NHL Betting Guide

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How to Bet on the NHL

NHL betting isn’t quite as popular as betting on NFL or MLB games, but it still gets plenty of attention from bettors, and for good reason. Not only is ice hockey is a fast and furious sport that’s exciting to watch, but it also provides numerous opportunities for fans to turn their predictions into profits.

In this guide to How to Bet on the NHL, we’ll share five tips that will help you to get started. You’ll learn how to pick a suitable sportsbook for NHL betting, what the different markets have to offer, and even what you should consider when you’re trying to pick winners.

Choose the Best Sportsbook

One of the first things you need to do if you want to start betting on the NHL is open an account with a sportsbook. There are plenty to choose from, but exactly how many are available to you will depend on the state you live in. If you only have one sportsbook operating in your state, the decision is obviously very easy.

If you live in a state where several sportsbooks operate, you will want to choose the best one for your own needs. All legal sportsbooks in the US will offer a good range of NHL betting markets, but operators do vary when it comes to the bonuses they offer, the methods of deposit they accept, and so on.

Our best advice for choosing the best sportsbook is to simply follow our recommendations or spend time reading through our detailed reviews of online sportsbooks for yourself. The latter approach is best if you have particular needs that you want to make sure are well catered for. However, if you just want to get started as quickly as possible, our recommendations will save you time.

Recommended Sportsbooks

Understand NHL Odds

Betting on the NHL is all about making a prediction, placing a bet, and making a profit if you're right. How much profit you make from a winning bet depends on the odds you took when you made that bet. It is therefore important that you understand the odds and how they work. Fortunately, that isn't as difficult as many people imagine.

If you can understand moneylines then you'll be able to understand odds for all NHL betting markets. In a moneyline market, odds are quoted with a plus or minus sign. Consider the following example:

Toronto Maple Leafs+135
Boston Bruins-150
NHL Moneyline Example

The basic thing to remember here is that:

  • Odds prefixed with a + sign show the amount of profit you will make if you place a bet of $100 and it wins.
  • Odds prefixed with a - sign show how much you would have to bet, in dollars, to make a profit of $100 if it wins.

By looking back at our example, you'll see that you would have to wager $150 to net a $100 profit on Boston. If you want to bet on Toronto, you would have to wager $100 to net a profit of $135. 

The team with the minus sign is the team that is considered the favorite to win. Keep in mind also that odds will change daily as the market adjusts to form fluctuations and bets received.

NHL Moneyline

As noted earlier, this market requires you to bet on which team will win the game overall.

NHL Puck Line

When betting on the puck line, you are always taking the favorite to win by two or more goals. Anything less than that or any other outcome, the underdog wins, and you lose. Unless, of course, you choose to side with the underdog when making your bet.

NHL Over/Under

Also known as totals betting, you are betting on whether both teams combined will score over a certain amount. If you bet on the under, you are betting that both teams combined will score less than a certain number. The over/under is given by the sportsbook in case you are trying to look for it.

NHL Parlays

The parlay bet is any bet that involves more than one specific event. This can happen within a single game or across several other games. When you parlay the outcome of multiple games, you are betting that all of the outcomes will occur as you have predicted. You stand to win a lot of money, but every single one of your picks must be correct to win a parlay.

NHL Prop Bets

This is usually a fun way to bet. You are betting on certain players or events that might occur within a game. Prop bets usually revolve around a simple yes or no scenario.

NHL Futures

These markets are ones that ask you to make a prediction about an event in the more distant future. For example, which team will win the conference title or even the Stanley Cup.

NHL Playoffs

This is a straightforward betting market and another example of a futures bet. Once the seeding has been set for each team, you can bet on who wins each game and the championship in the playoffs.

NHL Live Bets

Live betting markets allow you to place bets as the game is being played. You are betting on the event in real-time, so odds will change to reflect how the game is unfolding. An example of an in-game live bet would be: Will anyone score in the last two minutes?

To get an initial sense of a team and how they are performing, you should take a look at the current rankings. This will give you an idea of how teams will stack up head to head. If one team is ranked far better than another, the better-ranked team is likely to have the advantage. If both are fairly equal in terms of ranking, the favorites might well have an upset on their hands. 

Sportsbooks will offer odds at the beginning of the season on who they think will win the championship. These odds will differ from one sportsbook to the next, but they can give you a good insight into the overall outlook from the perspective of the odds-makers.

Avoid Biases

Another thing that you will want to do is avoid any personal biases or opinions that you have concerning either a player or team. Just because you love the St. Louis Blues does not mean they are the best team that season. Even more so, you may have a bad judgment on a player and want to bet against him because you dislike him. 

The best way to avoid bias is to always check the stats. Numbers do not lie or mislead you, but players' emotions and injuries are things you cannot account for. So leave the biases out of the equation to lessen the headache.

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NHL Betting FAQ

How does NHL betting work?
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In the simplest of terms, you decide which team you think will win and place a bet on that team in the moneyline market. If your chosen team wins the game, your bet will also win, giving you a profit according to the odds of your selection.

How to bet on NHL games?
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To bet on NHL games, you first need to sign up with an online sportsbook. That done, visit the NHL area of the sportsbook and select the game you want to bet on. Make your selection to add it to your virtual betting slip, add your stake, and then submit the bet.

What other types of NHL futures bets are there?
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Winning the championship is not the only type of NHL futures bet that you can make. Others will include:

  • Conference winners
  • Over/under for points in the standings for individual teams
  • Regular-season point totals for individual players
  • Team leading scorers
  • Postseason awards like the Vezina Trophy

These are just a few of the futures bets that can be made. Sportsbooks will offer many variations of futures betting, so be sure to check them all out.

Photo Credits: Scott Taetsch / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP