After years of watching the NHL and hearing that legal sports betting is rolling across the US, you think it’s time to test yourself by betting on hockey. Where do you start and which sportsbooks have the best hockey and NHL odds?
Our beginner’s guide to betting on hockey will help you figure out the specific things to watch out for when you’re new to wagering on ice hockey.
Click a section below to read about something specific or start from the beginning if you’re totally new to wagering online.
Online Hockey Betting
Nowadays, many states have sportsbooks that are totally online. You can register from the comfort of your own home, make a deposit electronically, get a sportsbook bonus, and even use apps to wager on your phone.
There are many choices, however, and it can be difficult to figure out which is best if you want to bet on hockey. The following sportsbooks have all the ice hockey leagues that you’d want to wager on (and other sports, of course), can be downloaded and played from many states, and are widely regarded as favorites across the country.
Terms to know for Hockey Betting
Betting on hockey is fun and exciting but to understand the ins and outs of wagering, it’s helpful to have a baseline knowledge about the terms you’re going to see on an online sportsbook or at a retail wagering location. Start here if you need help with learning how to read odds.
Next, we will look at some hockey betting terms to know when betting on the NHL and other leagues.
- Puck line
- Totals (over under)
- Live betting
- Period betting
- Alternate lines
- Prop bets
- Team totals
- Grand Salami
- Reduced Juice
- Dime line
- Sharp money
- Bank roll
- Betting unit
- Flat betting
- Line movement
- Reverse line movement
Alright, it is back to school time! We’re going to learn a lot of new words and grasp a few new concepts once we’re done with this section.
This is the odds for which team will win the game. It is represented in three different formats, American, Decimal, and Fraction. Decimal odds are represented by a decimal number, such as 2.65. This means that whatever you bet is multiplied by 2.65, and that is what you will receive if your bet wins.
Fraction odds are more confusing and look like 10/1 or 20/39. The amount you can win is represented by the number on the left, and the amount you have to risk is represented by the number on the right. For instance, 10/1 odds would pay $100 for a $10 bet.
This format is usually only used for larger bets, but you may see it from time to time in the moneyline.
American odds are much harder to grasp at first, but they are the favorite of most people. This is represented by a positive number for the underdog and a negative number for the favorite.
For the underdog, the number is how much you can win on a $100 bet. The favorite is how much you need to risk to win $100. An example is a game between Nashville (-180) and Winnipeg (+160). Nashville is favored to win the game, and you would need to bet $180 to win $100. Winnipeg is the underdog, with a $100 bet winning $160.
If you notice, their numbers aren’t even. This is to cover what is called the book’s juice, or commission. More on that later. To have the moneyline explained more thoroughly, read our other guides.
This line is much easier to understand, as most sports fans are familiar with the basic principle. Other sports would refer to this as the spread. In hockey betting, the puck line is a bet on whether the favorite will win by two goals or more versus the underdog losing by one goal or winning.
In hockey betting, the number of goals on the regular puck line does not change. This will always be plus or minus 1.5 with the .5 to prevent a tie.
Totals (Over/Under): This is a bet on the number of goals scored by both teams in the game. The odds will be for either over that number or under that number.
This is when bets are placed throughout the play of the game and new wagering opportunities are in real-time. Odds are adjusted throughout the game. This is also sometimes called in-play betting.
Placing bets on the outcomes of individual periods.
These are betting lines that differ from the regular money, puck, and totals lines. Odds are usually higher for these bets.
For example, a normal puck line may be -1.5 +135, and the adjusted would be -2.5 +325.
Props betting focuses on specific occurrences within the game and not the outcome of the game itself. For instance, betting that Vladimir Tarasenko will score a goal in the game or Jake Allen will stop more than 30 shots.
A parlay is where you tie multiple events (two or more) up into one wager.
Futures betting is where you will bet on things happening later in the future, not tonight’s game. Most futures betting is around Stanley Cup winners, conference finals, making the playoffs, or winning specific trophies.
This is an over/under bet on goals scored by one team in the game, not both.
This is an over/under bet on the total number of goals scored in all games played in one night.
This is when a sportsbook is running a lower commission on its lines than the industry standard.
This is where a line is set to be only 10 points or “cents” different. For example, a line of -120 and +110 would be considered a dime line.
A term used to describe where the expert bettors are placing their money.
This is an acronym for Return on Investment. Commonly used in stock markets, it has been adapted to the betting world to reference how much money you are getting in exchange for how much you are risking. Most sports bettors are very happy with a two to three percent ROI.
This is a way to protect yourself by betting against a previous bet.
This is the advantage you think you have on a specific bet. For example, if you think you have a 75 percent chance to win a bet, but the odds are showing it at 50/50, you have a 25 percent edge. These numbers are fictitious as there is no way of attaining that level of certainty in betting.
This is the amount of money you have put away specifically for the use of hockey betting and are comfortable losing.
This is a percentage of your bankroll you use as a standard bet.
This is where the number of betting units you wager every game doesn’t change.
This is when the odds for a game change. Many factors affect the odds, and things change continuously leading up to the start of play.
Reverse Line Movement
This is where a large number of people are betting on a certain outcome, but the lines move in the opposite direction. This usually indicates that sharp money is going against public opinion.
Now that some basic hockey terms are defined, there are a few things left to discuss. There are slight variations to the language used for other sports, like when placing a bet on soccer, for example.
View Hockey Picks
Any upcoming games from both the NHL and international hockey leagues might have some picks already. It’s always a good idea to do your research and these picks that real hockey fans made are a good place to get you started.
Hockey Wagering Rules
You need to know the rules of where you’re betting on hockey. Every hockey betting app might have different rules, so you should familiarize yourself with them. Here are the basics of what you need to know before placing a bet.
Ice hockey games are typically divided into three periods of 20 minutes each. Each game you bet on must play a minimum of 55 minutes. Your bet should be refunded if the game is suspended before 55 minutes of play occur. Once 55 minutes are up, whether the game is suspended or not doesn’t matter. The final result will be recorded as the current score.
All bets are determined by the final score of the game. This score will include overtime and shootouts. So how does this work? First, overtime scores are valid. If a team scores in overtime, it is added to the score of the game.
But what about when they’re tied after overtime and there is a shootout? Simple. The team that wins the shootout has one point added to their final score and is declared the winner for betting purposes. If you want to stick with more traditional fantasy games, try the MKF app instead.
FAQs about how to bet on hockey
Yes, although it depends on which state you are from. Many states now have online and retail sports betting that is totally regulated and available for people 21+.
Yes, however, it depends on where you live. Many states have online sportsbooks you can download to your phone or access from a laptop computer. But some states have retail-only rules so you must physically go to a sportsbook. And some states till have yet to regulated their sports betting industry; in this case, you cannot place wagers on hockey at all.
Sometimes, but any bonuses you find are never ‘free’. Always read the associated terms and conditions when registering for a sportsbook and it’s bonuses. Also always check any online hockey promotions like odds boosters to see what the specifics are.
For example, if you choose an odds boost on an NHL game, you may not be able to cash out early and that would void your bonus. Just pay attention to the bonuses you accept.