While some might bemoan this fact, others have celebrated due to less action when it comes to NHL betting. The belief is that oddsmakers spend the majority of their time on the most popular sports, making certain that their lines are as sharp as possible. When it comes to hockey, however, less attention is paid and therefore smart gamblers can make a consistent profit.
If NHL betting sounds like a fun way to generate some extra cash, the items in this article should help you get started. We’re not promising any miracles, but at least you’ll be familiar with the basics. The rest can be learned as your sports betting career starts to pick up momentum.
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Before we get started, here’s an excellent NHL video to check out. It has nothing to do with gambling, but it does feature grown men beating each other to a pulp. Welcome to the world of professional hockey, ladies and gentlemen.
NHL Betting Advice
Veteran bettors may scoff at the following advice as being simplistic, but you’d be amazed at how many beginners fail to develop good habits when it comes to NHL wagers. Remember: you’ve got to know the rules before you can break the rules.
- Don’t Get Starstruck:
In some sports, a dominant player can have a major effect on the outcome of the game. That’s not the case in hockey, with the goalie position being the exception. The offensive stars usually only play about a third of the game, so don’t spend all your time reading up on a team’s marquee names.
- Check Out the Over/Under:
This is an area where bookmakers sometimes pay less attention, so the sharp bettor can find advantages in their favor.
- No Substitute for Hard Work:
Most oddsmakers are more familiar with the NFL and NBA, so you can gain an edge by increasing your overall knowledge of the sport. This takes hard work and dedication, though, as the books have no intention of handing you anything.
- Study the Goalies:
A hot goalie can shut down the opposing team, so make sure to study these players above all others. By the same token, a pair of sub-par goalies can lead to a high-scoring game.
- Exercise Self Control:
The NHL has 30 teams playing 82 games, and you’d be crazy to wager on all of them. Pick your spots and try to find the best possible opportunities for making money.
- Study the Schedule:
Look for opportunities in the schedule. For example, a team taking on an especially physical opponent could be vulnerable if they’re forced to play the following night.
Common NHL Betting Options
Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to make your first NHL wager. But which type of bet are you going to choose?
- Money Line:
The most popular type of hockey wager, the money line often looks like this: Calgary (+200) vs San Jose (-250). In this example, Calgary is the underdog (denoted by the plus symbol), and you can win $200 by risking $100. San Jose, meanwhile, is the favorite (denoted by the negative sign), and the bettor must risk $250 in order to receive $100.
- Puck Line:
This works just like point spread betting, except the numbers are always constant. The favorite has their final score reduced by -1.5, while the underdog gets a post-game increase of +1.5. After the adjusted scores have been factored in, the team with the most points is declared the winner.
The bookmaker sets a total for the number of goals scored in a game, and it’s up to the bettor to predict if the actual total will be higher (over) or lower (under).
The bettor wagers on two or more games, but all picks must be correct in order to receive a payout. Multiple types of bets can be parlayed, such as a money line and an over/under.
- Prop Bets:
Various aspects of the game can be wagered on by the bettor. Examples include the first team to score a goal, the over/under on a goalie’s saves, and the player with the most penalty minutes.
I’ve never been particularly fond of the NHL, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make wagers on the games. The same statement applies to all our readers, meaning hockey superfans and haters alike can share in the potentially lucrative lines offered weekly from October through June. Just make sure you’re adequately prepared before committing your hard-earned cash, as even a mediocre oddsmaker is more than a match for a lazy sports bettor.