Ice Hockey Betting

Learn how to bet on ice hockey and place bets on NHL matches. Our NHL betting guide provides key insights and strategies for you to follow.

If you have been betting on sports for a while and now looking for another sport that you can bet on, ice hockey might be the next thing for you. Just like a lot of major sports, you can wager your money on ice hockey. If you are thrilled by fast-paced and action-packed games of physical feats, then you will love cheering for hockey as well.

Ice hockey betting, thanks to the NHL, is a massive gambling market competing directly with American Football betting (wagering on the NFL) and NBA.

Ice Hockey Betting Explained

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The first step in dominating any sport’s betting market is to understand the sport itself. By understanding, we mean having a great grasp of ice hockey’s internals, competitions, rules, odds movements, as well as important statistics.

Ice Hockey Rules

Even if you are not yet familiar with ice hockey, understanding its rules is easy as it may be similar to some sports that you may already know.

In ice hockey, players play on the field with a puck, and they use a hockey stick to hit the puck around. As the name of the sport suggests, it is played in a field of ice. The rink measures around 61×30 meters. The ice used is called “fast ice,” which is harder, smoother and thus can allow the plates to glide faster in it.

An ice hockey team may have up to 20 players on their roster. However, only six players at a single time per team are allowed, which would be five field players and one goaltender.

The objective of ice hockey is simple: the team who would successfully put the puck into the opposite goal scores a point and the team with the most points after the game wins. Throughout the game, players can use one hockey stick to play with the puck or use their feet or legs. However, they are not allowed to use their hands on the puck.

Each game is played in three periods of 20 minutes each.

Odds

As with all sports that you can bet on, there will always be a set of numbers that you can consider either your best friend or your worst enemy. These are the odds, and they tell you how much you can win on a potential bet.

There are three types of odds used in ice hockey. They are:

Moneyline

Moneyline odds has two categories: the underdog and the favorite. The underdog is denoted by a plus sign (+) while the favorite is denoted by a minus sign (-). Regardless of the sign, the numbers on this odds show you how much you can earn for every $100 you will bet.

Decimal

Decimal odds tell you how much you can profit from a winning bet for every $1 wagered. For example, an odds of 2.50 can make you $5 for a $2 bet.

Fractional

This type of odds tells you how much you can win (the numerator) for every amount you bet (the denominator). Odds of 10/5 means you can earn $10 for every $5 wagered.

Ice Hockey Stats

In ice hockey, stats can help you have a good idea of how teams and players might fare against each other – based on their performance records and playing history. For the NHL, you can find these numbers on the NHL’s official website as well as a few independent ice hockey statistics databases:

Markets: Types of Ice Hockey Bets

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There are several ways that you can bet on ice hockey. There are easy ones, there are bets that can yield only a small potential profit, and there are also more complicated bets. Usually, more complex types of bets are the more rewarding ones.

Find out the most common types of ice hockey bets and see which ones suit your taste and style the most.

League bets

League bets are bets that involve a result for the entire league/tournament season. These are usually high-risk wagers and thus, if you win it, the rewards it can yield can be high, too.

Example – This type of bet can be the season’s champion team, the MVP, and other outcomes that would take the entire season to determine.

Moneyline bets

Moneyline bets are the simplest and most straightforward bet you can make. You simply predict who will win the game-no other conditions are needed, such as a point spread.

Example – In a match between the Buffalo Sabres and the Montréal Canadiens, the odds are in favor of the Sabres with values of -190 and the Canadiens with +170. If you bet $140 on the Sabres and they won, you get $100 in profit.

Puck line bets

Puck line bets are similar to a point spread bet in other sports. Usually, the spread value for puckline odds does not go beyond +/- 1.5, or up to 2 in some rare cases. To win, the winning team should win by a score difference greater than the odds dictated.

Example – In a match between the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets with a puckline of +-/1.5, the winning team should win by at least two goals for you to win your bet.

Totals bets

A totals bet is a type of bet wherein you predict the total number of goals from both teams to be either over or under the odds given by the bookies. The winner of the match is irrelevant–only the total score.

Example – In a game between the Bruins and the Maple Leafs, you bet on the Bruins with a total value of Under 6. The Bruins don’t have to win, but the total scores of both teams at the end of the game should be five or lower.

Parlay bets

A parlay bet is a combination of two or more bets for more than one team. It can be a bit complicated–and also riskier than a straightforward moneyline bet–but the rewards are worth it.

Example – A parlay bet can be like this: either a two or three-team bet, and it is usually a combination of a moneyline, totals, and pucklines–all of which must be satisfied for you to win the bet.

Future bets

A futures bet is a type of bet where the outcome is not determined by just one game. Usually, it is a series winner, a league season winner, or some receiving a title or award at the end of the season.

Example – A few examples of a futures bet would be the Season Champion, the season MVP, the highest-scoring team for the season, and the like.

Proposition bets

Often also called prop bets, these are wagers that do not rely on the final outcome of the game. It is usually about something happening or not, or something first in the game or something last. It can be a fun thing to bet on but more often than not, the odds for a prop bet are not that rewarding.

Example – Some examples of prop bets include: the first team to score, the player to score the first goal, total shots taken in the game, and sometimes, even over/under score for an individual player.

Live bets

Live bets are in-play bets that you can place as the game gets played live. These are similar to outright bets, but the odds and how they change throughout the game make it different.

Example – The availability of live bets may differ from one bookie to another, so it is better to check how your bookie does this.

The “Grand Salami”

The “grand Salami” bet is a type of bet that is unique to ice hockey. In this, you get to bet on the totals of the scores of all games that will be played for the day. The bookies will give the over and under odds, and you will bet on your preferred over or under.

Example – If there are five games scheduled for the day, then the bookies might give an odds of over/under 35. To win an over bet, the total score for the day should be at least 36. To win an under bet, the score for the day for all games should be no more than 34.

Types of Ice Hockey Bets
Types of Ice Hockey Bets

Puckline vs Moneyline

Puckline betting is the ice hockey version of spread betting. Although similar in some ways, puckline is also fairly different from the usual spread betting in other sports.

Since the chances for scoring in ice hockey is not that high (compared with basketball), the puck line is almost always set at not higher than +/-1.5. In very rare instances, you can also see 2.5 values, but it usually does not go above 2.

A moneyline bet, on the other hand, is simply an outright bet on who will win the match–regardless of the point spread.

To better understand the difference between the two concepts, take this for example:

In a match between Team A and Team B, the moneyline odds are in favor of Team A as the favorite, with the numbers reading:

  • Team A: -190
  • Team B: +170

This means that you have to bet $190 to make a $10 profit on Team A, and a $170 bet to make a $100 on Team B.

The puckline, meanwhile, reads as:

  • Team A: -1.5
  • Team B: +1.5

To win a bet, the winning team must win by at least two goals (as the puckline or spread needs to be more than 1.5 points).

knowing this, you will understand that a moneyline bet is more straightforward which is why a lot of newbies prefer it. Even seasoned veterans who want an “easy-going” bet from time to time go to a moneyline.

Ice Hockey Betting Strategies

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Betting on ice hockey can either be a complicated choice or as easy as an open book. That would depend mostly on how much you know about betting systems and strategies.

To help you out with this, here are some tips on how you can improve your wagering game in ice hockey.

Favorites don’t always win

One of the things a newbie in betting might assume is that a favorite is always bound to win. After all, they are also the fan-favorite, most of the time.

However, being a favorite does not guarantee that a team would win. So, going all-in for the favorites and dumping all your money on a bet for it might not be a wise thing to do.

Understand when to bet the puckline

A puckline bet in ice hockey is essentially the same as a handicap or spread bet in other sports. In reality, bookies often offer puckline bets to even out the wagers placed on each side of the game–after all, it will give you the opportunity to bet on both sides.

Aside from that, a puckline bet may not be a thing for newbies. It can be complicated for an inexperienced bettor and if you make a bad bet, you can lose a lot of money, too.

Start by betting on what you know

Ice hockey has several betting options. While most of them are easy to learn and understand, you may not be familiar with most of them right off the bat.

So, start with the things that you know first.  A simple and straightforward moneyline bet is not a bad place to start on. It is easy–you just bet on who you think would win the game–and you can earn a good profit from it. From there, you can learn other ways to bet and eventually, expand your potential for profit, too.

Focus on finding +EV bets

EV, in sports betting, refers to the gap of the expected value of a bet–between that of the bettor and that of the sportsbook.

Learning how to weigh the EV can give you a considerable edge against the bookies, and can help you place your wager like a sharp bettor. To be able to weigh the values properly, avoid betting last minute and scrambling to find the best odds available.

Line shop for best odds

One thing you should always remember is to never stay with just one bookie. There is no point in being “loyal” to a sportsbook. After all, bookies do not care if you lose or win your bet–at the end of the day, they just need to have a good margin for profit every game.

Don’t forget to shop for the best odds and lines. With how easy you can access a new bookie through a site or an app, shopping has never been easy–so, why not go for it?

Check who is tending the goal

The goaltender can make or break a team. After all, the question of whether a team can goal or not relies a lot on how good f a job the goaltender does.

Take a look at who wi be the goaltender for the game, and study that player’s stats and records. How are his numbers compared t that of the other team? Whatever you will learn from this would help you decide on whether to put your money on a team or not.

Study the home and away form of each team

For the most part, the away team is at an immediate handicap over the home team. They have to travel a long distance and if they flew, jet lag might affect some of the players.

Not only that, the home team may most probably have had time practicing in the home field, giving them yet another advantage over the away team.

Hever, this does not always mean that the home team would win. In several instances, the away team had won games-sometimes, even by a landslide. So, learn to study the stats for each team–do they have a good track record of performing well even as an away team?

Don’t trust miracle betting systems

A miracle betting system is a piece of software or an alleged algorithm that is supposed to give you a winning bet based on a number of factors that the program puts into consideration. Other sports like horse racing and football also have a betting system similar to this.

While some have really won by placing the best that this “Miracle betting” gave out, there is so far no real evidence that it can give out a winning bet on a consistent pattern. Some people even believe that it is just a random generator that just so happens to give out a winning bet from time to time.

Regardless, placing your trust in a computer program that has no proof of legitimacy is not a wise move as a bettor. You will always be better off making a strategic bet on your own rather than relying on a system with questionable authenticity.

Use in-play ice hockey betting to find hidden value

There is a difference between betting before the game (the usual way you would wager your money on sports) and betting in-play, or as the game is being played live.

Anything can happen once the game starts. A team that may be a huge underdog may end up eating the favorites alive. A single play by any player has the power to change the course of the game.

These things, and more, are just some reasons why in-play betting may have more value than the traditional pre-game bet.

Find good wagers around overtime and shootout

Depending on the bookie or the betting market you are placing our money on, wagers on ice hockey may or may include overtime and shootout. You can determine if it does not, as it would be noted with an “Excl. OT” label.

Although overtime is not a very usual occurrence, knowing if your bet includes it (and shootout) or not.

Tips & Strategies To Win At Ice Hockey Betting
Tips & Strategies To Win At Ice Hockey Betting

Ice Hockey Competitions

Just like in most sports, you can bet in more than one league/competition in ice hockey. Other leagues have a huge following and thereof also have a huge betting community, but some are smaller and with fewer people betting for it, too.

Here are some of the most popular ice hockey competitions that you can bet on.

ice hockey trophy

NHL

The National Hockey League, commonly referred to as “The NHL”, is the most popular professional ice hockey league in the United States and in Canada. The league is currently comprised of 32 teams–25 of which coming from the US, and 7 coming from Canada.

The NHL was founded on November 26, 1917, at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal, Canada. This came after the suspension of the then major professional ice hockey league, the National Hockey Association or NHA. 

The NHL is divided into two Conferences, and four Divisions. The Eastern Conference has the Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions under it, and the Western Conference has the Central and Pacific divisions under it.

Stanley Cup

The Stanley Cup is the championship cup that is awarded annually to the team that would win the NHL playoffs. It is the oldest trophy that is awarded in any professional sport in North America, and it is considered as one of the “most important championships available to the sport.

The trophy was made in 1892 and was first called the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup. The name it has now was after the Governor-General of Canada then, Lord Stanley of Preston. Back then, Lord Stanley donated the cup as an award to the top amateur ice hockey team.

As popular as the NHL is for ice hockey fans, it is a given that bettors would clamor to wager for the league. If you are looking for an ice hockey league that is not that saturated with punters, smaller tournaments may be the thing for you.

NCAA Ice Hockey Championship

The NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament, or simply known as the NCAA ICo Hockey Championship, is the college ice hockey tournament under the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

It was first played in 1948, and it currently has a total of 16 teams under its wing from various states. The Michigan Wolverines currently hold the most number of championships won (a total of nine titles), and the latest is the UMass Minutemen (Massachusetts).

Most bookies also offer NCAA Ice Hockey betting, and since t is not as popular as the NHL, the ods and lines for the league are usually better and have more potential for profit.

AHL (US)

The American Hockey League, or AHL, is the professional hockey league from the United States and Canada. The AHL is considered to be the primary developmental league for the NHL.

Each NHL team is given one AHL team to be affiliated it. Currently, there are 31 teams under the AHL The championship cup for the league is called the Calder Cup, which was named after Frank Calder, the first president of the NHL.

KHL (Russia)

The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) is an international ice hockey league that has its roots in Russia. Formerly known as the Russian Superleague, the league was founded in 2008.

Currently, it has 24 teams that hail from Belarus (1), China (1), Finland (1), Latvia (1), Kazakhstan (1), and Russia (19). Many consider it as the second biggest professional ice hockey league in the world, next only to the NHL.

The championship cup for the league is called the Gagarin Cup, which is given to the winning team. Aside from that, the Russian team with the highest ranking for the season is given the title Champion of Russia.

Since the league is based mostly on European and Asian countries, bookies from North America may not offer betting options for it. Still, it is always better to inquire from your bookie directly for more information.

SM-Liiga (Finland)

The SM-Liiga, also known as the Finnish Elite League in English, and simply as the Liiga since 2013, is the professional ice hockey league of Finland. The “SM” means “Suomen mestaruus,” or “Finnish championship” in English.

Currently, there are 15 teams in this league, all of which are of local origin. Betting on the Liiga may not be available for a lot of bookies, seeing that it is a localized professional league.

DEL (Germany)

The PENNY Deutsche Eishockey Liga, or simply known as the DEL, is the professional ice hockey league of Germany. IT was founded in 1994, and it served as a replacement for the then professional league, the Eishockey-Bundesliga. Unlike its predecessor, the DEl is not under the German Ice Hockey Federation.

There are 14 teams in the league, all of which hail from Germany itself. Since this is another local professional ice hockey league, the market for betting on it is not as big as the NHL.

NLA (Switzerland)

The National League (NL), or formerly known as the National League A (NLA), is the professional ice hockey league of Switzerland. It was founded in 1938 and is under the Swiss League for relegation.

The National League has a total of 13 teams that are all from Switzerland. The tournament is played with a qualifier first followed by the playoffs where the champions would be determined afterward in a best-of-seven series of games.


As with other local ice hockey leagues, it is always a good idea to check with your bookie first to see if they have open betting slots for this league.

World Championship

The IIHF World Championship is the annual men’s ice hockey tournament that is organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation or the IIHF. There are 54 teams that are divided into five divisions. The teams playing in the tournament are countries that are members of the IIHF.

The World Championship is a huge event in the sport of ice hockey and although interest in it is not as big as the NHL, betting options for it should be more available as that of local tournaments and leagues.

Ice Hockey Betting: FAQ

Answers to the most common Ice Hockey betting questions.

When does ice hockey betting run?

Usually, a season of the NHL runs from October through early April of the following year. The same schedule is followed by the AHL, only differing by a few days. Odds and lines are usually available months prior to the first game of the season.

Are ice hockey betting markets fluid?

If you are in the US and Canada, a considerable profit is possible. However, in other territories, it will be hard to sustain enough betting activity over the long term due to markets not being fluid enough to offer much value.

Can you make a profit when betting on ice hockey?

if you are in the US/Canada you can… otherwise elsewhere, it will be hard to sustain enough betting activity over the long term due to markets not being fluid enough to offer much value

Who to follow for ice hockey betting predictions?

Different bookies would promote different players or teams, usually to attract people to bet on a side of the game. However, your decision should depend on your own research and official statistics.

What to take into consideration when betting on ice hockey?

There are several factors: the weather, the type of ice, team and player stats, and of course, the odds.

How to be good at ice hockey betting?

Knowing the sport well would help, as it would give you a better and unique perspective in analyzing games, each team, and how the odds actually impact the real numbers in a game.

What to avoid when placing bets in ice hockey?

One of the biggest mistakes in ice hockey betting you should avoid is not checking player lineups for each team. regardless of what the odds say, the lineup for a team in the actual game can bring a huge influence on the actual outcome of the game.