NHL Betting Explained

This is the Betting Brain Guide to Gambling on the National Hockey League and was written to give bettors a complete understanding to betting on hockey games.

The NHL is the biggest hockey league in the world and is one of the four premier sports leagues in the US – alongside the NFL, major league baseball and the NBA. Being such a popular sport, betting plays a large part in the NHL, and is a multi-million dollar industry. There are a variety of bets available on each and every game, and here you’ll see an explanation of each bet type.

NHL betting – The Money Line

The money line bet is the most popular bet in the NHL, being simply a wager on which team you think will win the game. Here is an example:

Rangers           -130
Maple Leafs   +120

Here if you back the Rangers for $130, you’ll make a profit of $100. By backing the Maple Leafs, you’ll win $120 for your $100 stake. If the game goes to overtime or a shootout, you’ll be paid out based on the eventual winning team.

NHL betting – The Puck Line

The puck line wager is one where the sports-books try to level things up by either taking goals off the favorite, or adding goals on to the underdog. In general the puck line is set at one and a half goals. Here is an example:

Bruins   +1.5   -130
Kings     -1.5    +110

Here if you back the Kings you’ll only win if they win by two or more goals – a $100 bet making a profit if $110. By backing the Bruins here, you’ll win if they either win, or lose by the odd goal. A wager of $130 will see a profit of $100. On many occasions, you’ll see the team that was deemed favorite on the money line become the underdog on the puck line.

NHL betting – Totals

A totals bet is where you are trying to predict whether the total amount of goals in the game is higher or lower than the line set by the odds-makers. The total relates to the amount of goals for both teams combined. Here is an example:

Over 8.5      -110
Under 8.5    -110

Here the sportsbook have estimated that the number of goals in the game will on average be 8.5, so you’ll be betting either or under this amount. On occasions, the totals number will be a whole number, which means that there will be times when exactly that number will be hit. When this happens, the bet becomes a push, which means you’ll receive your stake back.

For all of the above bet types, sports books will offer odds relative to $100. However you can place a bet for any stake, and you will be paid on a pro rata basis.

NHL Betting – Other bets

In some more popular games, perhaps nationally televised games or Stanley Cup games, a wider variety of markets will be offered. These might include betting at the end of each quarter, or prop bets between two individual players, or even whether a certain player will score.

NHL Betting – Parlays

One of the most popular bets on the NHL is a Parlay, where you are betting on two or more teams to win on a given day/night. With this bet all of your selections have to win, and the return from one leg of the bet will go fully onto the next leg of the bet. With a Parlay, you can potentially have a win that is many times your stake, however with each subsequent leg the bet becomes harder to win.

Betting NHL Futures

As well as all of the above bets on the individual games, you’ll also be able to place some longer term bets On the NHL. The most popular of these is the outright winner of the Stanley Cup. You’ll be able to place a bet on this market both before the season and throughout the season. Other futures bets available are winners of each of the Eastern and Western Conference Finals, and for regular season action you can also place a bet on the outright winners of the Pacific, Central, Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions.

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