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.
Let’s assume that there is an upcoming match between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals. If you were to see this in a sportsbook, you would see something that looks like:
New York Rangers + 130
Washington Capitals -140
As you can see, the Capitals 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 $140 to win $100 when betting on the Capitals, whereas you would win $130 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 / 100) * Amount To Win
So, if you were to win $50 from the Capitals winning:
Risk Amount = (-140/100) * $50 = -1.4 * $50 = -$70
Therefore, you would need to risk $70 to win $50 from betting on the Capitals.
On the other hand, if you were betting on the underdog:
Amount To Win = (Underdog Moneyline / 100) * Risk Amount
So, if you were to bet $50 on the Rangers winning:
Amount To Win = (130/100) * $50 = 1.3 * $50 = $65.
Therefore, a $50 bet on the Rangers would pay out $65 if they won.
It’s worth noting that NHL moneyline bets only apply to regulation time. If the match ends as a draw and enters overtime, your bet will be settled as a loss.
Summary: selecting the winner of the game.
If you want the best daily NHL moneyline bets, read this blog post.
For each NHL game, sportsbooks will estimate how many goals will be scored. This is represented as the total betting line. It is also known as over/under betting.
You bet if there will be more or less total goals scored than what the sportsbooks are displaying. The lines are usually displayed as a decimal to prevent a situation occurring when the number of goals scored equals the line set by the bookmakers.
Going back to the previous example, let’s imagine your sportsbook thinks that the totals line between the Rangers and Capitals is 5.5 goals.
Therefore, if you think that the combined number of goals scored by both teams will be 5 or less, you would bet on the under.
Alternatively, if you think that the combined number of goals scored by both teams will be 6 or more, you would bet on the over.
In the event that the sportsbook does display the total line as, a whole number, for example at 5 goals, and the combined number of goals scored between the Rangers and Capitals is exactly 5, you get your original stake back, no matter if you bet over or under the line.
Unline moneyline wagers, NHL totals may include overtime but this will depend on the sportsbook so make you check before placing a bet.
Summary: the combined number of goals scored by both teams is either over or under the number set by the sportsbook.
Read this article for the best NHL totals.
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 go through an example.
Los Angles Kings +1.5 -250
Tampa Bay Lightning -1.5 +220
So, if you bet $100 on the Lightning on the puckline, you would win $220 profit but they must win by 2 goals or more.
If you bet on the Kings on the puckline, you would profit $100 from a $250 bet but they must either win or not lose by more than 1 goal.
If this was to be represented on a normal moneyline, the odds would look like this for the same game:
Los Angeles Kings +120
Tampa Bay Lightning -130
Now, you may be thinking that you’re always much better off betting on the puckline favorite than the moneyline favorite because the payoff is much greater. However, don’t get this fool you. While you can make profit from betting the puckline, don’t use it blindly or you will end up losing more often than you’d like.
Summary: like the moneyline except the team must either win by 2+ goals or lose by no more than 1.
NHL First Period Betting
The three methods to bet on the NHL above are also applicable to the first, second and third periods as well as the full game.
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 propositions combined with a wager. They are either skilled or unskilled.
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.
This means that 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.
A popular NHL bet is the scorer of the first goal. This does not require you to pick the winner, just the team (or the player in some cases). Intuitively, this would be a skilled prop bet as you can use all sorts of statistics, team strategies, etc to aid your decision.
Summary: proposition with a wager
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.
Summary: wager on the outcome of the season or playoffs.
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