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How Does the NHL Moneyline Work?

For those unfamiliar with the betting term moneyline, it involves wagering on a team to simply win a game straight up as opposed to needing to cover a point spread or puckline in hockey.

The NHL moneyline works just like it does in MLB, except that instead of being based mainly on starting pitchers, the number is set around the team as a whole. For example, if the Philadelphia Flyers are hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins at Wells Fargo Center, the moneyline could look like this:

Pittsburgh +120
Philadelphia -130

That means you would have to bet $100 to win $120 if you were wagering on the underdog Penguins as opposed to laying down $130 to win $100 if you were siding with the favored Flyers. It is pretty simple math – risk more for a smaller payout by betting the favorite and risk less for a bigger payout by wagering on the underdog.

NHL Moneyline Betting Strategies

There are obviously betting strategies specific to handicapping NHL lines. Like when wagering on any sport, avoid laying the big number as a general rule. While the NHL certainly has dominant teams every season, anybody can win on any given night. Because of that, huge favorites typically are not worth the high price. If a team is -300 and you lose, you would have to win three bets on favorites just to break even.

Betting slight favorites or underdogs is the smart way to go when wagering on NHL games. While you will not get the biggest return this way, you will cash more bets over the long term – leading to increased profitability with your bankroll.

Goaltending is Key in Hockey

Goaltending is the most important factor to consider when betting on hockey. The goaltender is very similar to the quarterback in football, transforming a good team into a great one. Conversely, a team with a mediocre goalie can cost its backers tons of cash. Knowing the goaltenders will also alert you when to make wagers on underdogs.

Energy and Fatigue Matter

Keeping track of team schedules and travel is important when betting the NHL so you know who is fresh and who is not. Look to fade teams with the moneyline on the second night of a back-to-back, most notably when they are up against fresh teams playing on home ice. Fatigue can impact team performance just the same, and determining which team has energy and which does not can be the difference between winning and losing.