Betting on games in the National Hockey League
Do you want to place a bet on the next NHL game but are unsure about where to start? In this guide, we present the three most common types of bets and help you to make sense of the latest NHL odds.
The good news is you don’t just have to place an NHL bet on who you think will win or lose. As you’ll see, you can bet on the Puck Line, which sets a winning margin of goals, or even the NHL totals bet, where you forecast the total number of goals scored in a match.
Read on to learn more before joining one of our recommended sportsbooks and getting started.
Perhaps the most popular sports betting market is the win or lose. Here, you select which hockey team you expect to win. Before setting the odds, the sportsbooks invest a lot of time researching each game, taking into account form, previous head-to-head encounters, player injuries, recent trades, and more.
Once everything is pulled together, they create odds that usually produce a favorite and an underdog. Sometimes teams are so closely matched that there’s not much to choose in the way of odds.
Odds are shown in the moneyline, which demonstrates how much money you can win or lose. The moneyline is a negative or a positive figure. The favorite in the game will be the negative number. Let’s use an example of the Penguins against the Devils. The Penguins are favorites here, and the moneyline is set at -140. This means if you were to bet $140, you would win $100 (or part thereof).
But if you have a sneaking feeling the Devils will cause an upset on the ice, you might back them at +340. The underdog’s positive moneyline figure represents the money you will win if you bet $100, so $340.
Remember, you don’t need to bet this much. If you back the Devils, you might place a $10 bet, a tenth of the $100 so that you get a tenth of the moneyline as profit, so $34 in this case.
Like all sportsbook odds, these moneyline numbers are sure to move around in the build-up to the big game. Maybe the Penguins’ star center gets injured – this alone could lengthen the odds a little.
NHL puck lines
The moneyline prices in ice hockey can often be quite high because there are regularly heavy favorites in the fixture lists. That means you may have to risk a lot of money to make a relatively small profit. The good news is that there are alternatives like betting puck line odds, betting the spread, and effectively your prediction of the winning goal margin.
Usually, the spread will be something like 2.5 goals. In our example of the Penguins and Devils, you might get odds of -2.5 +150 on the Penguins, meaning you bet $100 to win $150 if they win by more than two clear goals.
But you can also cover the spread and back the Devils at +2.5 -180, meaning you bet $180 to win $100 if they keep the Penguins’ winning margin to below three goals, tie the game, or even win themselves.
Keep an eye on these odds because you might have reason to believe one team is going to score a hatful of goals, so you might find the spread attractive.
As you can imagine, the usual spread varies from one sport to another. In basketball, it might be as high as 20 since many points are scored in each game. In soccer, it is usually set at 2.5.
Over/under NHL odds
The third most popular betting market is the over/under, often referred to as NHL totals betting. In this case, you are predicting whether the total goals scored in a fixture will be higher or lower than the sportsbook’s forecast.
As an example, your sportsbook might believe a game between the Golden Knights and Canadiens will be a low-scoring affair and set the over/under line at 3.5. However, you have a feeling that goals will be flying into the net, so you bet +200 on +3.5. Now, if more than three goals are scored, you win $200 if you bet $100. However, if three goals or fewer go in, you lose your bet.
Keep an eye on both teams’ recent results to see if they are free-scoring or struggling to get goals on the board – this should give you a decent idea about which way to back the over/under.
Pick a recommended sportsbook today
Before placing any bet, you want to ensure your sportsbook is offering competitive odds and comes with varied and fast ways to deposit and withdraw your funds. We recommend all the sportsbooks on this page and be sure to claim your welcome bonus.