There is a lot to learn about NHL betting, from understanding what the numbers mean, to choosing between the different markets.
If you have never bet on the NHL before, this is the only guide you will ever need.
Here is a full breakdown of NHL betting for beginners.
The moneyline is one of the simplest ways to bet on the NHL as you are just picking the team that you believe will win.
In each match, one team will be perceived as the favorite and the other as the underdog and sportsbooks will adjust the betting lines based on who is most likely to win.
So, when it comes to placing a wager, the favorite will be represented by a negative number and the underdog by a positive number. The more negative the number, the bigger the favorite. Similarly, the more positive the number, the bigger the underdog.
Here’s an example:
As you can see, the Oilers are considered the favorites to win this match. Because of this, you are charged a premium on the bet by the sportsbooks.
You must wager $165 to win $100 when betting on the Flyers, whereas you would win $140 from a $100 wager when betting on the Rangers.
If you are betting more or less than $100 per wager, there are other formulas you must use.
When betting on the favorite:
Risk Amount = (Favorite Moneyline Odds / 100) * Amount To Win
For completeness, ignore the negative symbol next to the favorite’s odds.
So, to win $150 by betting the Oilers on the moneyline:
Risk Amount = (165/100) * $150 = 1.65 * $150 = $248
Therefore, you would need to risk $248 to win $150 from betting the Oilers on the moneyline.
On the other hand, if you were betting on the underdog:
Amount To Win = (Underdog Moneyline Odds / 100) * Risk Amount
So, to bet $150 on the Rangers winning on the moneyline:
Amount To Win = (140/100) * $150 = 1.4 * $150 = $210.
Therefore, a $150 bet on the Rangers on the moneyline would pay out $210.
For each NHL game, sportsbooks will estimate how many goals will be scored. This is known as the totals betting line.
You bet if there will be more or less total goals scored than what the sportsbooks are displaying. The lines are usually set to prevent a situation occurring when the number of goals scored equals the line set by the bookmakers.
Here’s that same Rangers @ Oilers but for the totals line:
From this, you can see that the bookmaker’s totals line is over/under 6.5 goals. If you think that the combined number of goals scored by both teams will be 6 or less, you would bet on the under.
Alternatively, if you think that the combined number of goals scored by both teams will be 7 or more, you would bet on the over.
There may be instances, like below, when the sportsbooks do in fact display the totals line as an exact goal figure:
In this event, if the total number of goals scored by both teams is exactly 6, the bet pushes and you receive your original stake back.
The third way for beginners to bet on the NHL is the puckline. This is similar to moneyline but the puckline installs the underdog with a 1.5 goal advantage and the favorite with a 1.5 goal disadvantage.
This means the favorite becomes less likely to win but increases the potential payoff if they do. Likewise, the underdog becomes more likely to win but the potential payoff decreases.
If you decide to bet on the favorite to win on the puckline, they must win by 2 goals or more. If you bet on the underdog, they must either win or lose by exactly one goal.
Let’s bring back the Rangers @ Oilers game for the puckline odds:
So, if you bet $100 on the Oilers now on the puckline, you would make $180 profit but they must win by 2 goals or more.
If you bet on the Rangers on the puckline, you would profit $100 from a $190 bet but they must either win or not lose by more than 1 goal.
If this game went into overtime or a shootout, the Rangers would automatically cover the spread.
This is because the only way Oilers can win in overtime or the shootout would be by a margin of one goal.
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Betting NHL Periods
NHL betting is not restricted to making bets on the full length of the match. Bookmakers also offer opportunities to bet on each period of NHL games.
However, the betting lines will be adjusted by the sportsbook for each specific period.
The lines for the first period are created prior to the game starting. The second and third-period lines are then created and adjusted based on the previous period’s action.
NHL Prop Bets
NHL prop bets are skilled or unskilled propositions combined with a wager.
Skilled prop bets require you to use your NHL knowledge to increase your chance of winning, whereas unskilled prop bets are mostly reliant on chance and are unaffected by your knowledge of the game.
A popular NHL bet is the scorer of the first goal.
This does not require you to pick the winner, just the player that scores the first goal. Intuitively, this would be a skilled prop bet as you can use all sorts of statistics, team strategies, etc to aid your decision.
If you’re betting on the NHL for profit, you should stick to skilled prop bets. If you’re looking for a bit of fun on the side, choose unskilled.
However, as easy as it sounds to choose between skilled and unskilled, a sportsbook will not tell you which is which. Different sportsbooks will have different prop bets so it’s up to you to figure if it requires skill or not.
NHL future bets predict the outcome of the season or the winner of the Stanley Cup. They can be made before and during the season, as well as the playoffs, but the lines will change throughout the season based on how the results turn out and favorites/underdogs emerge.
However, unlike the other bet types, futures will not pay out until the playoffs are over. This means that you will not have access to that money for a while.
This is the ultimate guide to NHL betting for beginners.