How To Bet on Hockey


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This page will offer the beginning hockey bettor a number of different tips and tricks to becoming a profitable hockey gambler.

Betting on hockey is like betting on any other sport - if you are patient and smart, you can certainly make money. If you are the type of person who likes to bet big on their favourite team or enjoys placing a wager just because there is a game on, you probably won't do as well.


Illustration of a hockey player chasing the puck with a dollar sign in the foreground.  Hockey Betting is the theme.


Before we get into how to properly gamble on hockey, you need to understand the different types of bets that you can make on a hockey game.

There are three different types of game lines that you can generally bet on - the puck line, the money line and the total.

Let's break down all three concepts for you:

1. The Puck Line.

Here is an example of a typical puck line:

Florida Panthers, +1.5, 1.36
New Jersey Devils, -1.5, 3.25

OK - let's say that you placed $100 on the Florida Panthers, +1.5, 1.36 line. What does this mean?

To start, the +1.5 means that you are getting the Florida Panthers PLUS 1.5 goals. So, if the Florida Panthers lose 4-3 to the New Jersey Devils, you would actually WIN your bet, as you are getting 1.5 goals added onto your total. This is a similar concept to the "spread" in football.

So, if you bet $100 on the Florida Panthers +1.5 at 1.36, you would win $136 ($100 bet returned, $36 in total profit) if the Florida Panthers win or lose by 1 goal.

If you bet $100 on the New Jersey Devils, -1.5 at 3.25 and they won 4-3, you would LOSE the bet, as you are giving up 1.5 goals here. You'll notice that you would be getting 3.25 back on your money. So, if the Devils ended up winning 5-2 and you took them -1.5 at 3.25, you would see a return of $325 ($100 bet returned, $225 in total profit).

Keep in mind that most NHL games are quite close - it is not often that a team will win by 2 or more goals.

2. Totals

Let's look at an example of a total from the same game:

Over 5.5 Goals, 1.95
Under 5.5 Goals, 1.86

This concept is quite simple - will there be more or less than 5.5 goals scored in the game?

If you think that the game will be a high-scoring affair, then you will want to take the "Over 5.5 Goals" line at 1.95.

If you think that the game will be a defensive battle without many goals, you will want to take the under.

Many gamblers prefer betting on teams and not totals, as betting on a total can make it excruciating to watch a game. Having said that, bettors with knowledge of the tendency of teams can do really well with totals.


Hockey player taking a shot over a computerized graphic.  The theme is the colour Yellow.  Bet on hockey.


3. Money Line

This is a line that is much simpler than the "puck line". With the money line, you are simply betting on who you think will win the game straight up.

Remember: there is always a winner in a regular season hockey game thanks to the shoot-out.

Let's look at an example of a real line from a hockey game:

Florida Panthers, 2.15
New Jersey Devils, 1.74

So - if you bet $100 on the Florida Panthers winning straight up, you would be rewarded with a total profit of $115 if they manage to win the game.

If you bet $100 on the New Jersey Devils winning straight up, you would be rewarded with a total profit of $74 if they manage to win the game.

Another important note: home ice advantage is very important in the NHL, so keep that in mind at all times. In addition, teams tend to tire at the end of long road trips, so this is something else to keep in the back of your mind when you are thinking about placing a wager.

Now that we have covered the key concepts of betting on hockey, let's look at the tips that you should keep in mind before you place your first wager.

1. Home ice matters. As stated above, home ice is very important. Even the worst teams in the league will get a significant boost from playing in front of their home fans. Having said that - look for road underdogs that offer significant value, as usually bookmakers will skew too far in favour of home teams.

2. Momentum matters in hockey. Goalies can go on hot streaks. Players like Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby can putting together long scoring streaks. Teams can win 8-9 games in a row. Before placing a wager, ask yourself - is either of the two teams involved in the game on a streak of some sort? Who are the hot players on each club as of this moment? Are there any goaltenders involved in the game that are currently on hot streaks?

3. Injuries. Are there any key players who are currently injured? How is the team playing during their absence?

4. Road trips. Teams in the NHL go on very long road trips a couple of times per year. Is a team at the end of a long road trip? If so, they will have a number of players who are tired, bruised and nearly broken. Catching a good team at the end of a long trip can be a great way to get some tremendous value from a home underdog.


Betting on the sport of hockey.  The goalie is trying to catch the dollar symbol.


If you want to place a wager after a game has already gotten underway, sports books will usually offer the ability to bet on an ongoing game via "in-play betting".

After a game has gotten underway, in-play betting will adjust the odds in real time and allow you to place bets on an ongoing basis.

For instance - let's say that the Vancouver Canucks are playing the Toronto Maple Leafs, and let's say that the score is 2-1 Vancouver after the first period.

Now, you think that the Maple Leafs are playing some great hockey and will eventually win the game, so you decide to bet on the Maple Leafs to win, despite the fact that they are down by a goal.

The in-play money line odds after the first period might look like this:

Toronto Maple Leafs, 3.15
Vancouver Canucks, 1.40

So, if you decide to wager on the Maple Leafs after the first period and they pull out a victory, you could more than triple your money.

There are other types of wagers that you can make using in-play betting, such as:

Who will score the next goal of the game?

Will there be more than 1.5 goals scored in the second period?

Who will win the race to 3 goals?

In-play betting is very popular with hockey bettors, as it means that you are never locked out of a game, even if it has already started.

Having said all of this about in-play betting, it is always important to have a plan before placing any bet. With in-play betting, it is very easy to make some unwise wagers if you don't have a plan in place beforehand.


Silhouette of a hockey player with a computerized red background.  How to properly bet on hockey.


Now - what should you look for when selecting your sportsbook?

Well, if you don't have the time to research, I would recommend signing up at any of the sportsbooks that we have featured on this site.

Here are the key things that I look for when selecting a sports book to bet at:

1. Reputation. Does the sports book have a good reputation? Have they been in business for a decent amount of time (5 years plus)? Google is your friend here - search the Internet to see what people are saying about the sports book that you are thinking about signing up at. Reputation is important, as a good reputation in the online gambling industry means that you will be treated fairly and receive your withdrawals in a timely fashion.

2. Offerings. Does the sports book offer betting on the NHL? What about other leagues such as the KHL? Do they offer in-play betting? Do they offer other games, such as poker and casino games such as roulette and blackjack?

3. Deposit offer. Does the sports book have a strong initial bonus offer? What are the terms of this offer? Is it hard to qualify for the bonus?

4. Customer Service. Thinking about signing up for a sports book? Send them an email with a question that you might have and see how fast they respond to it. If they respond in a timely fashion, that is obviously a very good sign. Do they have a phone number where they can be contacted? Do they offer an online chat function?

5. Deposit/withdrawal options. Will it be easy for you to get money onto the site? Are there withdrawal fees? How long do withdrawals normally take to process? These are all things that you must consider before signing up for a site.

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Let's talk about one last thing when it comes to betting on hockey - bankroll management.

Betting successfully on hockey comes down to one thing - proper bankroll management. It's not about picking the right games in the end - it comes down to how well you manage your bankroll.

Even the most successful sports gamblers will bust their bankrolls if they aren't managing their risk properly. If you are the type of person that likes to wager their entire bankroll on their favourite team that is playing on Hockey Night in Canada, you will not last very long.

At the end of the day, we want to minimize the number of deposits that we have to make, right? That is done via proper bankroll management.

Professional gamblers will split their bankrolls into "units" - for instance, if you have $1,000 to bet on hockey with, you might want to split your bankroll into 20 units. So, if you are wagering on a game, you might want to bet 1 unit ($50) - if you feel REALLY strongly about a line, you can bet up to two units.

As your bankroll grows, so will the size of your units. By splitting your bankroll up like this, you will be able to weather the inevitable storms when you lose a number of games in a row.

One last thing - don't chase your losses. Meaning, don't increase the size of your bets to make up for previous losing wagers.

If you wager two units on a hockey game and it doesn't work out, don't bet 4 units on the next game or you will quickly find yourself with a busted bankroll.

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Best of luck and don't forget the most important rule of all - have fun!