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A Comprehensive Guide to NHL Betting

NHL betting isn’t exactly a new concept in the modern era. Even those of us who’ve never looked through an online sportsbook, or happened to visit their local bookmaker, have probably placed a friendly bet at one point or another.  

Everyone’s encountered at least one person who’s always on the lookout for their next wager, even within seemingly innocuous settings. Any circumstance with more than one possible outcome can form the basis for a bet, whether it’s who’ll eat the most chicken wings at the table at a restaurant or whether the waiter will return with your order for drinks without messing up and serve each item to the right person at the table. 

Now, most wagers like the ones we just described are just intended to make the experience of waiting at the table a bit more fun, or at most, maybe the winner gets a free meal out of it, or just plain old bragging rights. They’re a great way to break the ice and get people talking too. Since the stakes are low and the events seem random, we’re inclined not to think about the factors that might play a critical role in the outcomes of our bets. It’s just a little wager between friends; why take it too seriously? Besides, it’s not as if there’s much to think about, is there?

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Well, that isn’t exactly true. There are always key factors to consider; some critical detail makes one particular side more likely to win than the other. Think about the bet regarding the service you’ll receive from your waiter. Does the place seem short-staffed, with a dozen packed tables and only a couple of servers? Did your waiter seem spaced out or inattentive while noting down the order? Look around you; do you see other people confused, perplexed, or even outright angry at what they’ve been served?

All of these details are readily available to anyone who chooses to look for them, so clearly, there’s no information that only certain people are privy to. Then, everyone at your table has access to the same intel, though different people might interpret this information differently. We call information like this common knowledge. Everyone has all of the facts, they just need to be attentive enough to notice the right things, and not be thrown off by red herrings.

On the other hand, the other bet is a head to head contest in which all parties are going to duke it out to see who can eat the most. At the very least, everyone should have a good estimate down for how much they’re capable of eating themselves. But you can’t be certain how much anyone else has an appetite for. This makes this a game of incomplete information; like a poker game, you don’t know what cards anyone else is holding. But what if you have access to a few extra details by virtue of prior experience with some of the people at the table. Maybe a similar wager was placed at some point in the past, and you learnt that the person sitting next to you was once a competitive eater. If it’s safe to assume that the other people at your table don’t know this curious fact, it gives you an edge when placing your bets. Not only are you aware of additional information, but this piece of information could play a critical role in deciding the outcome of the bet.

This is what we call proprietary knowledge. This is information that is only available to a select few people if any at all. Proprietary knowledge is the other side of the coin when it comes to placing bets. In any given situation, you’ll always have access to common knowledge (along with everyone else). Still, you might also know a few interesting details that the other bettors aren’t aware of.

Both types of knowledge serve to inform what we call the “odds” of a bet. Betting Odds tell you which way a bet is likely to swing. While the simple and low risk, low reward nature of most friendly bets means that you don’t really have to try to think of what your odds are in terms of numbers as the stakes get higher. The events you’re betting on get more complicated (and thus harder to predict), you’ve got to have an objective way to weigh the viability of one bet against another.

Introduction to Sports Betting

This brings us to what we’re actually here to talk about; sports betting. You can place bets on just about any sporting event out there (provided you can find a bookmaker to offer you a bet), and hockey is no different. There’s plenty of bets to place and a lot to get acquainted with.

The National Hockey League’s been around for over a century, and it’s seen plenty of memorable seasons and iconic moments since then. Given its fast-paced, action-packed nature, and the likelihood for tensions to run high during high profile or fiercely contested games, it’s no surprise that hockey still remains near and dear to the hearts of many a fan. 

What you might not know is that the Stanley Cup is actually older than the NHL. While it began as an awarded cup and then transitioned into a world series’ contest, a battle between conference champions to determine who stood atop the world of ice hockey for that year, it’s now changed formats several times.

Popular fixtures like the All-star game and the Stanley Cup Final still see plenty of bets placed around the States and in Canada, where the sport enjoys cult popularity. Not every game is sold out, and it’s not like every person who’s watching is placing a bet as well, but there’s plenty of action to go around. NHL betting wasn’t as big before smartphones, and the internet took over, but now, just about anyone over the legal gambling age can place their bets from the comfort of their homes. Curious about how? Why don’t we explain… 

How to Bet on NHL Games

The NHL betting is the most popular ice hockey league atop the Northern continent, and it even enjoys audiences in other parts of the world. We’ve already talked about how the internet has introduced bettors the world over to comfort they couldn’t have expected before. Naturally, this has led to an increase in the number of people placing NHL betting.

If you’re wondering how you can get in on the action, we’ve got all the information you need to go from betting novice to betting pro! Just read on, and you’ll find out everything you’ll need to know within this guide. To start things off, let’s discuss how you can start placing your bets.

Sign-up for a sportsbook

First things first, you’re going to need to sign up with one of the many available online sportsbooks that offer NHL betting options. There’s plenty of reliable NHL betting sites out there, so you don’t need to worry about making a tough decision right off the bat. If you’d like some help settling on a bookmaker, why don’t you check out our list of the best sportsbooks in the business, ranked for a variety of factors that count the most when it comes to your betting experience. We’ve looked at a wide array of factors to assess reputation among the betting crowd, convenience, accessibility and other important aspects of the betting experience delivered by each site, so you know exactly what you’re getting when you sign up with a particular online bookie.

Once you’ve signed up for a sportsbook, you can browse through the NHL betting on offer, along with the odds of each individual bet, as well as favored picks in some cases. Before you can start placing bets though, you’ll need to first deposit money or put down a payment method on file, so be sure you pick a sportsbook that accepts your preferred payment method. 

Once you’ve got your payment method set up, you’re good to go. But as someone new to betting might not know which type of bet to go for or how to choose between different kinds of bets. So let’s jump right into the options at your disposal.

The Different Types of NHL betting

You’re probably seeing a lot of different numbers and abbreviations if this is your first time going through a sportsbook’s bet catalogue. We’ve got explanations for each type of bet outlined for you, and a section on odds to help you figure out how to read the numbers and assess the potential reward you could get out of a particular bet. So without further ado, let’s dive right into the most basic type of bet: the Moneyline bet.

Moneyline Bets

A moneyline bet is the simplest type of bet in any competitive sport. Moneyline betting lets you pick the winner in a particular two-way contest, and it’s the same for Hockey. You’ll bet on whichever team you feel is more likely to achieve a favorable result, and your bet wins if you bet correctly. 

Winning margins, high scoring players, or any other individual factor does not influence the result of a moneyline bet. One team will have positive odds, while the other will have negative odds. If that isn’t the case, both teams might have exactly the same odds, probably -110. We’ll cover what these numbers mean in our section on odds, so stick around to find out. For now, all you need to know is that the team with positive odds is the underdog, while the team with negative odds is the favorite.

Hockey is a low-scoring sport and a low-scoring sport, so you might be thinking of betting on draws if you’re not familiar with the sport. However, hockey does not, unlike baseball and soccer, which might offer draws as a third option in moneyline bets. This is due to overtime proceedings or a shootout, either of which can be used to decide the final outcome in a game. You can rest assured that your bet won’t be annulled in hockey games (or rather, when it comes to the NHL betting; International games have their own rules).

Spread Betting

A spread basically outlines a range a team must ‘cover’ to satisfy the bet. In gridiron football, it’ll be called the point spread, while it’ll be referred to as the puck line in ice hockey. A spread bet will give an advantage to the underdog team, and if the underdog team manages to at least lose by less than the spread amount, it means a victory for anyone who bet on the underdog. For the favorites, this means they need to not only obtain a final result that’s in their favor, but they also need to do it by at least a 2 goal margin.

Let’s say you’re considering a moneyline bet for the Tampa Bay Lightning. They’re favorites in their match against the San Jose Sharks, but the potential payout just isn’t high enough to justify going in. Then comes the spread.

Now, when it comes to hockey, the puck line is fixed at 1.5 goals. This means that the underdogs always receive a 1.5 goal advantage in calculating the outcome of a bet in favor of them, while the favorites always have 1.5 goals deducted.

So in the case of our example, a bet for Tampa Bay would only cash out if they won by at least two goals (in order to still have a higher score than the Sharks after having 1.5 goals deducted). Meanwhile, a bet for the Sharks would cash out so long as they managed to prevent the Lightning from getting a 2 goal lead. So even if the Sharks were to lose by a single goal, a spread bet for them would net you a reward.

This is why the point spread bets are such a big draw for sportsbooks. They have the power to make even one-sided fixtures into nail biters, and by affording the underdogs an advantage, they can make an otherwise one-sided contest into a more-than-fair wager. 

Totals Betting

Hockey also features bets for totals, which are a nice, easygoing alternative to bets on the outcome. Totals bets are pretty straightforward, perhaps even more so than the moneyline. How so? We’ll explain.

When it comes to a totals bet, you’re betting on the total amount of goals two teams will score between them. So you’re not betting against a particular team per se, only against the clock. You’re trying to decide whether the total scored goals will be higher or lower than a certain amount when time runs out.

You decide what total you want to bet on, or you’re offered a particular number by your sportsbook, depending on the specifics of the fixture. As a low-scoring sport, you shouldn’t expect to see too much variation between offerings, but if you’ve ever got the inside scoop about a particular team losing a critical part of their defensive line, you could definitely try to bet big against them.

Generally, Totals bets are lauded for being some of the safest bets out there, especially when it comes to hockey. If you want to make some extra winnings on the side, or if you’re just tired of betting on outcomes and could use a break, totals provide a great alternative that lets you enjoy the game and the thrill of the gamble.

Reading NHL Odds

Now we’ll get to the most important factor to consider when deciding on which NHL betting to place: the odds. We already talked about how one team’s odds may be positive while the other might be negative and what this means for each team. Now let’s illustrate how the numbers work by way of example.

Going back to our previous example, Lets say the Tampa Bay Lightning is going up against the San Jose Sharks for a playoff game. You find that the odds for a moneyline bet are (-150) for Tampa Bay and (+200) for San Jose. 

This means is that if you bet $150 on the Lightning and they win, you’d net yourself a total of $250. With negative odds, the number inside the brackets represents the amount you’d need to wager to win a profit of $100. So, in this case, your return is around 66 percent (i.e. $100 on a $150 bet).

Conversely, if you’d bet $100 on the Sharks to win the NHL betting, and they did, you’d get a total payout of $300. Positive odds are calculated differently from negative odds. In the case of positive odds, the number in the brackets tells you the amount you’d win if you placed a $100 bet. This means that you’ve bagged a cool 200 percent return on your investment (The $100 you put up for your wager, and an even $200 in winnings).

The numbers work the same way when it comes to totals and other kinds of bets, so you needn’t worry about how to calculate them. Just keep in mind the rules we’ve outlined above, and you should be good to go.

Combining your bets | Parlay Betting

Parlays are your ticket to big winnings since they let you combine multiple bets with earning way more than you’d have won on separate individual bets. Let us explain how.

Say you’ve got three matches on a given day, each paying out (+150) for the teams you’re NHL betting on to win. Now, if you’d just placed three separate wagers on three separate tickets, you’d net yourself a cool $450 on a $300 bet, making your total $750. Parlays are slightly different.

You will just bet your amount once for a parlay, so your initial bet will be reduced from 300 to 100 dollars. That amount will compound and carry over to each succeeding outcome. What this means is that if you successfully bet all three outcomes, your payout would be calculated as follows:

100 + (100 x 1.5) = 250

250 + (250 x 1.5) = 625

625 + (625 x 1.5) = 1562.5

So your final payout on one three-way parlay featuring three underdog bets would be a whopping $1562.5. That’s more than double what you’d have earned on three individual bets, and that too while wagering only a third of the amount. Before you go wagering all your hard-earned cash on parlays, you should know about the catch.

In the case of a parlay, your successful bets roll over to become the bet for your next successive outcome. This means a multiplier effect, which is why your earnings are so much higher than what they’d be with individual bets. However, if any single bet within the parlay fails, your entire amount is forfeit. 

This makes parlays high-risk high reward bets that carry a huge potential payout along with a very high chance of failure. If you’re certain about a couple of outcomes, sure, you can earn some big bucks. But if even a single event doesn’t go your way, you miss out on winnings that would otherwise have been guaranteed.

Final Word

That’s it for our comprehensive NHL betting guide. If you’ve got more questions about individual types of bets, you might find answers in one of our bet-specific guides. We have guides relating to almost every aspect of sports betting, so be sure to check them out if you find yourself in a pinch.For details on the best sportsbooks, consider going through our sportsbook guides drafted by a team of experts with years of experience with betting and the associated statistics. There’s plenty of other kinds of bets aside from the ones we’ve described here, so be sure to reference them if you come across unfamiliar terms. As always, don’t forget to gamble responsibly, and remember to keep things fun!

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