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How To Bet On NHL Games: Hockey Betting Guide

Learn how to bet on NHL games

With more parity than any other major professional sport, the National Hockey League is one of the most entertaining leagues to bet on. With an almost guaranteed upset every night, if you know how to bet on NHL games well, there is lots of opportunity for some profit.

This “How to Bet on NHL” guide will walk you through all you need to know to get started gambling on the world’s top hockey league. If you’re just learning how to bet on the NHL, we outline how to read odds and some other general tips, but this guide also includes some strategies and unique betting formats for experienced hockey bettors.

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How to Bet on NHL Games: Reading Lines and Odds

The most important aspect of learning how to bet on NHL games is learning how to read and evaluate odds. Odds formats stay consistent for NHL betting and most of the major North American sports leagues. The most popular bet type is a moneyline bet, which involves you picking a side to win the game outright. It does not matter if your team wins by one or 15 goals, a moneyline bet pays out regardless. Moneyline odds at your favorite online sportsbook will be listed like this:

  • Toronto Maple Leafs -200
  • Boston Bruins +170

The above matchup is listed in American odds, where the favorite (Toronto) is denoted by a minus sign (-) and the odds of the underdog (Boston) are preceded by a plus sign (+). For American odds formats, the favorite’s odds are the amount of money one must bet to profit $100, while the underdog’s odds are the profit if you were to bet $100. In the above example, you must bet $200 to profit $100 while betting on the Leafs, or bet $100 to profit $170 if the Bruins win.

Other potential odds formats are Decimal odds (1.80) or Fractional odds (1/8). American odds are, naturally, the most popular in the United States, Decimal odds are common in Europe/Australia, and Fractional odds are popular in the United Kingdom.

If you want to increase your payout, you could consider a moneyline parlay, which allows you to combine multiple picks to multiply your winnings (but also multiply your risk).

Puckline Betting

Puckline betting is the National Hockey League’s version of a point spread bet. While the MLB has runline, NHL’s puckline bets are the perfect format for people just learning how to bet on NHL games. If you have mastered moneyline bets or feel very confident that one team is going to run away with a game one night, a puckline bet allows you to bet that the favorite will win by two or more goals, or the underdog will lose by fewer than two. The odds for a puckline bet will be listed as follows:

  • Edmonton Oilers -1.5
  • Calgary Flames +1.5

Odds Shark has a puckline betting report that is updated weekly throughout the hockey season if you’re looking for advice on how to bet on NHL pucklines.

Useful NHL Odds Guides:

How to Bet on NHL Betting Formats

Aside from the classic moneyline and puckline bets, there are many different types of formats and options for betting on the National Hockey League.

Totals Betting

Like in many sports, a totals bet allows you to bet on the combined points scored in a contest. While an NHL total won’t be in the 200s like in the NBA, it is common to see 5.5 or 6.5 goal totals for your NHL wagering.

If you think that the goaltending will be weak or the offenses will go off on any given night, you can bet the OVER on a game’s total. If you think the NHL match will be a defensive contest, you can bet the UNDER. With the large disparity of goaltending talent in the NHL, a totals bet can be the opportunity to capitalize on your knowledge of which backup goalies and defenses aren’t very good and which are, to make some profit.

Prop Betting

Like in all sports, an NHL prop bet is a sports betting market that allows you to bet on an event or outcome within the game that does not directly impact the game’s overall result.

There are often opportunities to prop bet on individual goal scorers, when goals will be scored or who will score the first goal. If you think Sean Monahan is going to have a big night, you can bet on the Calgary Flames to win the game, but also seek out a few prop bets (like Monahan to score) that will allow you to profit even more.

Different betting sites offer different NHL prop bets, so after you are done learning how to bet on NHL games, check out our NHL sportsbook reviews to find out which book is right for you.

Live Betting

If you are sitting on your couch, at a sportsbook or even at an NHL game, live betting is a way to add excitement to your night. While you can bet on which team will win a contest before a match starts with a puckline or moneyline bet, you can wager on who will win an NHL game throughout the contest as well. If you feel a big momentum swing, if a goalie is pulled or if a big injury occurs, a live bet could allow you to play on your hunch and make some money.

You can also bet live in-play on a game’s total. If you expect a few late goals or see that a goalie being pulled might be the prime opportunity for an empty-netter, live bet on the OVER!

How to Bet on NHL Playoffs

Once the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs begin each spring, you can continue to bet on individual games and rack up profit with moneyline or puckline bets, but the playoffs unlock new betting formats.

Each round of the NHL playoffs is a best-of-seven series, and most books offer the opportunity to bet on the winner of each series with varying odds. If you think that a lower seed will upset their higher-seeded foe in an opening round, betting on the individual games and on the series as a whole could maximize your profit.

Most books also allow you to bet on the winner of each conference as well as the Conn Smythe winner for playoff MVP.

NHL Futures

Futures bets allow you to bet on long-term outcomes of the NHL season including the Stanley Cup winner, Presidents’ Trophy winner and many of the major individual awards. Before, during and after the regular season each year, you can bet on all of the major NHL futures to keep you involved in the hockey betting scene. You can find up-to-date Stanley Cup futures odds at Odds Shark throughout the season.