NHL viewership was up by 18% in the 2023-22 season because of new national broadcast deals with ESPN and Turner Sports. It’s safe to say that people all over the United States are fans of hockey!
If you’re a fan with a pretty good read on the league, you might have considered betting on NHL games. Now is your chance to see if you can turn those reads into cash.
Keep reading to learn more about hockey sports betting.
Find a Sportsbook
If you already bet on sports but want to learn more about NHL betting specifically, you can skip this step. For newbies, it’s important to find a sportsbook that allows you to bet on hockey.
With so many reputable sportsbooks out there, it can be hard to choose the one that is right for you. Hockey betting is obviously on your mind, so you already have a general idea of what you are looking for.
Most high-end sportsbooks offer hockey betting, so now it’s a matter of finding the betting site that has specific features you want.
Read reviews to understand the user experience of each sportsbook. You can also test them out with a few bucks to see how you like them before committing your bankroll to a certain app.
Here are some of the criteria to look at during your search:
- Bet options available
- Timeliness of lines
- Mobile betting options
- Live betting options
- Banking options
Newcomers can typically enjoy bonuses and rewards, most of which you can use to test out the sportsbook without spending your own money. TheRX sports betting promos highlight the best promotions from leading betting sites.
Understand NHL Odds
To start betting on NHL games, you should understand hockey odds. Hockey betting has some similarities to baseball betting, so if you are familiar with betting on the MLB, you’ll find that NHL betting is simple.
Hockey is a predominantly moneyline-based sport, meaning that betting on the winner is common. If you bet on the moneyline, you are deciding who wins the game.
For example, if there is a game between the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, the moneyline odds might look like this:
- New York Rangers: +120
- Pittsburgh Penguins: -165
In sports betting, the odds with the minus refer to the favorite to win. In this example, the Penguins are favorites to win the game over the Rangers.
The odds can help you understand how much money you can make off of the bet. To win $100 on the Penguins moneyline, you would have to bet $165. Since they are the favorite to win, you have to bet more to win more.
If you bet on the underdog and they win, spending $100 on the bet would win you $120.
These odds aren’t strictly for moneyline bets. You’ll find that the plus and minus odds work in the same way for other bets. Keep this in mind when learning about the other bet types.
Learn the Types of Hockey Bets
You’ve learned about moneyline betting in the odds example above. Although this is one of the most popular bet options available, it’s not the only common one.
Let’s go over the different types of hockey bets:
As stated before, the moneyline is a simple bet where you decide the winner of the game. All bettors have to do is choose the winner of a game straight up and hope that the team they choose wins.
Betting on NHL games isn’t as easy as betting on the NFL or NBA because there is more parity in the NHL. Keep an eye on the trends of a team and the particular matchups they are facing.
If you’ve heard of spread betting, you likely know what the puck line is. The puck line is almost always marked as +/- 1.5.
This means that you can choose the favorite to win the game by two goals or more. Let’s look at an example in practice:
- New York Rangers: +1.5
- Pittsburgh Penguins: -1.5
Since the Pittsburgh Penguins are favorites to outright win the game, they are also favored to win by two or more goals. If you bet the New York Rangers puck line, they have to win the game or only lose by one goal.
Puck lines are tricky and inconsistent because goalies from trailing teams are pulled late in the game to help with scoring.
For a while, hockey totals were released as a 5.5 number, but scoring has increased across the league, making the totals higher. Totals are more consistently around 6.5 now.
Betting on totals simply means deciding whether or not the combined goals from each team will be over or under a certain number. Here’s what you’re likely to see in a sportsbook:
- O 6.5
- U 6.5
It’s really that simple. Let’s say that the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins game ends with a score of 3-4. The over would cash in this instance because the total is over 6.5 goals.
The Grand Salami bet is specific to hockey betting. It’s similar to betting the over/under on a total. Instead of betting on one game’s total, you are betting on the total goals for every game that day.
This is a great way to have betting action on every game in a given night. The totals are based on how many games are being played that day and what the individual game totals are.
If there are six NHL games going on in one night, the Grand Salami number would probably be around 40 total goals.
60 Minute Line
If you believe that a game won’t go into overtime, you can bet the 60 minute line. This bet is similar to the moneyline, but you have to decide what the result will be after only three periods of play.
If you pick the Pittsburgh Penguins to win on the 60 minute line, but they win in overtime, you won’t win your bet.
Betting on hockey can be stressful, but prop bets give bettors a way to bet for fun. Although the bets are unique, they aren’t easy wins. However, prop bets are a way to make wagers that don’t involve the outcome of a game.
Any reputable sports gambling website or app will have prop bets for every sport, including hockey.
Some prop bet examples are:
- First player/team to score
- Total points recorded by a player
- Any goalscorer
Prop bets are more common in high-scoring sports like football and basketball, but you might be able to find some prop bets that pique your interest in hockey.
If you’re looking for a higher payout, parlays are the way to go. The downside is that these bets are riskier because they require multiple things to happen for the bet to hit.
Bettors can combine at least two different bet selections to create a parlay. For example, you can bet the moneyline for multiple NHL games happening in a day. All of the moneylines will have to hit for your parlay to win you money.
Do Your Research
NHL gambling is no different from other sports gambling, in that you should monitor team and player data. Without research, you won’t have the knowledge to create winning bets.
There is a lot of data you can consume to help you make winning wagers.
For instance, a goalie matchup is a key indicator of how well a team plays. A hot goalie can stop the best hockey players in their tracks. Always identify the goaltending matchup before locking a bet in.
You can also track a team’s home or away record. Home ice advantage is a huge benefit in the NHL. A venue where a game is played can be an equalizer for two good teams.
Another thing you’ll want to consider before making bets is the injury report. NHL teams impacted by injuries or resting players can change your entire betting strategy.
Check to see if a team has a winning or losing record when one of its pivotal players is unable to play. If there is a game with overwhelming lineup changes, you might want to steer clear of betting on that game.
Start Betting on NHL Games!
Now that you’ve nailed down the basics, you can start betting on NHL games. If you’ve gone through this entire guide, you know how to find a sportsbook, read NHL odds, and are aware of the most common types of hockey bets.
Before risking your cash, do your research on different teams and players to have the best chances of winning money.
For more informative articles like this, check out the other posts on our website.