The NHL has been a growing sport and has plenty of action throughout its season for betting. With 32 teams playing 82 games a season, and 16 teams competing in Best of 7 series until the end of the Stanley Cup Finals, there are games almost every night from October until June. Here are some tips to help you improve when betting on hockey.
Most hockey bets accepted by mobile sportsbooks are on the NHL. Other forms of hockey betting include the NCAA’s Frozen Four and Olympic events.
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One of the simplest forms of betting on the NHL, moneylines are a great way to pick whichever team is the winner. Moneyline bets are used as a simpler bet to wager on what team is going to win. Lines can be varied depending on how well both teams are doing on the season and the expected starting goaltenders.
One of the things to avoid when betting on moneyline in the NHL is big favorites. The NHL is filled with plenty of upsets because the games are typically close. With the big favorites in the NHL, you have to lay a large amount of money to win less, which makes these bets harder to win overall when there are a few upsets.
A good strategy when betting on the moneyline in the NHL is to take underdogs. Watch for underdogs against teams due for a loss, playing a team’s backup goalie, a hot starting goalie, and more. Underdogs win roughly 40% of the time in the NHL, which means there is serious value to betting on underdogs, especially large ones.
In the NHL, spreads are known as puck lines. These spreads are usually listed at -1 ½ with the close difference in most NHL games. Occasionally puck lines get as big as -2 ½, which are something to follow. Most hockey games finish between one to two goals so if you can get a line at +2 ½, it is a good idea to bet on the underdog to cover.
If you want to bet on a heavy favorite, sometimes there is value in betting on them -1 ½ if you strongly believe they can dominate the game. If you can find good odds on a team +1 ½, there can also be a lot of value in that bet as a high percentage of NHL games end in one goal games, whether it is a tight game to the end or goes to overtime.
A big issue to keep in mind though is that teams down a goal or two late tend to pull their goaltender to add an extra attacker. This can lead to an easy goal late in a matchup, which can mess up an undergod puck line wager, while helping the favorite. Watching which teams give up a lot of empty net goals is important for someone betting on puck lines.
Over/ under betting
Betting on the totals in the NHL can be a bit different. Most NHL totals will be between 5-7 goals. To make up for this the odds on over/ under can vary. You can find odds like Over 5 ½ for +125. This helps balance out whether or not the over or under is a favorite in the matchup.
When betting on the total in the NHL it is important to keep a close eye on the two goalies starting in this matchup. If one or both of the teams are playing their backups, depending on how their backups have played, the over could be a good bet in that game. If two starting goaltenders are hot entering the matchup, it could be a good under bet. The lines may account for some of this, but we often find value on overs when backups are in the net.
Some strategies to look for when betting on the NHL totals is teams goals per game average. The Florida Panthers averaged 4.1 goals per game and 3 goals against per game in the 2021-22 season. Florida was a solid bet for a decent amount of overs that season because their games were typically high scoring. Watching out for two high scoring teams could be a great way to bet the over.
60 Minute Line
Another solid way to bet on the NHL is with the 60-minute line. The 60-minute line is a way to bet either team winning after regulation or you can bet a tie, which means the game goes to overtime. It is sometimes a three-way bet. This is a way to add value to both teams with the risk of the game going to overtime.
When looking at 60-minute lines it is important to look at how a team does in regulation. There are a handful of teams every season that play a large amount of overtime games and it might be best to avoid betting on games they are playing. Also, if two teams are really close in skill and in the standings, the game is more likely to go to overtime.
Betting on the tie in a 60-minute line is not a high value bet. Trying to figure out which few games go to overtime is tough to pick and it is unlikely to get those picks right. The 60-minute line is best used to add value to the two teams to win in regulation. If a bettor wants to bet the tie line though, the best bet would be a divisional game between two close teams late in the season.
Another option to wager on the NHL is futures betting. Futures bets are a way to place action on an outcome later in the season. You can bet on Stanley Cup winners, playoff teams, and more. If you are high on a team or a player to win the award early in the season or before the season starts, you can get really good value on the odds.
A good strategy is to take a team that has been close to winning the division, conference or Stanley Cup the last couple of seasons and is due to win it entering the new season. Typically this team was close or had a tough finish to the season and added some big pieces entering the new season.