Hockey is the most unique of the four major US sports. While other sports begin to crack down on rough play, hockey allows big hits and fist fights with minimal penalties. While it is fun to watch, its unique qualities make many wonder how to bet on hockey.
If you want a definitive guide to hockey betting, look no further. Below we will provide a guide on how to bet on hockey, from the different types of bets to the best strategies.
Hockey Betting Guide
Before we get to the different kinds of hockey wagering, we want to cover the aspects that make this a unique sport to bet on. Since the NHL is by far the biggest leader in hockey betting, we'll cover tips and strategies focused on the league.
To be successful at hockey betting, be sure to take all of the following into account before getting started.
Understand the rules & gameplay
Hockey is one of the more complicated games to bet on, thanks to its unique rules and style of play. This includes things like icing, substitution penalties, and the ever-famous penalty box. While you may understand the overall concept of hockey, knowing the intricacies of the rules can be a massive advantage when betting on NHL games.
You can get an in-depth look at hockey's rules here.
Don't overvalue home ice advantage
While home teams usually have a major advantage in sports, it's not always the case in hockey. While the home crowd may be rowdy, the glass around the rink can often drown out much of the nose that would normally rattle an opposing team. The game is also very fast-paced, limiting a road opponent's time to succumb to the game atmosphere. Home and away records will look much different in the NHL than in the NFL or the NBA.
Always understand hockey betting odds
Hockey betting odds are in the same format as other sports but have much more variance. For instance, a bet on the puck line (or point spread) and point total will almost always have the same lines. Almost every NHL game has a puck line of -1.5 and a point total of 6.5 goals. Instead of adjusting the line, sportsbooks instead adjust the odds according to each matchup.
This makes understanding hockey betting odds critical to having success.
Don't forget about the pulling of goalies
A common strategy in hockey is for the trailing team to pull their goalie at the end of a game. This allows them to add an extra skater and gives them a huge offensive advantage. While it improves their chances of scoring that tying goal, it also leaves their own goal wide open for easy scoring.
Be sure to remember this when picking hockey games, especially when in-game betting. A 4-2 lead can quickly become a 5-4 final within the final minutes of regulation.
Types of Hockey Betting
While hockey offers the same major bet types are other sports, they work quite differently. Here are some of the major options for each hockey bettor.
This is essentially the same as a point spread in other sports. The difference is that this line is not set based on the bookmaker's prediction of the margin of victory but instead stays at 1.5 goals. Like baseball, hockey is low scoring and involves smaller margins of victory, leading to this practice.
The bet functions the same as a spread bet, with bettors choosing if the margin of victory in a hockey game is more or less than 1.5 goals. However, hockey odds vary greatly depending on each matchup. This is not the most popular bet on hockey games, but it can result in big winnings. Taking a favorite to cover the line will result in much better odds than choosing them to win the game outright.
Money line bets are the simplest and most popular choice for hockey bettors. This involves simply picking the winner of any given game. Hockey odds will vary based on the teams involved. Always check the odds when placing a money line hockey bet, as some may make betting a favorite have little or no value.
Like the puck line, the point total will almost always be set at 6.5 goals. This may range from 5.5 to 7.5, but most will fall at 6.5. Bettors must choose if the final score will be more or less than that amount.
Hockey has no shortage of player and team prop bets to choose from, ranging from first goal scorer to total penalty minutes. These bets carry better odds but are harder to predict, so be sure you have a solid base of knowledge of the game and players before using them.
This option allows hockey bettors the ability to bet on future events. This could include player awards, division winners, and who will come out on top at the end of the NHL season.
One of the most popular future bets is the winner of the Stanley Cup. Even the favorites can receive good Stanley Cup futures odds, meaning it can be a great way to capitalize on the success of your favorite teams.
Single Game Parlays
With so many options to bet on any NHL game, single-game parlays are popular for those who bet on hockey. The advantage of creating single-game parlays is that they allow you to capitalize on games or teams that you have the most knowledge of. While placing several individual bets on the same game is risky, a parlay bet allows for maximizing potential winnings but with smaller stakes. Since hockey often has the worst odds of any sport, same-game parlays are a great way to improve your winnings.
As single-game parlay includes betting the puck line, money line, over/under, and player and team props.
Take Advantage of a Welcome Bonus
Now that you know how to bet on hockey, you are almost ready to start. Before you do, it is important to check for any welcome bonuses offered. Whether you are new to NHL betting or are new to our sportsbook, be sure to check for our best bet promotions under the "Promo" tab at the top of the page.
This will include things like deposit matches or bonus bet promotions. Betting on NHL games can be difficult, but using bet promotions can help give you a head start.
Check back often, as our sports betting promotions are constantly being updated.
Place Bets on Popular Hockey Games
While hockey leagues exist worldwide, we recommend sticking to the NHL when betting in the US. One of the big advantages of NHL betting is the information available for each team or game. Even those that aren't hockey fans can easily find information online or through friends and family.
NHL betting contains plenty of exciting events to choose from, especially come playoff time. Don't waste your time trying to educate yourself on global leagues when the top league is in your own backyard.