Hockey betting is growing in popularity in the United States thanks to the explosion of online sportsbooks that allow gamblers to place wagers on NHL games without having to go to a physical sportsbook location. Hockey betting is a bit trickier than other more common forms of sports betting because NHL odds are structured differently.
The main difference between hockey odds and other sports is the point spread. While sports like football have unique point spreads for each game that the favorite must win by to “cover” and pay out, all NHL odds in terms of goals are the same. Every game’s “puck line,” or point spread, is set at 1.5 goals. That means the favorite must win by more than one goal to “cover” and pay out while the underdog can lose by no more than one goal and still pay out.
All NHL odds bets are done on the moneyline, which is basically the ratio of the payout to the wager. For example, if a team is a -150 favorite, you would have to bet $150 just to win $100. But if a team is +200 underdog, your $100 bet would pay out $200.
NHL Regular Season
The NHL features 31 teams (32 starting in 2021) that all play 82 games between October and April. Teams may have one to two days off between games but will other times play games on back-to-back days.
During the season, popular online sports books like DraftKings Sportsbook or FanDuel Sportsbook will offer NHL odds at least a day before the game. All hockey odds are based on the puck line, so every favorite must win by more than one goal to pay out. The size of the payout is determined by the moneyline.
The NHL playoffs is a weeks-long elimination tournament featuring 16 of the teams with the best records in the league. The playoffs are divided into two conferences — Western and Eastern — and consists of four rounds of best-of-seven series that alternate between each team’s home arena. The winners of each of the NHL’s six divisions are automatically entered as the top three seeds in each conference.
Along with moneyline bets, all online sportsbooks offer NHL odds on the point total. Bettors can wager on whether the combined point total between the two teams will be “over” or “under” the projected sum. These bets also have their own moneylines, so if an “over” is likely to hit, it will pay out less than if it was less likely, in which case it would pay out more.
The winners of the Eastern Conference and Western Conference face off in the Stanley Cup finals. The best-of-seven series typically takes place in late May and early June. These games typically have two to three days of rest in between and NHL odds are usually posted well ahead of gametime, allowing bettors to do all the research they need before submitting their wager. Since these are the finals, they draw significantly more bets than the rest of the NHL playoffs. Depending on team news or injuries, the puck line and money line may also shift from when betting opens to when betting closes.
NHL Betting Markets
Once you are familiar with moneyline, puck line, and point total goals, you an toy with other types of bets offered by sportsbooks.
A parlay is a bet in which you can combine two or more bets into one. Both bets must hit for you to win, which substantially increases the risk, but also the payout.
Prop bets are available on many online sportsbooks. These allow you to be on single-game events, like how many shots a goalie will save or if a certain player will get a hat trick. You can also make in-game bets on many sites, which allow you to bet on real time possessions and other stats.
Best NJ Sports Betting Sites
Along with DraftKings and FanDuel, there are numerous options for New Jersey gamblers to get started. 888 Sportsbook, which partnered with Caesars, offers a mobile sportsbook app, as does the SugarHouse Sportsbook, William Hill, playMGM, and BetStars. Other casinos have vowed to launch their own platforms soon. Most of the platforms have little difference outside of their user interface, though some will offer slightly different hockey odds than competitors.mes.