NHL Hockey isn’t talked about as much as some of the bigger pro sports but sports bettors who make money for a living will always keep an eye on the hockey schedule to find the picks that will make them money.
Hockey betting is pretty simple in terms of what types of bets there are and are basically broken down into 4 types of bets: The Money Line, the Puck Line, Futures and Over/Unders. Keep reading as we break those down for you all below.
More important to the types of hockey bets you can make are the hockey betting tips that you need to keep an eye on when making your NHL bets. We’ve listed some for you to check out as well.
Hockey Bets Explained
Here are the most popular types of NHL hockey bets you can make at most of the top online hockey sportsbooks. For our examples we will be using our favortie partner - Betonline.
Money Line Bets
The money line is the most popular type of betting the NHL has on a nightly basis. It is a simple win/lose pick with the variance being how much money you need to wager to win a certain amount.
A moneyline betting odds will look like this:
Detroit Red Wings (+160)
Pittsburgh Penguins (-145)
If you bet $100 on the underdog Red Wings and they win you will win $160. If you pick the Penguins who are favored to win and bet $100 you will only win $68.97 (plus your initial $100 bet). To win $100 you would have to bet $145 on the Penguins.
Money line is the simplest play as you are simply picking the winner, whether it’s in regulation or over time or in the shootout, whoever gets the Win that night makes you the money if you got them.
Puck Line Betting
Some people will bet the puck line where you can lay 1.5 goals if you take the favorite or take the underdog on the night and take 1.5 goals. The favorite needs to win by 2 goals to cash in whereas the underdog can still lose and if the game ends 3-2, you still get the win.
If we use the same Detroit and Pittsburgh game from before where the money line was Detroit +160 and Pittsburgh-145 the puck line would look like this:
Detroit Red Wings +1.5 (-110)
Pittsburgh Penguins -1.5 (-110
This way, if you bet on Detroit you will win if Detroit wins the game or losses by just one goal, while Pittsburgh bettors can only win their bet if the Penguins win by two or more goals. However because the puck line evens things out both wagers will only have to wager $110 to win $100.
Over / Under Total Betting
Unlike other sports that do Over/Unders, the NHL hockey O/U number ranges from 5 to 6.5 with 5.5 being the most common number on most NHL betting sites because the scoring in hockey is so low unlike other sports where the scores can have drastic swings.
Here is an example of what an over under can look like
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. New York Rangers over 5.5 (-110)
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. New York Rangers under 5.5 (-110)
Buffalo Sabres vs. Boston Bruins over 5.5 (-135)
Buffalo Sabres vs. Boston Bruins under 5.5 (+115)
In the first NHL game, bettors are asked to wager $110 to win $100 on both the over or the under as the odds makers see action on both sides pretty evenly.
In the Buffalo vs. Boston game, bettors that want to bet on the over will have to risk $135 to win $100, whereas if you want to bet the under you’ll only have to risk $100 to win $115 because the bettors are betting heavier on the over to be the game’s outcome.
NHL Future Bets
Futures betting is when you make a long term play on a team. At the beginning of the NHL season you can put down a wager on which team you think will win the Stanley Cup. The odds are usually good payoffs to begin with since the NHL has so much parity that it is hard to pick who will win the cup! If you truly believe that the Toronto Maple Leafs will finally win the Stanley Cup you can put down some money and wait until June to see if you win or not.
Other future bets that can usually be placed at the beginning of the season or throughout the year include:
During the season, teams show how good they are or how bad they are so the lines adjust and you can still bet during the season on who will win the cup.
When the Stanley Cup playoffs start there are more futures that come out to play. The playoffs begin with 7 games series so you can pick who will win the series or even wager on how many games a team will win the series in. You can also continue to bet the futures for the Stanley Cup winner although by then the odds will have decreased a lot.
Hockey Betting Tips - Expert Advice
Here are our favorite easy to follow NHL betting tips we have gathered over the years from expert bettors and hockey strategy gurus.
1) Don't Bet The Lines Too Early
Hockey lines don’t change much unless there is a late scratch. If you bet early and a star player is benched due to injury or the backup goalie is going in then you may be taking on too much risk betting that team. Wait for all the info for the game and then bet.
2) In-Play Betting - Watch Odds During Live Play
Most hockey betting sites will have in game betting so if you weren’t sure which way to go then wait and see how the game starts off. If you were looking at betting the over and there are no shots on goal in the first 5 minutes then maybe take the under. Keep in mind, the lines adjust too so the 5.5 o/u line may now be down to 5 if you wait too long. You can also get some great value on the pre-game favorite if they start off poorly or the other team gets a flukey goal.
3) Analyze The Roster Matchups
There is so much info out there now that you can do your analysis and see if one teams top 3 lines stack up well against the other top 3 lines. Also, does one team use a checking line more against the top line leaving the second line an opportunity for better matchups? Learn to research line matches to help your hockey betting skills. You want to look for matchups that are going to create favorable scoring opportunities for the team you are looking at taking. This type of advanced research allows you to scout a team’s roster and find the matchups where potential goals are possible.
4) Home Ice Can Still Matter
It is a betting cliché and nowadays doesn’t apply as much but a home team generally may have the home ice advantage although this isn’t a hockey betting strategy that you should solely base your picks on. Bet on coaches that are better line matchers and can neutralize the opponents top line with a checking line at home.
5) Check The Travel Schedules
Instead of home ice advantage you should focus on travel schedules. Is a team on the first game of an east coast/west coast trip? Crossing times zones is hard and if a team only has a day or 2 in between games then that first game of a road trip can be tough. That same point comes true if a team is flying home from a coast after a road trip. Coming home to a family they haven’t seen in a while and then a game two days later usually causes the home team to be a bust the first game back.
6) 3 Games In 4 Nights
Hockey is a physical game and NHL players get beaten up, pounded on and bruised up on a nightly basis. There are quirks in the schedule that sees teams play 3 games in 4 nights and by that final game that team is worn down. Take advantage of that play.
7) Back To Back Games
Back to back games usually are played by a team on a road trip. That second night of a back to back is the team you want to bet against. Imagine, they play the night before, leave the arena, hop on a plane to get to the next city at around 2am only to wake up sore from the last game to be at the arena around 4pm to play against a team that has players that slept in their own bed and had a day off…Who you picking that night?
8) Outdoor Games - Bet The Under
During the NHL season there are a number of outdoor games staged in baseball or football stadiums. Love ‘em or hate’em they are here to stay because of the revenue generated. If the weather is super cold the ice becomes tough to play on, same with if it snows. Hockey is a low scoring game anyways and throw in crappy elements and ice usually means a low scoring game.