NHL Odds

Understanding NHL Odds

While the NHL is the least-popular professional league amongst the four major sports, interest in the sport has gradually increased every year amongst North American fans.

While the sport isn’t quite a mainstream darling amongst casual fans yet, many professional bettors prefer betting hockey over the other sports due to there being less interest amongst casual bettors, thus giving professional bettors an edge in finding value on the board.

Betting on hockey does not come without its share of challenges however.  On any given evening, you can run into a blistering hot goalie that will seemingly win the game on their own.  Empty net goals can cause heartbreak when hoping for a team to cover the puck line, and the infamous “puck luck” just may not be on your side.

With that said though, once you are able to navigate through the many different ways you are able to wager on this sport, you should begin to see more success as a bettor.  With 2,542 games played every regular season, NHL odds are prominent from October to June in any given season.


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The NHL (and betting on hockey in general) is practically identical to betting on baseball when it comes to NHL betting markets and outcomes.  Like MLB, the NHL primarily uses moneyline odds for sports wagering cause point spreads are not extremely practical in sports that typically have the winner scoring single digits.

For those not familiar with moneyline betting but chomping at the bit to bet on the sport of hockey, you will be happy to find out that moneyline betting is extremely simple to understand.  Here’s an example of what a typical NHL regular season moneyline may look like:

Boston Bruins +120
Washington Capitals -110


Just like a moneyline bet on any sport, you are only picking the side you think will win.  When a (-) minus symbol is in front of the line, that indicates the team is the favorite.  When a (+) plus symbol appears in front of the line, that indicates the team is the underdog.  Each bet works off a scale of $100.  In other words, if you believe the Capitals will win as the home favorite, you would wager $110 to win $100.  Conversely if you believe the Bruins will win as a road underdog, you would wager $100 to win $120.

It should be noted that this scale is not the required amount of money you need to risk in order to bet on this sport.  The scale adjusts to your budget and unit size.  If you are betting smaller, it would take $11 to win $10 on the Capitals or $10 to win $12 on the Bruins.  Always bet within your means!
Once again, just like MLB betting with “run lines”, the NHL has their own version of a point spread called the “puck line”.  The puck line works the exact same way as a run line, only in hockey as opposed to baseball. 

The standard puck line will almost always be +/- 1.5 goals, with the juice being higher on betting on a team to cover a two-goal spread and the payout being larger if a team wins outright by two or more.
An example of what a NHL puck line may look like would be something like so:

Boston Bruins +1.5 (-240)
Washington Capitals -1.5 (+230)


If you notice, the underdog Bruins are now overwhelming favorites to cover two-goals.  This illustrates the importance of 1.5 goals in a NHL hockey game, as most games are extremely tight throughout.  Winning by 2 or more goals is common, but not as common as games that are within a margin of one.

Another benefit to a puck line bet is if you bet on the +1.5 side, you are guaranteed to win that wager if the game heads to overtime.  A -1.5 puck line bet will require the game be decided in regulation for you to have a chance to win.

Rarely, oddsmakers will have a puck line listed at two goals.  Oddsmakers will also sometimes over alternate lines of +/- 2.5 and 3.5 goals, with varying prices (typically large if you are betting on the underdog side) based on matchup.
NHL totals betting is a very popular hockey betting strategy and is typically one of the most entertaining bets in all of sports.  The average amount of goals scored in any given NHL hockey game is roughly 6, so typically you will see NHL totals set at 1.5 goals per period and 5.5 goals per game.

NHL totals betting is no different than over/under betting in any other sport.  You are betting on two possible outcomes, either the combined goal total goes over 5.5 goals, or below that number.  When betting NHL totals by period, you are betting that that individual period will be above or below 1.5 goals.

On occasion when two teams square off that tend to score a higher frequency of goals than others, oddsmakers may set the total anywhere from 6 to 6.5 goals for the full game, and 2 goals for an individual period.

Here is an example of an NHL totals bet you may see when reviewing a betting board:

Boston Bruins
at Washington Capitals


Total: Over 5.5 (-115) / Under 5.5 (+105)
 

In this instance, oddsmakers give a slight edge to the over, while offering plus money for the under.  If you believed the total would be 6 goals or more, in this instance you would need to wager $115 to win $100.  If you believed the total would be 5 goals or less, you would win $105 on a $100 wager.
A parlay is a single wager that involves 2+ teams winning outright or covering a point spread.  Parlay wagers carry with them the allure of a large payout with a smaller risk as opposed to picking just one team to win. Parlay bets pay out significantly more than a straight wager, because it is significantly more difficult to get a sequence of bets correctly than it is to bet on a single outcome. 

NHL hockey parlays work in the same manner a parlay in MLB would work.  Instead of using a fixed odds system that you would find in football and basketball, with hockey parlays you are generally only picking moneyline winners. 

However, some sportsbooks do allow for you to also parlay puck line wagers.  These are obviously a little more difficult to hit than picking outright winners, and as such the payouts could be significantly larger than picking teams to just win the game. 

Correlated parlays (in other words parlaying the favorite with the over) are generally not offered in hockey betting (just like MLB betting). 
NHL futures betting focuses on anything pertaining to the NHL that is set to happen in the future (hence the term “futures”).  Some common examples of NHL futures bets would be:

·         Betting on a team to win the Stanley Cup
·         Betting on a team to win the Western/Eastern Conference
·         Betting on a team to win their division
·         Betting on a player to win an award
·         Betting on a team to go over/under a projected win total

There are countless examples of what futures bets can entail, and each sport offers their own unique variation of these.  The only real drawback to futures wagering is that your money is tied to this bet for the duration of the season.  If you are ok with this, then futures wagering is a very fun and potentially profitable means to bet on hockey.
Prop betting in the NHL is not as popular as it is in the other major sports, particularly the NFL, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for it. 

First things first though, for those unfamiliar with what prop betting is, prop betting is simply making a wager on a specific player or a specific event.  The vast majority of prop bets do not have anything to do with the outcome of the game or a point spread
.
Some prop bets may look very similar to a futures bet, and on occasion the two markets tend to form a Venn diagram of sorts.  Having said that, props in NHL betting may look like this:

·         Which team will score the first goal?
·         Which team will win the first faceoff of the Stanley Cup Finals?
·         Marc-Andre Fleury Over/Under 30.5 saves
·         Alex Ovechkin Over/Under 0.5 Goals Scored
·         Will there be a goal in the first 10 minutes?

Another prop bet exclusive to only MLB and NHL betting is dubbed the “Grand Salami wager”.  The Grand Salami is an over/under bet with the number set of all the goals to be scored that day.  The Grand Salami bet may look something like this:

NHL Grand Salami: 

Over 33.5 goals (-120)
Under 33.5 goals (EVEN)


If you believed the total amount of combined goals scored from across the NHL that day would exceed 33.5, you would bet the over.  If you felt the opposite, you would bet the under.

 If there is a deterrent to Grand Salami bets, it’s that they require you research the entire board, as opposed to just specific matchups. 

Here at OddsUSA, our experts have you covered like a loose puck in the crease with the latest news and information to help you profit the most.  Good luck and happy wagering!