Betting on the NHL
The NHL season consists of 82 games for each of the 31 NHL teams.
Betting on NHL is up there with the toughest tasks for punters, but in saying that, it is also one of the most exciting games to watch if you have a bet on.
While not as popular as NBA, NFL or MLB in terms of popularity in the USA, the Canadians more than make up for the production of players and viewership.
Below we give an overview of the different types of NHL markets, how to bet on the NHL and NHL bankroll management.
Stick to your bankroll, otherwise you’ll end up getting beaten up by the end of the NHL year…
The most popular NHL Betting Markets
Most bookmakers offer a massive range of markets for the NHL, from simple line markets to Player Prop markets.
Below we list the most common markets for NHL betting.
Line Betting (Point Spread) –
NHL Line or ‘Point Spread’ betting is the most common market option in NHL betting, and offers more value than a straight up Head to Head bet, generally around even money.
The Line is given by professional handicappers, and is their guess as to how many goals one team is expected to beat there opponent by. The bookmakers will try and hold around 50% worth of bets on each side of the NHL Line.
The Line is represented in the markets as an (+) or (-) symbol, with the H2H favourite (-) given a goal/s handicap that they must overcome for their line to pay out for the bettor.
NHL Line bets have odds from $1.90-$1.95 for either side of the Line. (The higher the odds, the less “Juice” (% skimmed from each bet by the bookmakers).
An example of an NHL Line –
New Your Rangers__ -2.0 ($1.91) | Detroit Red Wings__+2.0 ($1.92)
In this example, the New York Rangers are solid favourites, and must win the game by 3+ goals for a winning bet, and 2.0 goals for a ‘Push’ (money back from some bookies).
In the same example, the Detroit Red Wings must win the game outright, or lose the game by 1 goal or less for a winning bet. A loss of 2 goals will make it a Push.
Head to Head (Money Line) –
‘Head to Head’ or ‘Money Line’ bets requires the bettor to place a bet on the team they think will win the game outright.
NHL H2H betting is riskier than a Line Bet, as there is no error margin if you bet on an underdog. In the same vein, if you bet on a heavy favourite, you will be getting very low returns on your outlay.
If you bet on an NHL underdog, there is always value in your bet, with odds ranging from $2.00 to around $7.00 for a heavy underdog. The NHL can be quite difficult to win money from in the long term with straight up H2H betting, as games can be won and lost quickly.
An example of an NHL Money Line bet –
New York Rangers__$1.54 | Detroit Red Wings__$2.34
Over Under (Total Points Over Under) –
The Total Goals Over/Under has the bettor place a bet on whether the total number of goals in an NHL game (sum of both team’s goals) will go over a number offered by the handicappers.
An example of a Total Goals Over Under Bet –
Total Points Under 4.5__($1.91) | Total Points Under 4.5__ ($1.92)
Puck Lines –
This works the way as a a Line bet, however the (+) or (-) line of 1.5 is given for all games, with the odds adjusted towards either side. The favorite has their final score reduced by -1.5, while the underdog gets a handicap of +1.5 goals. After the adjusted scores have been factored in, the team with that has beaten their line is the winner.
Futures Bets (Propositions) –
NHL Futures bets are generally resulted at the end of the either the regular or post season.
NFL Betting Advice
Before you start throwing your hard earned dollars around, consider the following NHL betting tips.
- Player injuries – The loss of a star player, or in particular a star goalie, can be the difference between a win or loss and can throw the markets into chaos. Keep an eye on NHL injury reports and you could spot a bargain.
- Home and road performance – Most NHL teams perform better on their home ice, but there are also teams with solid away records. There is value when two similarly matched teams play, with the travelling team having a strong road record.
- Put down the beer when placing a bet –
We all get excited after some cold brews, however commons sense and confidence aren’t always equal. Place your NHL bets before you have some drinks, and you’ll be able to control your spending and make better judgement calls. See below for NHL bankroll management.
- Don’t focus on the stars – A star player can have a big effect on the outcome of a game, however that’s not usually the case in NHL, with the goalie the exception. Offensive stars usually only play about a 1/3 of a game, so don’t rely on one or two star players to get the job done.
- Read up on the Goalies:
A goalie in top form can be priceless to a team, and the bookmaker lines often reflect their form. Make sure to study a goalies performance against opposition teams. In the same vein, a poor set of goalies can lead to a high-scoring game.
- Study the season Schedule:
Look for edges in the schedule. For example, a team playing a team known for being physical could be tired and sore if they’re forced to play a back-to-back schedule.
- Stay clear of paid tip services –
Paid tips services offer to sell “winning picks” (take that term with a grain of salt), but many are only in business to take customers for a huge ride, that rarely ends well. If they were as good as they say, there would be little need for them to spend 2 hours a day uploading tips, they would be successful enough with their own.
- Only bet if you find an edge –
Don’t bet on all NHL game. Only risk your bankroll when you feel that you have a distinct edge over the line.
- Shop for Lines:
Join more than two bookmakers and shop for the best NHL lines each day. Should you find a site that offers better odds on a market than another, take the bet.
- Bankroll Management:
Before the NHL season starts, set aside a fixed betting bankroll. Never go beyond this bankroll during a season, and never bet more than 5% of your NHL bankroll on a single bet. Read below for more details on NHL bankroll management.
NHL Bankroll Management
NHL bankroll management is quite simple to explain and hard to stick to.
To be honest, if you are unable to follow a strict NHL bankroll management plan, you’ll very likely end up losing in the long run. A long term investment strategy is what wins in the end, and keeping a level head is key.
Do not veer from your plan if you lose, win or have too many shots at the bar on a Friday night.
Don’t chase losses, and never increase the amounts of your betting units should you get on a roll.
The most popular NHL bankroll management system is the “unit” or a “star” system.
What are unit and star systems in Bankroll management?
The ‘Unit’ or ‘Star’ method is where punters allocate confidence ratings for each bet.
Allocating a ‘star’ or ‘unit’ amount to a bet shows the confidence you have in that particular bet. A simple way to do this is to have 3 different levels of confidence.
- i.e 1 star/1 unit, 2 stars/2 units, 3 stars/3 units. (More experienced bettor s may go up to 4 and 5 star/units)
Each star or unit has a $ value attached to it, the amount of each depends on the total amount of your bankroll.
For example –
- 1 star/1 unit ($10 bet), 2 stars/2 units ($20 bet), 3 stars/3 units ($30 bet).
Regardless of your confidence in a bet, you must never stray from betting within your set bankroll.
The general rule is to never bet over 2-5% of your bankroll on a single play.
Let’s say the NHL season starts and you set aside $1,000 as your NHL bankroll.
Total Bankroll = $1,000
1% = $10.00 | 2% = $20.00 | 3% = $30.00
After the first couple of weeks NHL, your Bankroll has gone up to $1,150, now it’s time to adjust –
Total Bankroll = $1,150
1% = $11.50 | 2% = $23.00 | 3% = $34.50
Should your NHL bankroll increase in amount, don’t get excited, stay with your set plan!
If you should have a losing streak, you will also need to adjust your star and unit sizes to scale-
Total Bankroll = $800
1% = $8.00 | 2% = $16.00 | 3% = $24.00
Follow your bankroll system through better or worse and you’ll have less chance of going bust. You’ll also have a more enjoyable, less stressful NHL betting experience.
If you are a newbie to betting on the NHL, we would suggest ‘Flat Betting’.
What is Flat Betting? NBA Betting for beginners.
Flat Betting is the theory of placing identical unit amounts on every NHL bet, no matter your confidence level.
We recommend Flat Betting to those who are just starting their NHL betting experience, and to those who don’t have the time to put in the study needed to spot markets that are weak.
Should your NHL betting experience and knowledge grow, the star or unit system is a great way to build your bankroll.
Never start your NHL bankroll with more than you can afford to lose, and never create a new bankroll during an NHL season (kind of defeats the purpose of a bankroll in the first place.
Take this advice, and you’ll have a better NHL betting year, with less stress and more profit!
Final thoughts on NHL betting
NHL betting is like dating that hot girl with the reputation of being crazy. It might work out well, it may not, but you’ll damn sure remember the experience.
We love betting on the NHL even though our actual knowledge of the game from a betting perspective is not elite. The fact that the NHL season runs along the NBA betting season is fantastic for punters like us who enjoy a little play each day.
So basically to sum it up, if you like action everyday, and markets that are a little risky, NHL betting is for you.
Regardless, watching your bet play out while watching an NHL game is one of the best betting experiences out there.
Start a bankroll, create an account below, and have fun!