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Online NHL Betting: an Expert Guide to Hockey Betting

Posted by Chris Spencer on
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NHL Hockey is an exciting opportunity for sports bettors, especially when the weather dips, in those cold months between football and baseball season. Beyond the NHL, sports betting sites  offer fans wagering opportunities far beyond the NHL, with the German DHL, Russian KHL and Swedish SHL often included. Read on for everything you need to know about betting.

Our NHL betting guide covers:

  • The best hockey betting sites for Canadian players
  • Different NHL bet types, & NHL betting lines
  • Recommended NHL betting strategies
  • FAQ’s about how to bet on the NHL

Best NHL Hockey Betting Sites for US Players

Our experts have created a list of the industry’s best sites for NHL betting in the United States:

Online NHL Hockey Bet Types

NHL Moneyline Betting

NHL Moneyline Betting

Bet on who wins the game

Betting the moneyline in hockey is very simple, and requires players to bet on who will win the game. This means that inexperienced bettors should focus on learning how this type of wager works.

When you bet on the moneyline, your goal is to guess which team will win the game. NHL betting lines are marked with an integer (+ or -) which indicates which team is the favorite and which team is the underdog. The positive (+) team is the underdog, while the negative (-) team is favored to win.

The difference between betting on a moneyline and betting on the point spread is pretty basic — when betting on the moneyline, you bet on who will win, while a point spread involves how much the favored pick wins by. NHL betting is mainly a moneyline type of game.

NHL Moneyline Example

For example, let’s say this is the moneyline:

  • Red Wings +190
  • Maple Leafs -225

In this example, the Red Wings are the underdog, and the Maple Leafs are expected to win. To win $100 wagering on the Maple Leafs, you’d need to place a $225 bet, as they are the heavy favorites. Conversely, a $100 wager on the Red Wings would return $190 profit, as they’re expected to lose, and therefore pay more.

Tip: Betting $100 on a positive line (+) allows you to win the amount listed on the site, while betting on a negative line (-) requires you to put the amount determined by the sportsbooks at risk for a chance to win $100.

Puckline Betting

Puckline Betting

Wager on the favorite team winning by two goals or more

Betting a “puckline” is hockey’s version of spread betting. Essentially, it is a wager that the favored team will win the game by a set number of goals – or more.

The payouts for moneyline bets depend on who the favorite is and who the underdog is. The underdog will always offer a higher payout due to being viewed by oddsmakers as the inferior team, while the favorite will offer a lower payout, as oddsmakers expect them to win.

NHL Puckline Betting Example

Let’s say these are the odds:

  • Rangers +1.5
  • Canadians -1.5

In this instance, the Canadiens would need to win by two goals or more in order for your ticket to pay as a winner.

Over/Under, or Totals Betting

Over/Under, or Totals Betting

Bet on the combined score of both teams

Wager not on the favored team, but if the combined score of both teams is over or under the amount posed by the sportsbook.

Over/under bets are also known as totals bets due to the fact that the purpose of the bet is to predict whether the combined score of both teams will be higher or lower than the number posted by the sportsbook.

In most cases, the total is set at 6. In this example, cashing on the over bet means the two teams combined to score at least seven goals. And the under would payout if the final score was less than 6.

Over/Under Betting Example

Here’s an over/under NHL betting example. Let’s say the total is set at 6.5  for a game between the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens:

Toronto vs. Montreal

  • Over 6.5 (-110)
  • Over 6.5 (-110)

Numbers in brackets show the odds of each bet. Here, both are at -100, which means it’s an even bet. If Toronto wins with a 5-2 score, the total is 7, which means the over hits since 7 is greater than 6.5.

Parlay Betting

Parlay Betting

Bet on multiple outcomes, at once

Simply put, a parlay means you can place several wagers at once on a single ticket — However, if you lose on even one your bets, you lose all the money you’ve wagered.

Every site allows bettors to parlay their bets to offer moneyline, over/under and puck line bets on a single ticket. If one of your predictions is wrong, you lose all the money that you’ve invested. However, the more bets you make on your ticket, the more money you can win.

Consequently, parlays are widely considered to be best suited for experienced bettors who know how to limit the risk.

Parlay Bet Example

Here’s an example of bets that might be on your parlay ticket:

  • You bet on Montreal to beat Toronto
  • You also bet on Boston to beat Chicago

For this ticket to pay as a winner, both Montreal & Boston must win – if either lose, you lose the entire ticket. However, because of the associated risks, parlay bets carry much higher payouts.

First Period Betting

First Period Betting

Bet on the score for the first period only

First period wagers aren’t as popular as typical moneylines or puck lines, but they provide you with an interesting alternative to traditional bet types. In a bet of this type, only the results of the first 20 minutes of the match matter.

Usually, you’re allowed to put your money on a first-period moneyline or a 0.5 spread. But some sportsbooks offer second and third-period betting, which tends to be all about picking the team that has the highest score by that point in the game.

First Period Betting Example

For this example, let’s say the Vancouver Canucks are playing against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Canucks are the favored team. The odds favor the Canucks at (-200), so you place a $100 bet the Canucks will lead in the first period. They do 1-0, so you win $50, for a total of $150 back (you get the money you wagered back, too).

Hockey Props Betting

Hockey Props Betting

Bet on anything but the final score

Prop bets allow you to bet on elements of the game besides the final score, ranging from which player scores first, to who sings the national anthem.

The term “proposition bets,” or “prop bets,” refers to all the bets that aren’t covered by any of the categories listed above. Props allow you to put your money on the many elements of the game that aren’t connected with the final score.

Hockey Props Betting Example

For example, many sports betting sites offer props that allow you to wager on the first player to score, the shot totals or the first team to score.

NHL Futures Betting, or, Stanley Cup Odds

NHL Futures Betting, or, Stanley Cup Odds

Bet on future outcomes of future NHL hockey events.

Wager on the future of hockey, for the NHL, one of the biggest futures going is the Stanley Cup.

Sportsbooks open lines on a variety of futures bets before the start of every NHL season. Who will win the Stanley Cup, who will win the Eastern and Western conference titles and where will a free agent be playing next season, to name a few. Betting the over/under on a team’s points total for the upcoming NHL season is another popular futures bet.

Futures bets also include individual postseason player awards.  These will also allow you to select a “FIELD” option, offering flexibility if you believe a player stands to win who is not listed as an option.

Hockey Futures Wager Example

Who will win the Stanley Cup, who will win the Eastern and Western conference titles and where will a free agent be playing next season, to name a few. Betting the over/under on a team’s points total for the upcoming NHL season is another popular futures bet.

NHL Live Betting

NHL Live Betting

Bet on moneylines, pucklines and totals in real-time.

Bet on props, over/unders and pucklines once the game begins.

The top hockey betting sites offer live betting on NHL games. Like the name suggests, these bets are only available after the puck drops and the action starts. You can make all your standard NHL bets, such as moneyline, puckline, and totals. These odds are controlled by an algorithm that centers on the time remaining, score and volume of bets made.

NHL Live Betting Example

The odds and wagers listed for live betting options on an online sportsbook essentially look similar to the examples above, only, live.

Recommended NHL Betting Strategies

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Statistics: know them, but don’t necessarily live by them

Obviously, if you’re into sportsbetting, you’re likely into statistics. When it comes to hockey betting, however, if you live by the sword, you can die by the sword. Let’s explain.

Be sure the statistics you collect come from a reputable source, and, are timely and relevant at that. For example, are you looking at states from ESPN, TSN or even stats from the official NHL site? Many betting sites will have some sort of stats available, but be sure you’re not wasting time studying numbers that might not help you make an informed bet.

When it comes to stats, as a bettor you should also make note of which stats are most useful to you. Some statistics, like the fact that a team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup for the past 10 years might not be useful if that team has had a relatively successful season, or is made of strong players who were recently traded and weren’t with the team while they were losing.

a white icon of a house

Home isn’t necessarily where the heart is

For many sports, the home team automatically has an advantage when playing in their home arena, field or state in general.

In hockey betting, however, this doesn’t provide the same advantage it gives in other sports. The fans and the team are separated by tall plexiglass. This allows the NHL teams to focus on the game a bit more, plus, teams playing an away game aren’t as distracted by jeers and boos’ opposing teams’ fans can create. Therefore, you might find a home arena doesn’t offer the same advantage it does in other sports.

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Who’s well-rested?

When it comes to betting on the puck, you should note which teams or players have had 3-4 days off since their previous game, or didn’t make the playoffs the previous year. In addition to noting which teams are well-rested, it’s also helpful to note if they’re the visiting team—This can be an additional advantage.

How To Bet On Hockey FAQs

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