How to bet on hockey
If you are new to betting on the NHL or looking to learn how to bet hockey for college or international tournaments…maybe even the Olympics. We have built a hockey betting guide to help your wagering. We cover the basics from how to read a betting line, money line bets, puck line bets and we have some more advanced topics like betting a round robin. If you can’t make it to Las Vegas to wager, we have a guide to betting on the NHL from anywhere.
How to Bet Hockey?
Good luck and let’s start with the most basic NHL betting of all….
How to read a Hockey Betting Line
This basic tutorial will help you understand how to read a hockey betting line. Here is an example of one:
101 Toronto +105 +1.5 (-270) Over 5.5 (+115)
102 Chicago -125 -1.5 (+230) Under 5.5 (-135)
The home team will always be listed on the bottom. The number to the far left is the rotation number for the team. If you want to bet on Chicago. Instead of telling the bookie “Chicago”, you would just tell him “102”.
Hockey Money Line Bet
Betting on a hockey money line is a form of wagering that does not include a puck line. In a money line wager the team you bet on simply needs to win the game outright for your bet to win. Both the favorite and the underdog have odds attached to them, in order to create an active and balanced market for both sides of a bet.
At first glance, betting on the favorite seems more attractive because they need to beat a lesser opponent. However, because of the odds, the payout will be less when betting on the favorite in a money line format. With money line wagering, the bettor can expect that the bigger the favorite, the smaller the payout.
On the flip side, betting on the underdog may seem daunting, given that they are not expected to win, but the odds assigned to an underdog in a money line format could result in a bigger return for the bettor if the underdog pulls through for the outright victory. In this case, the bettor can expect the bigger the underdog, the greater the payout.
Example of How to Bet a Hockey Money line
Here is an example of NHL money line betting:
101 Colorado Avalanche -175
102 Dallas Stars +135
In this example, the Colorado Avalanche are favorites over the underdog Dallas Stars. While there is no assigned point spread in a money line bet, bettors can identify the favorite with the negative (-) symbol and the underdog with the positive (+) symbol.
In this scenario, bettors would need to wager $175 on the Avalanche in order to win $100. However, if the bettor were to wager the same $175 on the underdog Stars, he would win $236.25 upon victory. ($175 X 1.35 Odds = $236.25). If you wanted were to bet $100 on the Dallas Stars and Dallas was to win. You return would be $235. The $135 won in the bet and the $100 wager.
Check out Bovada’s bonus offer to get started…unless you are in Canada. If you are a Canadian citizen, then you can use the Bodog bonus offer to get started
What is a Hockey Game Total?
A hockey total is a set number of total goals expected to be scored in the game. Sportsbooks set a total number for the combined score of both teams and bettors can bet on the game going over or under the total. After the line is set. It might move if the betting public places a lot of money on one side or the other. That is why you will sometimes see an over total at -140 or even higher. In general the lines start out at -110 and then are adjusted by the amount wagered.
If the game total was set at 5.5. The bettor wagers on the over, he would need both teams to combine for six goals or more to win the bet. If the bettor were to wager on the under, he would need the combined goal total of both teams to be five or less to win the bet.
Game totals can also be presented in whole number formats. When the game total is a whole number, there’s a chance that the total combined number of goals scored in the game could be the exact same as the game total. This would be considered a push and the bet would be returned the gambler on a straight bet. If it is on a parlay the bet would be no action and the parlay would be reduced to the remaining bets on the ticket.
Example of a Hockey Total Bet
Here is an example of betting on an NHL game total:
101 Chicago Blackhawks -110 5.5 o(-130)
102 San Jose Sharks -110 u(110)
In this example the team numbers are in the far-left column. The money line bets are both -110. The last columns contain the total or over/under information. The total is set to 5.5 goals. The over is set at -130 and the under is set at +110. Using this example, if Chicago was to defeat San Jose by a score of 4-2, the total combined score would be six, meaning the game went over the total.
What is a Hockey Puck Line?
A hockey puck line is a type of point spread, meaning that it works as an advantage for the game’s underdog by leveling the playing field between both teams. This means that the favorite of a hockey game needs to defeat their opponent by more than the point spread in order for the bet to win. Puck line betting is unlike point spreads in most other sports, as the line is always +/- 1.5. As a result, sportsbooks will alter the spread of a hockey game by adjusting the odds attached to each puck line.
Bettors have the option of wagering on the favorite to win by two or more goals, or they can bet on the underdog to lose by no more than one goal.
Example of a Hockey Puck Line
101 Chicago Blackhawks -130 -1½ (+150)
102 Pittsburgh Penguins +120 +1½ (-170)
In this example, the Chicago Blackhawks are number 101 on the betting rotation. They are favorites over the Pittsburgh Penguins and are (-130) on the money line. The puck line is next and will have a positive (+) or negative (-) symbol to indicate if that team is giving or receiving goals. The odds on the far right are the puck line payouts.
The Chicago Blackhawks would need to win the game by two goals or more to win the wager, while the Pittsburgh Penguins would need to lose by one goal or less in order to win the wager. If you wagered $100 on Chicago at +150 odds, you would win $150 if they won the game by two or more goals. If you decided to take Pittsburgh and get +1.5 goals. You would win if the Penguins either win the game or lose by no more than one goal. But, you would have to wager $170 to win $100. If the underdog Penguins did win outright a money line bet of $170 would have won $204.
What is a Hockey Reverse Puck Line?
A hockey reverse puck line flips the puck lines over. The favorite is getting +1.5 goals and the dog is giving -1.5 goals. Obviously the return on my bet is greatly changed by taking a reverse puck line but, it can pay huge if I bet on the dog and it covers. Some casinos add the reverse puck line on a parlay like any other bet. However, there are casinos that consider it to be a prop bet that cannot be parlayed.
Example of a Reverse Puck Line Betting:
Here is an example of a puck line odds and reverse puck line odds:
201 Dallas Stars -1½ (+255)
202 Minnesota Wild +1½ (-310)
Reverse Puck Line:
301 Dallas Stars +1½ (-325)
302 Minnesota Wild -1½ (265)
In this example, the Dallas Stars are favorites over the Minnesota Wild. The puck line and reverse puck lines are visible directly to the right of the team name, accompanied by a positive (+) or negative (-) symbol to indicate if that team is giving or getting a goal and a half. The accompanying odds can be found on the far right and reflect the odds of a potential payout. As you can see there are different numbers on the board for each bet. This saves time when making the wager. Instead of telling the sportsbook writer that you are making a reverse puck line bet you can just let him know the betting number associated with the wager. As always, check your ticket before you leave the sportsbook window. If it is wrong they will correct it for you as long as you have not left the area.
In this scenario, the Minnesota Wild would need to win the game by two goals or more to win the wager, while the Dallas Stars would need to lose by no more than one goal to win. If I bet a $100 on the Minnesota Wild+265 odds, they would win $265 if the bet was successful. If I had bet on the Dallas Stars and they either won or lost by a goal I my odds would be (-325) and I would have to wager $325 on the Dallas Stars to win $100.
What is a Hockey Parlay?
A hockey parlay is a single bet that combines two or more wagers together. A gambler will win a parlay when all of the teams listed on the ticket win. If any of the individual bets within a parlay lose. The parlay would lose and the results of the other games on the parlay ticket would not matter. However, when there is a push on the parlay then the ticket odds are reduced as a push is considered no action. The biggest reason that parlays are so popular with most hockey gamblers is because of the large payouts.
The more bets I include within a single parlay, the greater the payout. There is a maximum of 12 bets on one parlay at most casinos. However, some Las Vegas sportsbooks limit the number of + teams on a bet. Meaning, they might limit the number of underdogs to 4 or 6 games on a card to limit the casinos financial exposure.
Example on how to bet a hockey parlay
Here is an example of parlay betting:
New York Rangers -1½ (+200)
Ottawa Senators +100
Winnipeg Jets +100
The wager combines one puck line bet with two money line bets to create a three-game parlay. All three teams must win their individual wagers for the parlay to be successful. If any of the three teams lose, the entire parlay would lose as well. When all three of the teams I bet on win, the parlay will be paid out based on the combined odds of all three bets.
When a wager within a parlay is deemed a push, that particular wager would be voided, and the parlay would continue with the potential payout after it is adjusted to reflect the updated number of wagers within the parlay.
In the above bet and won all three the return on a $100 bet would be $1,200. An $1,100 win and my $100 I bet. I know there are no longer ties in the NHL but if a tie or push was to occur in a hockey game then the bet would depend on the remaining two picks. My bet on the Rangers game was cancelled by bad weather so my parlay is reduced by one bet. Both Ottawa and Winnipeg go on to win their games. The return would $400. A $300 win and my original $100 bet back.
What is a Hockey Round Robin Bet?
A “round robin” is a simple way to bet on multiple parlays at one time, and the bet can include; money lines, puck lines, and totals.
You can create a round robin in hockey by selecting anywhere from three to eight teams that you want to include on your wager. Once the teams are all selected, the bettor can choose to create combinations of parlays between two to six teams. The calculation for the number of bets you will place depends on the total number of teams you initially select for this round robin. Basically, the round robin is just a shortcut offered by sportsbooks. You could make each bet separately, but the sportsbooks make it easier for you.
Hockey Round Robin Example:
Three team hockey round robin; Islanders, Sabres and Kings. You could parlay those three teams, but if only two won then you would lose your bet. Instead, you could do a round robin, which would create three separate two-team parlays, (Islanders/Sabres, Islanders/Kings and Kings/Sabres). That way, you get something back if you are correct on only two of the three games.
Make a $50 round robin, so we are betting $50 on each game:
Betting $50 to Profit $180
Betting $50 to Profit $175
Betting $50 to Profit $208
You’d be betting $150 for a potential profit of $563 if all three were correct. The lowest payoff would be $175, so you would make a small profit even if only two of the three teams win. If you only won two of three games on a regular parlay you would lose $150. There is a big upside cost to a round robin, though. If you had bet the same $150 on a three team parlay instead of a round robin and all three picks were right you would have won $1403.
Should I bet a Hockey Round Robin?
The major reason for a round robin parlay is if you are a grinder. Betting every night and trying to build your bankroll. Should you use round robins? The best way to decide is to look at your past bets. Take a look at the number of parlays you bet and add up total win. Then take a look at the parlays you lost and project what the return would have been if you had bet round robins. Compare the ROI of each. A note here is to remember you must reduce the amount won on parlays to reflect how much you would have won if they were round robin bets instead of a straight parlay bet.
I have found after doing my own research on my hockey betting that I am better off doing a tiered round robin. I use this bet instead of betting $50 on each two team parlays for a total of $150. I make $40 straight bets on each team and then I will bet $10 on a 3 team round robin on the two way for a total of $30.
What is a Hockey Prop Bet?
A hockey prop bet is short for a proposition bet. It is any wager that is not directly decided by the game’s final outcome. The most common types of prop bets are focused around team or player performance. Try prop betting if you would rather use your DFS picks for a player instead of betting on a game?
Here are some examples of the different types of hockey prop bets:
Individual Player Hockey Prop Bet
Here’s an example of an individual player prop bet for hockey:
How many points will Sidney Crosby score in the game?
Over 2.5 (-110)
Under 2.5 (-110)
Because a gambler is betting on how many points will be scored by Sidney Crosby in the game. He has the options of betting on Crosby scoring over 2.5 points or under 2.5 points. In this example, since I wagered on the over. I would need Crosby to score three or more points for the bet to win.
The betting line is presented in an over/under format. However, the wager is still considered a prop bet because the final outcome of the game will not impact the result of the wager. Should the Penguins and Crosby lose the game. I would still win my bet as long as he scores three or more points.
Team Hockey Prop Bets:
Here’s an example of a NHL team prop bet:
How many goals will the Pittsburgh Penguins score in the game?
Over 3.5 (-110)
Under 3.5 (-110)
In this example, I can wager on how many goals the Pittsburgh Penguins will score in the game. Because this bet is only based on the total goals of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I am given the option of betting on the Penguins over 3.5 goals at (-110) or under 3.5 goals at (-110). Consequently, the prop bet is different than a game total bet, which is based on the total goals scored by both teams. In this scenario, therefore. If I were to wager on the under. I would need the Penguins to score three goals or less to win my bet.
Since these bets are easy for the sportsbook to produce. They are becoming more popular. The are a variety of prop bets on every NHL game. As a result, in the Stanley Cup playoffs it is not uncommon for an online sportsbook to have over 50 prop bets available and more are being added all the time.