Betting Hockey at Online Sportsbooks
Of the four main professional sports leagues in the US, the NHL would be fourth on the list in total betting revenue at online sportsbooks after the NFL, NBA and MLB. However, savvy sports bettors understand that from a pure value standpoint, betting hockey games on a regular basis probably tops the list.
Similar to baseball, the three most common ways to bet on any hockey game are through the use of a:
- Puck Line
- Total Line
The moneyline is a handicapping tool that is designed to evenly spread the money bet on either side of a straight-up game. You will have to risk more money than your bet to take the favorite and you can earn a higher return on your bet taking the underdog.
Upsets in hockey and especially the NHL are rather common so you can create a rather lucrative return on investment betting on underdogs on the moneyline when the timing is right.
A typical NHL moneyline might be listed as follows:
Chicago Blackhawks +130
St. Louis Blues -150
The road team will be listed on top and the underdog is normally designated by a plus (+) sign. The favorite has a minus (-) sign next to its odds.
In this betting scenario, you would have to risk losing $150 to win $100 betting St. Louis as a home favorite. Betting on Chicago to win the game as a road underdog would return $130 on a winning $100 bet.
The bigger the favorite, the higher the risk betting on that team to win straight-up. Some online books will offer a NHL dime line which makes it more attractive to bet the favorite by lowering the risk.
Chicago Blackhawks +130
St. Louis Blues -140
The dime refers to the difference of only 10 in the moneyline odds.
Hockey’s version of a point spread are puck line odds. The favorite needs to win the game by two or more goals to pay off on a puck line bet. The underdog cashes in if they win or lose the game by just one goals.
The puck line spread is always 1.5 goals with adjusted moneyline odds for each team. Using the example above, the puck line for this same game may look like this:
Chicago Blackhawks (+1.5) -140
St. Louis Blues (-1.5) +120
In this betting scenario, you can win $120 on a $100 bet that St. Louis beats Chicago by two goals or more. If you bet the Blackhawks to win or cover with the 1.5 goals, you would have to risk $140 to win $100.
Given the favorable odds for betting favorites on the puck line, this becomes an excellent value in games where the confidence level is high that they can win by at least two goals.
Another common way to bet on hockey is using the total line odds. This is basically an OVER/UNDER bet on total goals scored by both teams. If a game goes into overtime, the eventual winning goal counts in the final combined score.
The main attraction of betting the NHL total line is the limited range. The lowest total might be set at 5 goals. The highest total tends to be 6.5 goals. This can to make it somewhat easier to predict whether the final score will go OVER that number or stay UNDER.