When betting on hockey, there are (generally) three different ways to bet on the games: Money Lines, Puck Lines, and Game Totals. Each form offers it’s own distinct advantages and sometimes one method provides a more distinct advantage than the other one.
Betting on the Money Line is essentially betting on the winner of the game – simple as that.
For example, let’s look at the odds for the 2009 Winter Classic game featuring the Red Wings at the Blackhawks. The Money Line going into the game looked like:
As you can see, Detroit was a slight (rare) underdog as evidenced by the positive odds (stating that if $100 was wagered, the bettor will receive $107 + wager of $100 in return). In fact, if you can remember, Detroit ended up winning that game 6-4, resulting in a win for any bettors who picked them prior to the game.
The Puck Line is designed to give the game’s underdog anywhere between .5 goals to 2.5 goals to start the game; however, usually bettors keep it at +/- 1.5 goals. Betting on the Puck Line gives advantages if you feel the game will be close (i.e. could go to overtime) or if the underdog has a chance to win and you don’t feel comfortable betting on the Money Line. Adversely, if you feel the favourite will win by two or more goals you can collect on the more favourable odds.
Looking back at the Winter Classic, the Puck Line going into the game (using bet365 as an example) was:
Detroit +1.5 (-270)
Chicago -1.5 (+220)
Giving Detroit 1.5 goals before the game starts, puts them in a great position to collect the points as a rare underdog and a team stacked with talent that had a very good chance to win the game. Odds like -270 means that you would need to bet $270 in order to receive a gain of $100 but sometimes (like in this case) the offer is too good to pass up.
Game Totals are simply betting on the total goals scored in the game and whether it will be over or under the selected total. Game Totals in the NHL typically range from 5 to 7 goals, depending on the teams playing. Look for teams starting backup goalies, two high-scoring teams playing each other, or a defensive showdown to find the best advantages when playing the Game Totals.
Using the Winter Classic example, the Game Totals posted were:
Over 5.5 (-112)
Under 5.5 (+102)
Since the final score was 6-4, a total of 10 goals, betting on the Over in this case would have won.
Money Lines, Puck Lines, and Game Totals are the three main forms of betting on the NHL; however, many sites offer more, harder-to-predict, bets like which team will score first and what team will win by what margin. As the bet gets harder, the odds increase, but the ability to accurately predict such an outcome gets even tougher – stick with the basics until you get more familiar with betting on the NHL.
Many betting sites offer betting on the NHL and it’s important to shop around for the best odds, but sometimes you don’t know who is running the sites. I use and trust bet365.com to place my bets and they usually offer a great sign-up incentive.
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