When it comes to betting on major sports, hockey receives a lot less attention than its more popular counterparts, football and baseball. It’s like an alternative band with a huge following that is dismissed by Rolling Stones fans.
A lot of people love the game. A lot of people frequent the top hockey betting sites to place wagers. But it’s out of the spotlight.
And that could be very good news for you. (You’ll learn why in a moment.)
If you’re an NHL fan and want to use your hockey knowledge to make money betting on games, this page will get you started. If you’re an experienced sports bettor, and want to dip your toes into hockey betting, you’ll find just about everything you need below. We’ll describe how to bet on hockey along with the types of wagers you can place at the top hockey betting sites. We’ll also give you a few tips to help you get the most out of the experience.
Top 3 Sportsbooks for Hockey Betting
- Bovada.lv – Accepts USA bettors, offers an instant 50% free bet bonus – what more could you want?
- Bookmaker – With their mobile app available you can keep up with your bets ANYWHERE!
- Betonline.com – They offer some of the best promotions we’ve seen yet!
Betting Site Offers for NHL Hockey
Why Online Hockey Sportsbooks Offer Huge Opportunities
The indifference most bettors show toward NHL betting sites presents unique opportunities. You’ll sometimes see “gaps” in the odds. Here’s why: oddsmakers try to divide the action evenly between both sides of a game. They do so by establishing a line that appeals to as many bettors as possible. Splitting things evenly ensures the sportsbook will earn a profit on the “juice.”
When there’s a ton of action – for example, when the Super Bowl occurs – this can be accomplished relatively quickly. Thousands of bets help the oddsmakers set lines fast with minor adjustments to keep things balanced. When the action is sparse, as it is at most hockey betting sites, the process takes more time. Bets trickle in. The sportsbooks make adjustments leading up to the games, but do so more slowly. If you do your research and get in early, when the odds are sometimes skewed, your chances of winning increase.
Of course, we’re not suggesting that betting on hockey games delivers a guaranteed profit. If that were the case, everyone would do it. There is still risk involved. The point is that you’ll see opportunities at NHL betting sites that are less common at football and baseball betting sites.
Basics Of Betting On Hockey
Most hockey wagers in the U.S. are placed on NHL games. Occasionally, you’ll see European hockey matches listed at the top books. But because few U.S. bettors are familiar with the teams and players in those leagues, the matches receive very little action. Few U.S. friendly sportsbooks even offer them.
NHL sportsbetting is based on moneylines. They serve the same purpose as a point spread: the lines try to make both sides of a wager attractive. The difference between a moneyline and point spread is that the former is only interested in the winner of a game.
The idea behind a money line is that each hockey game has a favorite and an underdog. Because most people would simply bet on the favorite (all other variables remaining the same), the sportsbook tries to entice bettors to put action on the other side. Bettors are thus required to put more money at risk when wagering on the favorite than when wagering on the underdog.
Here’s an example of how the lines appear
Anaheim Ducks +140
Los Angeles Kings -150
In this hypothetical match between the Ducks and Kings, the Kings are the favored team. This is indicated by the minus sign (-). The Ducks are the underdog. If you wanted to bet on the favorite, you would need to risk $150 for the chance to win $100. If you were willing to back the underdog, you would only need to risk $100 for a chance to win $140.
This is a key element to understanding how to bet. The lines may seem confusing, or even intimidating, at first. But interpreting them becomes second nature after you place a few bets.
Types Of Wagers Offered
The most common type of hockey wager is a straight money line bet. We covered how moneylines work in the previous section. You’re basically betting on the team you think will win. Our example match pitted the Ducks against the Kings…
Anaheim Ducks +140
Los Angeles Kings -150
One of the keys points to remembers is that the favorite pays out less than the underdog.
Another type of wager is a puck line bet. These are less common, but it’s still a good idea to understand how they work. Puck line NHL betting is similar to run line MLB betting. You give a 1 1/2-point spread to the favored team.
Let’s use an example. Suppose you’re betting on a game between the Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators. The puck line might look like the following…
Detroit Red Wings +1.5 (-220)
Nashville Predators -1.5 (+210)
If you were place a bet on the Red Wings, you’d win your bet if the team won or lost by a single goal. You would need to put up $220 to win $100. If you were to bet on the Predators, the team would need to win by at least 2 goals. Here, you would win $210 for every $100 you wagered.
Admittedly, it’s confusing. That’s a big part of the reason straight moneyline wagers are more popular at hockey betting sites.
You can also place totals bets, also called over/under bets. These are much simpler than puck line wagers. Here, you’re betting on the total number of goals scored during a game. The oddsmaker will choose a number, such as 4.5. To place an over/under wager, you would predict whether both teams will score a combined number of goals above or below 4.5.
Here’s an example of a totals bet:
Edmonton Oilers vs. Minnesota Wild o4.5 (-140)
Edmonton Oilers vs. Minnesota Wild u4.5 (+130)
You can place a wager that the Oilers and Wild will either score a combined total of 5 or more goals, or score fewer than 5 goals. The odds work in the same manner as a typical money line bet. For 5 or more goals, you would need to wager $140 to win $100. For fewer than 5 goals, you would wager $100 to win $130.
If you enjoy placing over/under wagers, consider betting on a Grand Salami. A Grand Salami is unique to hockey betting. It’s a wager on the total number of goals scored during all of the matches played on a given day.
As with most major sports, you can also place proposition bets. These are wagers on events that have nothing to do with the outcome of the game. For example, you could bet on whether the Oilers will have a higher score than the Wild at the end of the second period. Or, you can wager that the Wild will be the first team to score. The types of prop bets you’ll see vary by sportsbook.
3 Quick Tips To Use At Hockey Betting Sites
- First, don’t bet blind. Learn about the team you’re betting on. Find out how they’ve performed in specific venues and how they’ve matched up against other teams in the past. Are certain players hurt or on the bench? Are any of them dealing with personal issues that might affect their individual performances? The more you know, the more informed your wagers.
- Second, if you’re an NHL fan, you know how important the goalies are to the outcome of a game. Their performances alone can mean the difference between winning and losing. So learn as much as you can about the goalies in the game you’re betting on.
- Third, get used to shopping lines between 2 or 3 hockey betting sites. The lines set by oddsmakers and used by the sportsbooks tend to vary. Find the best lines available before committing to a bet.
If you’re just getting started with NHL betting, we recommend registering an account at each of the hockey sportsbooks listed on this page. Learn about the sport, but don’t wait too long before getting practical betting experience. After placing a few wagers, you may find that you enjoy it more than betting on football, baseball, or basketball.