The National Hockey League (NHL) is the premier ice hockey league in the world. The league, based in North American, is comprised of 31 teams spread across the US and Canada. These 31 teams are made up of the best players the sport has to offer. While other hockey leagues exist worldwide, they all pale in comparison to the NHL in terms of size, skill, fan base, and betting importance.
For those of you that like to bet ice hockey, you should be all too familiar with the NHL. If you’re new to ice hockey betting, you’ll catch on quickly. In this guide, we’re going to walk you through everything you need to know to dominate NHL ice hockey betting. We’ll walk you through strategy, bet types, where to bet, and even give you free access to our experts and their real-time picks.
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Why They are the Best NHL Betting Sites
Mastering picking winners in the NHL is only part of the puzzle. Your picks mean nothing unless you have somewhere to take your action. While there are tons of options of online sportsbooks, there are only a few that are high-quality options. Before we go any further, we need to point out that no sites we recommend can pay us for better rankings or a better recommendation.
We only recommend the sites that offer the best NHL action, the most trustworthy experience, the biggest diversity of bet types, and the fastest payouts. Sadly we operate in a shady industry, and many sites don’t have the same integrity we do. Thankfully, you can trust with 100% confidence that the sites we are recommending are the best options available.
Check out a few of the sites above and find the ones that fits your needs. They’re all going to have similar experiences, but some of the smaller features will be different. All of these sites are great, but find the one that’s the best fit for you. Once you get set up at a site, you’ll be able to start hammering away your NHL bets without having to leave your chair.
Our Expert Picks
The NHL can be a challenging betting landscape to tackle. With 31 different teams made up of 20+ person dressed rosters that almost all actively play, it’s easy to suffer information paralysis. You may find yourself lost about where to start or how to begin tackling making a betting pick. You’re in luck today as we’re here to help.
One of the best ways to learn how to bet a sport properly is to get a mentor. You have to find an expert who is willing to show you what they are betting and explain to you why they are making that bet. The problem is that most expert sports bettors do not like to share their knowledge. They prefer to keep it to themselves and not teach anyone else their tricks and tips.
Well, we do things differently here at The Sports Geek. We’re pulling back the curtains, and our experts have agreed to share their secrets and expert picks with you. Not only that, they’ve agreed to explain why they’re making certain picks and what their thought process was. You don’t have to pay for these picks. They’re completely free and always will be. It’s our way of giving back to the industry that has helped to make us who we are today.
For those of you that are skeptics, these are not our “left-over” or “B-team” picks. These are the picks our experts are making given to you in real time so you can bet right along with them. Heck, if you don’t feel like learning anything else you can stop reading this guide now and just bet what our experts recommend. If you’re wanting to get better at NHL betting, though, we recommend taking their picks and studying the thought process behind each one. This will help teach you how to become your own sharp NHL bettor.
Live Expert Picks
NHL Betting Strategy
Ice hockey is one of those sports that seems simple on the surface but becomes intricate when you begin to look under the hood. The basis of the game is getting the puck in the net, but there is a lot more that goes into achieving that goal. For this reason, many new NHL bettors find themselves struggling to get themselves into a winning groove. Bettors often feel that knowledge of all the players, all the teams, and some basic strategy is enough to get ahead in the sport.
In reality, though, it requires a much more in-depth understanding of NHL betting strategies to be a consistent winner. We mention that this problem plagues new NHL bettors but seasoned bettors are not immune. It’s easy to fall into a rut or be missing a strategic piece that’s holding you back from bigger and more consistent wins.
While our expert picks from earlier should help both new and seasoned NHL bettors, we wanted to put together a comprehensive collection of NHL betting strategies that you could reference at any time. We probed the minds of our experts and compiled the best tips and strategies they use to make their winning picks. This information should help you to get jump started or pull you out of the rut you may currently be in.
The Most Popular NHL Bet Types
In order to be a stronger NHL bettor, you need to have a complete understanding of the different types of bets available. Sportsbooks online offer several different betting options giving you complete flexibility in how you choose to bet. Long gone are the days where the only bet options you had are who would win the game.
Before we get into the different bet types, we want to make sure that you’re aware of something important. Just because there are tons of different bet types does not mean that you have to make tons of different types of bets. Stick to what you know and only branch out if you see an opportunity.
The complexity of a bet has nothing to do with its profitability. You can be a successful NHL bettor without ever touching any of these other bet types. You can also be a successful NHL bettor by betting all of these different types of bets. The point is that your success as a bettor does not rely on placing complex bets. It relies on your ability to leverage your knowledge base and find value.
Money Line Bets
A money line bet is the most popular type of NHL bet. This bet type is one where you select who will win the game. If the team you selected wins the game, you win your bet! The important thing to realize about money line bets is that they do not always pay out the same amount for each team. In fact, they often do not pay out the same amount.
The bigger of a favorite an NHL team is to win a game the less money the sportsbook is going to pay you for a correct pick. The bigger of an underdog an NHL team is to win a game the more money the sportsbook is going to pay you.
These statements are general rules of thumb, though the lines will move based on how the betting public chooses to bet.
These statements are general rules of thumb, though the lines will move based on how the betting public chooses to bet.
The important take away is that you realize that you will get paid out according to the likelihood of the team winning. Don’t automatically assume you will be getting even money on every bet. These money line bets in the NHL operate the same as they do in any of the other major sports. We’ll discuss this more in-depth in the strategy section below when we talk about finding value.
Puck Line Bets
The puck line in the NHL is similar to a money line bet except that the team will need to win by more than 1.5 goals or lose by fewer than 1.5 goals. With a money line bet the payout odds are the only thing that is adjusted. You win your money line bet no matter how many goals a team wins by. With puck line bets it does matter how many goals the team wins by.
The team that is the favorite will need to win the game by more than 1.5 goals for you to win a puck line bet. In contrast, the team in that game that is the underdog can lose the game by 1.5 or fewer goals, and you’ll still win your bet. The payout odds will still be adjusted, but they’ll be adjusted less than they would be on the money line for the same game.
Here’s an example to make things clearer:
The Columbus Blue Jackets are playing a game against the Buffalo Sabres. The Blue Jackets are significant favorites at -220 on the money line. The corresponding puck line odds are as follows:
- Blue Jackets -1.5 (+133)
- Sabres +1.5 (-153)
If you bet the Blue Jackets on the puck line, you’ll be paid out better than even money. Remember, though, they have to win the game by more than 1.5 goals. As there are no half goals in the NHL, this just means they have to win the game by 2 or more goals. The reason it is expressed in half goals is to prevent betting ties.
Let’s compare the payouts for a Blue Jackets puck line bet to a Blue Jackets money line bet to see the difference. This will also show you why you would want to make one bet over the other.
If you bet $100 on the Blue Jackets on the money line, you would get paid $45.45 in profit. The Blue Jackets would only need to win the game by one goal or more for you to win your bet.
If you bet $100 on the Blue Jackets on the puck line, you would get paid $133.00 in profit. However, the Blue Jackets MUST win the game by at least 2 goals for you to win your bet.
You’re getting paid out almost three times as much for a bet on the favorites, but they have to win by at least 2 goals. When should you make this bet? You make a puck line bet when you think a team is going to win decisively. If you think it’s going to be a close game where a team squeaks out the win, you bet the money line.
We should clarify for newer bettors what it means to bet on the team that is +1.5 on the puck line. If you placed a bet on the Sabres at +1.5 and the final score of the game was Sabres 1 and Blue Jackets 2, you’d win your bet! The +1.5 basically means the sportsbook is spotting you a goal and a half. If you win the game or lose by only one goal, you still win the bet. If you lose by two or more goals, you lose the bet.
The puck line bet gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to betting. Without this bet, you get paid nothing extra if you correctly predict that a team is going to win decisively.
Over Under Bets
Over under bets in the NHL are a bet on whether or not the total number of goals scored by both teams will be greater than or less than a designated number. In other sports, that designated number changes and the payout odds stay the same. In the NHL though, the over under line is almost always 5.5 goals, and the payout odds shift to accommodate the line changes.
For example, the over under odds on the Blue Jackets and Sabres game we discussed earlier are as follows:
- Over 5.5 (-107)
- Under 5.5 (+100)
Notice again that the total is represented as a half goal number to prevent ties. If it is more likely that more goals will be scored, the payout odds will shift to pay better for the under. If it is more likely that fewer goals will be scored, the payout odds will shift to pay better for the over. The designated over under number of 5.5 will always stay the same.
To win this bet, you must correctly predict the total number of goals in the game from both teams. It does not matter if one team scores all of the goals or if both teams score the goals. It also does not matter which team wins the game. All that matters for this bet is the total number of goals scored. Pick the correct side, and you win your bet.
A prop bet is a proposition with a wager attached to it. If you bet your friend $5 that they can’t eat an entire pizza, you made a prop bet. If you bet your friend $10 that you can jump over five feet, you made a prop bet. Prop bets in sports are a great source of entertainment and can also be a great source of profit.
Sportsbooks offer plenty of prop betting options on NHL games. NHL prop bets fall into two categories – skilled and unskilled. Skilled prop bets are bets that allow you to use knowledge and expertise to increase your chances of winning. Unskilled prop bets are bets that are up to chance. No matter how much knowledge and expertise you have, your chances of picking the winning side will not change.
It’s important that you stick to the skilled prop bets if being profitability is important to you. The unskilled prop bets can be fun but should only be used for entertainment value. Unfortunately, sportsbooks are not going to distinguish between the two for you. You’ll have to use your noggin and figure out which bets require skill and which ones require a lucky horseshoe.
NHL prop bets will come in all shapes and sizes. The options available will depend on the site you are betting at and what they choose to offer on each game. A popular NHL prop bet is a bet on which team will score the first goal. It does not matter which team wins the game. The only thing that matters for this prop bet is which team gets the puck in the net first.
This would be an example of a skilled prop bet. You could decide which team you think is going to come out the strongest. Some teams take a more relaxed approach to the first period while some teams come out guns blazing. An understanding of this strategy could help you to make a more informed decision about which team is likely to score first.
An NHL futures bet is where you place a wager early in the season or playoffs on the outcome of the season or the playoffs. Futures bets offer great payouts as they are challenging to get right. Do you think you can pick which team is going to win the Stanley Cup early on in the season? If you can you stand to win a lot of money with futures bets.
Futures bets are not only offered at the beginning of the season or the playoffs. Most sportsbooks will allow you to make futures bets at any point during the season. The only difference is that the betting lines will continue to shift to reflect the likelihood that a particular team will win the Stanley Cup. This means that if a team gets on a hot streak the pay out will most likely go down as they are now more likely to win the Stanley Cup.
One important thing to remember about futures bets is their impact on your bankroll liquidity. When you place a straight bet on a game, you get access to those winnings as soon as the game is over. When you place a futures bet, you can’t get access to that money or your winnings until the entire playoffs are over. This should make logical sense as you are betting on something that isn’t decided until the end of the playoffs.
This means you won’t have access to that money for months. In the older days when interest on money in the bank was respectable, you had to calculate the time value of your money to see if the bet was worth it. Today, it’s less of an issue of lost interest and more an issue of whether or not you need access to that money.
Futures bets can be a great addition to your betting arsenal and bring a hefty payout if you pick correctly. Remember, you can also bet multiple teams on separate futures bets. Because of the increased payouts, you can still turn a profit as long as one of your teams brings home the Cup.
The Big Picture – NHL Betting
NHL betting can be a fun and lucrative activity as long as you know your stuff.
We loaded a lot of information onto you today and don’t expect it all to sink in right away. Take your time and read back through any sections you need to. The more of this information that you absorb, the more successful you’ll be moving forward.