The NHL is one of the most popular sports leagues in the United States and it is also massive from a betting perspective. Each team plays 82 regular-season games and the playoffs rage on for many months, so there is a great deal of action to wager on throughout the year. There are 24 teams spread across the USA and another seven in Canada, and they all have large and passionate fan bases. Wagering on the action is the perfect way to enhance the thrill of watching a big hockey game and you had plenty of exciting options at your disposal.
Odds compilers at the best NHL sportsbooks will assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of each team before the season begins. They will then assign a set of odds on each team to win the Stanley Cup, to win its conference and to win its division. It starts with the favorite, the team rated the highest by the oddsmakers, and goes all the way down to the rank outsider.
For example, Tampa Bay Lightning was the +750 favorite ahead of the 2019-20, followed by the Vegas Golden Knights at +900, the Toronto Maple Leafs at +900, the Boston Bruins at +1000 and the St Louis Blues – the defending champion – at +1400. Meanwhile, Ottawa was all the way out at +30000.
When you see a plus sign before a set of odds, it tells you how much you stand to make from a $100 stake. A $100 wager at +750 would net you a profit of $750, while a $100 wager at +30000 would net you a profit of $30,000. That tells you that the odds compilers believed Tampa Bay had a great chance of winning the Stanley Cup, while the Ottawa Senators were expected to struggle badly.
You can also find quirkier futures odds, like the winning nation of the Stanley Cup (the USA or Canada). You can bet on which division will yield the winner or which conference will yield the winner. As previously mentioned, sportsbooks offer futures odds on who will win each division and conference too.
Another popular market involves wagering on who will win the Hart Memorial Trophy, while some fans also love betting on the Rookie of the Year. You can find even more exotic bets, such as who will have the better save percentage out of two rival goaltenders. Sportsbooks will also allow you to bet on whether each team will secure over or under a given total of wins throughout the season.
These futures odds will constantly change as the season wears on. If one team goes on a great run, the odds on it winning its division and conference will surely become smaller. When there are just four teams left in the playoffs, the odds on each of them winning the Stanley Cup shrink considerably. When a team struggles, the odds grow longer. If one player is having a great season, the odds on him winning the Hart Memorial trophy grow shorter.
This is the most common type of wager on a hockey game. The sportsbooks will measure the relative strengths and weaknesses of two teams facing one another, factoring in issues like fatigue, injuries, recent results, head-to-heads, motivation levels and so on. Then they will assign a set of odds to each team.
You might see the Philadelphia Flyers at +110 to beat the Edmonton Oilers, and odds of -120 on a win for the Oilers. When you see a minus sign before a set of odds, it tells you how much cash you need to lay down to make a profit of $100.
A $120 wager at odds of -120 would earn you a $100 profit. Of course, you are by no means obliged to bet that much, A $20 bet at -120 would net you a profit of $16.67 if successful. A $20 bet at +110 would net you $22 in profit. That tells you the sportsbooks rate Philadelphia as the slight underdog, while Edmonton is the favorite.
The puckline skews the betting lines by giving the supposedly stronger team a -1.5-goal handicap. Sticking with that example of the Flyers against the Oilers, Edmonton would be given a -1.5 handicap as it is the favorite. You would then expect to see odds of +200 on Edmonton -1.5, while Philadelphia +1.5 might be priced at -275.
If you bet on the Oilers to cover the puckline, they would need to win by two or more goals for your bet to be successful. If Edmonton only won by a single goal, you bet would be a loser, so it is a trickier bet. However, your reward is higher, as a $20 wager would result in profit of $40 as opposed to $16.67 on the moneyline.
Philadelphia could either win the game or lose by a point and your bet would be a winner if you backed it to cover the puckline. That makes it easier to succeed. However, your profit would be greatly diminished compared to betting on the moneyline.
A puckline bet is more commonly used when one team is a big favorite. If the Golden Knights are -275 to beat the Senators, you could expect to find -109 on them to cover the puckline. You will sometimes see the puckline called the point spread.
This is a straightforward wager on how many goals there will be in a particular game. The odds compilers will analyze how strong each team is on offense and defense and their relative strengths and weaknesses. They will then set a Total Goals line, for example 6.5 goals.
You could then expect to see odds of -109 on over 6.5 goals in the game and -109 on under 6.5 goals in the game, although different sportsbooks offer different lines. You might also see alternative total goals lines, for example over/under 5.5 goals and over/under 7.5 goals. This skews the odds in different directions, allowing you to earn a greater potential profit or diminish the risk of your bet losing.
Total goals betting is great if you are unsure which team will win an NHL game, but you feel like it will be a tight, low-scoring affair or an exciting, open contest. You will often find total goals mentioned in expert NHL picks.
This allows you to bet on the final score of a particular game. It is much harder to predict than simply naming the team that will win the contest, but you are rewarded with far greater odds. You can also bet on multiple correct scores. For example, you might put $10 on Vegas to beat Ottawa 4-1, $10 on it to win 5-1 and $10 on it to win 5-2. This spreads your risk out, and you can still generate a significant overall profit if any of those selections prove to be correct.
A prop bet is short for proposition bet and it refers to a market that does not necessarily have a direct bearing on the result. Common props include betting on a team to win the first, second or third period. You will also find interesting player props, such as whether a particular player will score two or more goals in a game, whether a goaltender will secure a shutout in a game or how many saves he will make.
This is dialled up massively when it comes to the Stanley Cup Finals. For the biggest games of the year, you will find a wonderful array of intriguing prop markets. They can be great fun, but they can also offer excellent value to the serious bettor.
An NHL parlay is a brilliant option for hockey bettors, as it allows you to combine multiple selections into a single wager. For example, you could bet on the Islanders to beat the Jets, the Flames to beat the Red Wings, the Blues to beat the Canucks, the Predators to beat the Coyotes and the Kings to beat the Sabres, all on the same weekend.
Each one of those predictions would have to be correct in order for your bet to pay off, but if successful you would be rewarded with a far higher payout than if you had divided your stake into five and bet on each team to win individually.
You can also mix and match parlays. You might bet on the Jets to win, the Flames to cover the puckline and under on total points when the Kings take on the Sabres, all in a parlay. Check out the expert NHL predictions before placing an NFL parlay wager and you could end up earning a huge profit off a relatively small stake.