How to Bet on NHL

Hockey Betting Explained – How to bet on NHL

NHL bets have been popular for as long as the league has had an audience, so it’s no surprise that fans still enjoy the thrill of their wagers while watching fast-paced battles for the puck. Bookmakers and fans both get to reap the rewards of this thrill, and there are plenty of different NHL bets out there. But hockey betting can be a complicated world to enter into, especially if you’ve never bet on sports events before. That’s why before we discuss bet types, we’ll take a look at the most fundamental aspect of any bet, the odds. If you’ve got questions about how to bet on NHL games, then we’ve got the answers you need.

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How to bet on NHL Odds | Making sense of the numbers

The most important factor to consider when it comes to any form of sports betting are the odds. If you’ve ever looked through your local sportsbook, you’ve probably seen a bunch of three-digit numbers next to scheduled games, with one number in each pairing being negative, while the other is positive. Those numbers are your odds, and understanding them let you know how much you could stand to win if you hit the mark.

Let’s explain by way of example. Let’s say the Tampa Bay Lightning is going up against the New York Islanders for a playoff game. After looking through a sportsbook catalog, you find that the odds for a moneyline bet are (-200) for Tampa Bay and (+150) for New York.

This means is that if you bet $200 on the Lightning and they win, you’d net yourself a total of $300. When you’re dealing with negative odds, the number inside the brackets represents the amount you’d need to wager in order to win a profit of $100. So, in this case, your return is exactly 50 percent (i.e. $100 on a $200 bet).

On the other hand, if you had bet $100 on the New York Islanders and they’d won, you’d get a total payout of $250. This is because you’re supposed to calculate positive odds in a different way from negative odds. In the case of positive odds, the number in the parentheses tells you the amount you’d win if you placed a $100 bet. This means that you’ve netted a nice 150 percent return on your bet (The $100 you put up for your wager, and a $150 in winnings).

A helpful tip for remembering how to calculate your odds is to keep in mind that a positive number tells you what you stand to win, while a negative sign tells you what you need to bet. The other amount in both cases is 100 dollars. So, a positive amount is what you would win on a 100-dollar bet, while a negative amount is what you would have to bet to win 100 dollars.

What the numbers really mean | The basics of NHL Betting Explained

If your reward is less than your original wager amount, that tells you that you’ve placed your bet on the fan favorite. Negative odds denote the team that’s more likely to win, hence the lighter winnings.

So, in our previous example the Islanders were the underdogs, and that’s why betting on them resulted in you winning over thrice what the same amount would’ve yielded if you’d bet on Tampa Bay and won. But this is just one isolated game we’re talking about, and the odds being lower has other implications as well.

How to bet on NHL Playoffs | Identifying the right bets

Knowing how to bet on NHL games means knowing how to consistently place bets that are likely to result in winnings. Obviously, we’re not expecting you to predict the future here with 100 percent accuracy; you just need to do some basic math to objectively see the worth of a bet.

You see, it’s easy to go one of two absolute ways with your bets. Some people will elect to always opt for the safer bet, and go for the team that’s more likely to win. Others will look at the amazingly high odds being offered for a bet on the underdog and let themselves get persuaded into making a wager. But upsets happen all the time, and the underdog is usually the underdog for a reason. So how do you vet your bets?

For the sake of explanation, let’s head back to our previous example. We had odds of (-200) for the Tampa Bay and (+150) for New York. After doing a bit of research on the teams and other important factors, you estimated that the Lightning actually has a 55 percent chance of winning, while the Islanders are at 45 percent.

To figure out what the Expected Value of both bets is, you’ll do the following math:

EV = (Win Probability * Decimal Odds) – 1 

Applying that formula to our example, you calculate that the expected value you gain from betting on Tampa is:

(0.55 * 1.5) – 1 = 0.83 – 1 = -0.17

Now lets calculate the EV of a potential bet on New York:

(0.45 * 2.5) – 1 = 1.13 – 1 = +0.13

Comparing those two values, you’ll see that both are fairly negligible. That’s okay, though. What we care about isn’t the value, it’s whether or not that value is positive. A positive value lets you know that your bet is a value bet, which means that, probabilistically speaking, the reward outweighs the risk. A negative value, meanwhile, implies a bad bet, regardless of how high the odds or how sure the outcome (just from a statistical point of view though; even a negative EV bet could result in a win).

So, in the case of our example, while Tampa Bay was, objectively speaking, the better team; they definitely weren’t the better bet, because of how low the payoff was.

Conversely, because so many people were so sure that Tampa Bay would win, they actually ended up pushing New York’s odds up until a bet from New York actually became the better bet. That’s why you should always keep a close eye on the numbers when you’re placing bets on hockey, or any other sport for that matter.

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The fundamental aspect of NHL betting is understanding the odds, as they determine your potential winnings. Odds are expressed as negative and positive numbers, and they vary for each team in a matchup.

Negative odds represent the amount you need to wager to win a profit of $100, while positive odds indicate the potential winnings you’d get on a $100 bet. Negative odds are for favorites, and positive odds are for underdogs.

Negative odds suggest that the team is favored to win, but the potential winnings are lower compared to positive odds. Positive odds indicate an underdog with a lower chance of winning but higher potential winnings.

To make informed bets, you should calculate the Expected Value (EV) of your wagers. By estimating the win probability and using the formula EV = (Win Probability * Decimal Odds) – 1, you can determine whether a bet has positive or negative value.

Monitoring odds is crucial because they can change based on public perception and team performance. Making value bets with positive EV ensures that, over the long term, your potential rewards outweigh the risks, even if individual bets may not always win.