The National Hockey League isn’t as popular a sports betting avenue as the other three major sports leagues in North America. However, that doesn’t mean that hockey fans can’t make a substantial profit by betting on the game. Those that are serious about betting on the NHL can take advantage of the fact that hockey isn’t the priority of the sportsbooks. They can exploit the lines to make some serious cash. First, they have to understand the avenues available to them when it comes to betting.
Here is a look at the different types of bets that are available when wagering on hockey.
The most common method for betting on the NHL is playing the moneyline. The two teams in a given matchup are assigned a betting line based on the projected outcome. Then the bettor simply picks which team they think will win the game. The majority of sportsbooks use 20-cent line as the difference in odds between the favorite and underdog in NHL games. However, the moneyline can vary based on the matchup and the money wagered on each side of a game. For example, if the Toronto Maple Leafs visited the Montreal Canadiens, then the money line for that game would look something like this:
Toronto Maple Leafs +140
Montreal Canadiens -160
In this case, a $160 bet on Montreal would pay $100. For Toronto, a $100 bet would pay out $140. The difference is the plus and minus sign as they denote which way the math goes here.
Hockey fans can also bet on the puck lines that are assigned to every game. The puck line is very similar to NFL spreads only the lines don’t fluctuate the way that they would in a football game. Here is a look at what the puck line would look like for the example that we used above:
Toronto Maple Leafs +1.5 (-220)
Montreal Canadiens -1.5 (+200)
The Maple Leafs are the underdog so they would receive 1.5 goals on the puck line. That means anybody that bet on them on the puck line would win as long as they won the game outright or lost by exactly one goal. The Canadiens are the favorite so they would move to -1.5 on the puck line. That means Montreal would have to win by two goals or more in order for anybody who bet them on the puck line to win. The fact that the Canadiens now have to win by two goals or more while Toronto gains an extra goal on the puck line also leads to their betting odds changing. The Maple Leafs are listed at -220 to cover the 1.5 goals. Meanwhile, Montreal is listed at +200 to win by two goals or more.
The totals are the same as in every other sport. The sportsbooks establish an over-under for the game and the bettor simply picks whether he thinks the combined score between the two teams will be over or under that amount. An example for the matchup we used above would look like this:
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens Over-5.5 (-120)
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens Over-5.5 (+110)
The line for this game is set at 5.5. This means that if the teams score a combined six goals or more, the result is an over. If they combine for five goals or fewer, the result is an under.
The totals can move in either direction based on the matchup. Some lines can bet set at 4.5 while others can climb as high as 6.5 or 7. The majority of the time the sportsbooks set the NHL totals at 6 or 6.5.
Sportsbooks will also make the team totals available for NHL games, which is simply betting the number of goals an individual team will score in a game.
Another option that sports bettors have when betting on the NHL is the Grand Salami. This is the most rarely used option on this list. The sportsbook will set a combined total score for the entire night based on the number of games played and the bettor can pick the Over or Under based on how he thinks the day will play out.
With as many as 10-15 games on the schedule in a given night, the line could be set anywhere between 53 to 65 on most nights when there is a lot of game.
Predicting the total combined score of every game in a night isn’t the easiest thing to do. However, it is a lot of fun and yet another way to make some money betting on the NHL.