NHL Betting Guide
The National Hockey League (NHL) was founded in 1917 and is hugely popular throughout Canada. With 30 teams vying for the honours it’s considered the number one professional Ice Hockey league with millions of viewers and sports fan following the action each week.
It’s a hugely entertaining sporting event which has plenty of sport betting opportunities with the competition ramped up for the end of season play-offs and the opportunity to hold the prestigious Stanley Cup aloft.
There is much more to NHL Betting than you think with a huge number of markets to consider and online sportsbooks are increasingly expanding the amount of markets available.
Top NHL Sportbooks In Canada
Odds & Markets:
In Canada, the majority of NHL betting sites will display ‘The Money Line’ prominently. This is the chance of each team winning the match.
There are several ways in which the odds can be displayed. Most online sportsbooks will offer customers the chance to select the format of their odds. The US format is often default for example ‘+110’ OR ‘-120’.
This is the equivalent of 11/10 or 5/6 in fractional odds. These odds will often favour the home team particularly during the regular season.
For example if the Vancouver Canucks are priced at -120 against the Toronto Maple Leafs who are +110’, the Canucks are the favourites for the match. If you placed a $20 wager on the Canucks to win and they were successful, you’d receive $36.66 in return. $16.66 profit + $20 stake.
Money Line isn’t the only market available with Over/Under a popular alternative likewise a Points Spread.
Points Spread gives either side an advantage or disadvantage for the game. It is almost always set at +1.5/-1.5
For example – If you’ve backed Montreal Canadiens -1.5 Point Spread and the match finished 6-3 in their favour, you’ll win! Take -1.5 from their total points (6) which becomes 4.5-3 and they’re still in front. It’s the equivalent of suggesting a team will win by a large margin. Whilst the +1.5 Spread is the equivalent of suggesting a team won’t be beaten heavily and it’ll be a close contest. They are giving up two goals and you’re predicting that they’ll still come out on top.
This is also known as the ‘Puck Line’ by other Canadian Sportsbooks or simply ‘Spread Betting’.
Other markets to explore include Game Totals. The strategy here is to predict how many goals will feature between the two sides.
You can simply observe how potent sides have been in the Championship lately or whether these sides traditionally play a tight and cagey affair or a high-scoring end to end match whenever they meet. The odds are often quite similar for these bets which regularly produces enticing prices.
The Vancouver Canucks are facing the Calgary Flames and you believe it will an open contest. You can place a bet on the Game Totals market – Over 5.5
It ends 4-2 to the Canucks, there have been 6 goals and it’s a successful wager.
The line is usually set at Over 5.5/Under 5.5.
It’s always advised to check the rules of the individual sportsbook, but they often don’t include any penalty shootouts or overtime.
There are a number of other betting opportunities which the bettor may wish to wager on. These include:
First Team to Score – Fairly self-explanatory – which side will find the net first and open the scoring. The odds usually start fairly evenly and this market will be taken down following the opening goal.
Race to 3 Goals – Will the Toronto Maple Leafs reach three goals before the Florida Panthers? The home team is often a very popular choice for this bet.
Winning Margin/Correct Score – Online Sportsbooks offer big prices and huge returns if you are able to specifically predict the outcome of the contest. One strategy is to back a couple of score-lines pre-match and betting on others after kick-off as prices change throughout the 60 minutes.
NHL Betting Odds
Those who follow the NHL on a weekly basis will find more joy than those who only become interested during the play-offs.
However, it’s always best to explore the wealth of markets available.
The Money Line Bet is usually pushed by the sportsbook as it’s an extremely popular way to wager throughout Canada.
Value and bigger returns can often be found in alternative markets such ‘Player to Score’ or ‘Team to Score Over 2.5 Goals’. If you follow the fortunes of one particular team on a regular basis this will give you an advantage over fellow bettors.
Always pay attention to ‘Team News’ and if for example the Toronto Maple Leafs have got their first choice goalie missing through injury, it might be wise to wager the other team score over 2.5 goals as opposed to simply winning the match. Occasionally these wagers can land before the final quarter.
BettingTop10’s advice would be to search around for the best possible odds when placing a wager. Many Sportsbooks will offer enhanced odds ahead of big events such as the play-offs or the Stanley Cup.
Other Ways to Bet
NHL is the number one sport throughout Canada and during the off-season many sports fans will already be anticipating the forthcoming season.
NHL Futures is a great way to keep an interest when there is no action. Ahead of each season odds are compiled for the forthcoming campaign. NFL Futures allows bettors the chance to predict which side will win the Stanley Cup as well as markets for teams to win their respective conference titles. These are often tempting big prices and regularly go down to the final match of the season.
Often these will be priced based on the form of the previous season and the recent history in the competition.
The NHL Season
There are 30 teams involved in the action each season with 7 of those based in Canada. Since 2013 the teams have been divided into Eastern and Western Conferences in order to avoid too many lengthy commutes during the regular campaign. Each Conference is then divided again – Eastern Conference 2 x 8 teams and Western Conference – 2 x 7 teams.
Each match is 60 minutes long split into three 20 minutes periods with an additional 5 minutes of overtime if the sides cannot be split. The first side to find the net wins the contest.
A shoot-out will ensue if the sides still cannot be separated. These don’t feature during the play-offs where they are replaced by a 20 minute 5 on 5 sudden death scenario with the first team to net progressing.
Most bookmakers have markets available pre-match in which you can bet on a game to end in a shootout. There will also be betting in-play opportunities which is becoming increasingly popular with NHL bettors. This allows customers to wager based on what has happened already. For example if you’ve had a pre-match wager on Montreal Canadians but they aren’t playing well, you can back the opposition once the match has started. The odds will be significantly smaller on the team who are winning, but games can turn around quickly and this can prove profitable to those with patience.
The pinnacle of the Ice Hockey season is the Stanley Cup play-offs which run from April until June.
The top three teams in each conference automatically qualify for these and are joined by the remaining two teams with the highest number of points throughout the regular season.
These take a best of 7 match format with the losers eliminated from proceedings.
The team positioned highest in the conference will get home advantage, hosting the first two matches on their own rink.
The sides will eventually be whittled down to just two with the NHL Stanley Cup final one of the most-watched events of the year across Canada and the USA. It’s one of the biggest betting heats of the year with many bookmakers and sportsbook pricing up next year’s contest shortly after the conclusion.
There are no conclusive ways of ensuring success when betting on NHL. It takes patience, commitment and hard work. There a number of bettors who make a living from wagering on sports, but it’s always a risky process.
Search around for the best lines and make sure you’re 100% certain before you place any bet. Study each team’s recent form, current position in the standings, previous visits to this team (if it’s an away match) and any significant team news and this will help reach a conclusion.
Do not dismiss any of the markets or odds which can be found further down online sportsbooks. Many companies will have their traders monitoring the key lines and odds, but others may possess more value.
You don’t have to place a wager on every single match. If there is little value, you can wait until the match goes ‘In Play’ or simply find a match later in the week which provides a greater opportunity.
NHL Betting has become increasingly popular throughout Canada and continues to gather momentum. It’s a great way to follow the action and a superb way to keep an interest across the whole season.