How to Bet on the NHL: Part 1 – The Basics

Updated: March 26, 2019 at 12:52 pm by Facing Off

There is nothing like the speed and excitement of an NHL hockey game, and that intensity only ramps up when you have money on the line. Before you dive into betting on pucks, here is a primer on what you need to know.

NHL Moneyline Betting

The most common type of hockey bet is a moneyline bet, which is simply a bet on which team will win the game. The team with more talented players and a better record is often going to be more likely to win on any given night, and other factors come into play too such as home ice, injuries, and starting goaltenders. To make up for these factors, every game on the moneyline is listed with betting odds.

For example, if you want to bet on a Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins game, the Bruins will likely be the betting favorite on their home ice. This game might be listed as Montreal (+130) vs. Boston (-150).

The team listed with the “-” is the betting favorite. The number after the minus indicates how much you’d have to bet to win $100. So in this case, a $150 bet on Boston would pay you your original $150 back plus a $100 profit if the Bruins win the game. This payout ratio works no matter how much you bet; a $75 wager would win you $50 or a $450 wager would win you $300.

The “+” team is the betting underdog. The number after the plus tells you how much you’d win on a $100 bet. In this example, a successful $100 bet on Montreal would yield a profit of $130, or a $20 bet would pay out a $26 profit.

NHL Puckline Betting

In addition to moneyline odds, each NHL hockey game is also listed with puckline odds. The puckline is a spread of -1.5 goals on the favorite and +1.5 goals on the underdog. A bet on the favorite at -1.5 goals will only win if the favorite wins the game by two goals or more, while a bet on the underdog at +1.5 will cash in the event that the underdog wins outright or loses by just one goal.

For example, a game between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks might be listed at Los Angeles (+165) and San Jose (-190) on the moneyline. But on the puckline, the line might be Los Angeles +1.5 (-160) vs. San Jose -1.5 (+140). The puckline gives underdogs much better odds of paying out with the handicap and favorites a much higher payout if they can win by two or more goals.

NHL Totals Betting

The total on an NHL game is a posted number of goals that a bettor can wager on the total number of goals scored in the game being higher or lower than.

For example, the total for Minnesota vs. St. Louis might be set at OVER 5.5 goals (-120), UNDER 5.5 goals (+100). A 4-3 St. Louis win would be seven total goals, paying out the OVER 5.5. Conversely, a 2-1 Minnesota win would be three total goals and a successful bet on the UNDER 5.5. Totals betting is only concerned with the total number of goals scored in the game; which team wins has no impact on the result.

Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for analysis on this week’s top games. As well, the OddsShark Computer serves up daily NHL picks for bettors.

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