NHL Money Line, Point Spread, and Totals
How To Understand NHL Odds
The National Hockey League is one of the most popular sports to wager on – especially in the winter months. While it might not be as popular as the NFL just yet, betting on the NHL can be an absolutely thrilling experience if you know what you are doing, which is probably why more and more people have started betting on it in recent years. If you’re new to NHL odds, we’re going to walk you through the basics of how to understand them, so you can be a little more familiar with what you’re seeing on a sportsbook site.
How Do You Read NHL Lines?
There are three main types of NHL odds that you’ll see at a sportsbook: moneyline, puckline and totals. The moneyline is a betting line solely focused on who’ll win the game outright. The puckline refers to a spread of 1.5, so a team will have to win by two or more to cover. As for the total, that’s the combined final score of the two teams and you have to determine whether it will go over or under the set number.
Below, we’ll go into further into each type of betting line:
What Is The NHL Money Line?
The money line is as simple as it gets when it comes to wagering on the NHL. All you need to do is pick which team you think will win a given matchup, decide how much money you went to risk on them and then place your bet. Here is a look at what these types of hockey odds look like at Bovada:
Montreal Canadiens +140
Toronto Maple Leafs -180
In this example, Toronto is the home team and the betting favorite at -180 odds. This means that you would need to risk $180 to win $100 betting on the Maple Leafs to win this matchup outright. Montreal is the visiting team and is listed at +140, which means you could risk $100 in order to win $140 betting them to win outright. Remember, all that matters is picking which team will win and determining how much you want to risk betting on them to win.
What Are NHL Spreads (Also Known As Puck Lines)?
The puck line is similar to the money line in that there is a favorite and an underdog. However, the difference is that the teams are assigned a handicap similar to the point spread, which usually means the underdog becomes the favorite on the puck line and vice versa. Here is a look at what an NHL puck line option might look like at BetOnline using the same example we highlighted in the previous section:
Montreal Canadiens +1.5 -125
Toronto Maple Leafs -1.5 +105
With these types of NHL betting odds, the favorite Toronto is listed at -1.5 goals, which means they need to win by two goals or more in order to cover on the puck line. Since they now have to win by two goals or more, they move to a +105 underdog on the puck line. This means that you could risk $100 to win $105 betting the Maple Leafs on the puck line. You’re getting a better payout because their margin for victory has decreased.
At the same time, Montreal is available at +1.5, -125 on the puck line. This means that if the Canadiens win outright or lose by one goal or fewer, they cover on the puck line. Since they now have a one-goal handicap in their favor, Montreal becomes the favorite on the puck line at -125 odds. This means you would need to risk $125 to win $100 betting on the Canadiens on the puck line.
These types of ice hockey odds are the NHL’s version of “spreads” and offer an alternative to betting the moneyline.
See: Point Spread Betting
What Are NHL Over Under Lines (Also Known As Totals)?
Betting the total in hockey is similar to betting the total in the NFL, NBA or MLB. The sports betting sites will set the line for each game, usually either 5.5 or 6.5 goals. All you need to do is decide whether the teams playing in any given matchup will score more or less goals combined than the allotted total. Here is an example of what an NHL total might look like at MyBookie:
Dallas Stars at Vancouver Canucks
Over 5.5 Goals +100
Under 5.5 Goals -120
In this scenario, the total has been set at 5.5 goals. This means that if you think the teams will score six goals or more, you can bet the over at +100, which means you could risk $100 to win $100. On the flip side, if you think the teams will combine to score five goals or fewer, you could bet the under in this one at -120, which means you would need to risk $120 to win $100.
The odds for totals bets could vary depending on the sportsbook and the matchup but usually the standard for both sides of the total is -110 odds.
See: Over/Under Betting
Futures bets in hockey work the same as any other sport. Whether it’s betting on the number of wins you think a team will record throughout the full 82-game regular season or betting on which team you think will win the Stanley Cup before the year even begins, there are countless different prop bets made available for every NHL season. Here is a look at what an NHL futures bet might look like at BookMaker:
Calgary Flames To Win The Stanley Cup +2200
In this scenario, you can bet on Calgary to win the Stanley Cup at +2200 odds. This means that you could risk $100 to win $2200 if they end up winning it all. While the value is incredible, it’s important to keep in mind that winning it all isn’t easy and so there is an obvious risk betting on the Flames to win the Stanley Cup at the start of the season. Your bet is locked in for a long time and lots can change.
Keep in mind that these types of bets will have NHL team odds for every team still in contention, so you can bet on any team but their odds will obviously be different based on their perceived chances of winning.
Prop bets can be a fun and entertaining way to add to the NHL betting experience. Unlike the other options we have explained so far in this column, props cater to the performances of individuals or teams rather than the overall game results. For example, an NHL prop bet could include betting on whether a player will score a goal in a game. Another example could be a potential head-to-head matchup of which player will have more points than the other. With so many different kinds of prop bets available, you might want to take the time to check them out some time soon. Here is an example of what an NHL prop bet might look like at Heritage Sports:
Auston Matthews (Toronto) Goals vs. Ottawa 0.5 (-180)
In this example, you would need to bet $180 to win $100 betting on Matthews to score one goal or more against the Senators. If he doesn’t score a goal, then you would lose that bet.
For those who are well-versed with fantasy sports, they might consider these the best NHL odds because they can usually find edges with player performance or head-to-head matchups.
See: Prop Bets
Where Can I Bet On NHL Games?
Now that you understand how to read the lines, the next question is usually where can you bet on hockey. There are a number of great sportsbooks like Bovada and BetOnline – as well as many others that we recommend – that post spreads, moneylines and totals for every single game on the board. Check out our full sportsbook ratings and open an account to bet the NHL odds today!