is in hockey. Goaltenders can literally make or break games, which why you need to know who is starting on game day.
For example, Vegas Golden Knights starting goaltender Marc-André Fleury played 61 games in the 2018-19 season because his backup wasn’t as effective. In a league where goaltending duties are usually equally spread between two players, this is an absolutely insane statistic.
Schedules are Important
Before placing a bet, make sure that you look at a team’s upcoming spate of games. Teams that are in the midst of a long game day streak are more likely to lose than those that have had time to reast.
For example, if a team has played three games on the road and are en route to their fourth straight away game in a row, they are more likely to lose, even if they have been in form recently.
Don’t Fall in the Favorite Trap
A lot of new bettors have an issue with going for the favorite too often. Many often feel that if the sportsbook thinks that they are going to win, they probably are. However, this is not always true, especially in hockey, where sometimes differences may be marginal at best between two teams.
So, do yourself a favor and avoid sticking to betting on favorites as you are more likely to lose more money than you win.
Pay Attention to Key Team Metrics
There ae some metrics that have proven to help bettors get a better understanding of a team. These are usually advanced statistics such as the Fenwick and the Corsi probability stats. These are sure to help you become a better handicapper.
Betting hockey requires you to research the game and become aware of the nuances surrounding play and particular players. Overall, you need to be prepared to research team and player statistics to the nth degree to place winning bets on a regular basis.
You can make money betting on hockey by studying the game to become aware of basic betting trends. It is only through research and safe betting that one is able to become a good gambler.
A 60-minute line is a moneyline bet that ends after the regulation period is complete. So, if after 60 minutes, the game ends in a draw and overtime is needed, the sportsbook views the game as a draw. This bet is also known as a three-way moneyline.
Puck line is the specific terminology used to refer to a spread bet in hockey, similarly to a run line is baseball.
This would usually be attached to either a puck line or over/under bet. In a puck line, it would mean that an under-dog team needs to lose by less than two goals for a wager on their team to win. However, with a total bet, it means that you have bet on the game to feature more than one goal.
If your bet wins, obviously you won’t lose money on it. However, there are some bets on favorites that aren’t worth making because the amount you risk in relation to how much you could win does not justify the risk.
Check out our other sports betting guides: