The National Hockey League ranks a distant fourth when it comes to betting on the four major professional sports leagues in North America. For those that make a living betting on hockey, that is undoubtedly a blessing in disguise. The fact that the bookies spend that much less time handicapping NHL games creates more loopholes for bettors to exploit. However, they have to take the time to break down the numbers and really figure out the matchups.
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The betting limits for the NHL might be lower than in other sports but if you spread the money around the right way you can certainly find ways to make a substantial profits wagering on hockey.
Betting On The NHL Money Line
The most popular NHL bet is the moneyline bet. That simply requires picking a winner and putting money on them the way you would in any other sport. Since the average margin of victory is so much smaller in hockey, the spread is a lot less common. However, the pucklines are available in every game. Nearly every sportsbook uses the 20-cent line on the NHL games. That number refers to the difference in the odds of the favorite and the odds on the underdog with movement based on the disparity between the two teams that are playing. The odds for the typical NHL game look like this:
Washington Capitals +110
Montreal Canadiens -130
What the NHL odds are saying here is basically means that somebody that wants to bet on Montreal can risk $130 to win $100. Anybody that wants to bet on Washington will risk $100 for a chance to win $110. This matchup features two pretty good and evenly matched teams. However, the odds for a game with a larger favorite will have a bigger disparity. Here's an example of that:
Buffalo Sabres +200
Pittsburgh Penguins -250
The bigger difference in the odds is typical in all sports. The Sabres would pay $200 if they win on a $100 wager. It would cost $250 to win $100 betting on the Penguins.
Betting The Puck Line
While the smaller NHL win margin eliminates the prospect of a point spread, the puck line is a very similar alternative. This takes it to account the disparity between the teams. The puck line allows players to either take 1.5 goals on the underdog or give 1.5 goals on the favorite. A wager amount that represents the matchup as outlined in the following example:
Winnipeg Jets +1.5 (-250)
Chicago Blackhawks -1.5 (+200)
Toronto Maple Leafs +1.5 (-110)
Montreal Canadiens -1.5 (-110)
Players that want to bet on Winnipeg will take the extra 1.5 goals at a price in order to ensure they cover. That means they can lose by a goal and you'd win your bet. Anybody that likes Chicago to win in a blowout will take them for1.5 goals for a chance at a big pay day. The same situation applies in the example of the game between the Maple Leafs and Canadiens.Aalthough the prices are different based on the talent of the teams playing. The moneyline is an excellent starting point for players that want to bet on the NHL. However, don’t be afraid to try the puckline if you find the right situation as you become more comfortable.