NHL betting is a thrilling way to engage with hockey, one of the fastest sports on Earth. Whether you’re a seasoned bettor or new to the game, understanding how to bet on the NHL can enhance your viewing experience and potentially lead to profits. This guide breaks down the basics, providing you with everything you need to start NHL betting.


Table of contents

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Understanding the Odds in NHL Betting

To truly grasp the intricacies of NHL betting, getting a firm handle on how odds operate is crucial. The odds are a numerical representation of a team’s chances to win, directly tied to your potential payout. Most commonly in hockey, you’ll be working with moneyline odds.

Moneyline Odds Explained

Moneyline odds are straightforward once you get the hang of them. You will see two types of designations:

  1. Favourites: These are the teams expected to win. They have a minus sign (-) next to their odds. The number following the minus sign indicates how much you would need to bet in order to make a profit of $100.Example: If the Toronto Maple Leafs are playing the Detroit Red Wings and the Leafs are favorites with odds of -150, this means you would need to bet $150 on the Leafs to win $100 in profit (total return would be $250).
  2. Underdogs: These are the teams not expected to win. They have a plus sign (+) next to their odds. The number following the plus sign shows you the profit you would make on a $100 bet.Example: If in the same game the Detroit Red Wings are the underdogs with odds of +130, a $100 bet would return a profit of $130 if the Red Wings win (total return would be $230).

Why Understanding Odds is Crucial when betting on nhl games

Grasping the concept of how odds work in NHL betting is essential because it directly impacts how much you can win. It also helps you make informed decisions on whether a bet is worth the risk. Betting on the underdog might come with higher risk, but it also comes with a higher reward.

Applying Odds to Your Betting Strategy

When considering a bet on an NHL game, always weigh the odds in relation to the teams’ performances and statistics. Look at their recent form, head-to-head results, and any other relevant data that can give you a betting edge. Using our example of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings:

  • Examine how each team has performed in their last five games.
  • Look at their offensive and defensive records.
  • Check if there are any injured players or other factors that might influence the game’s outcome.

By conducting this analysis, you give yourself a better chance of making a profitable bet, whether you decide to back the favourite or take a chance on the underdog.

Remember, betting should always be done responsibly, and understanding NHL odds is a significant first step towards that.

Types of NHL Bets

NHL betting offers a variety of options for bettors looking to enhance their sports betting experience. Understanding the different types of bets available is crucial for making informed decisions and increasing your chances of a successful wager. Below, we delve deeper into various NHL betting types, providing examples and strategies to help you get started.

Moneyline Bets

At its core, a Moneyline bet in NHL is about picking the winner of the game. It doesn’t get any simpler than this. You place your bet on the team you believe will come out victorious, and if they win, you win your bet.

Example: If the Toronto Maple Leafs (-150) are playing the Detroit Red Wings (+130), and you bet $150 on the Maple Leafs, you would win $100 if the Maple Leafs win the game.

Puck Line Bets

Puck line betting in NHL adds a spread to the game, making the betting field more level. The favorite is given a -1.5 goal spread, meaning they need to win by 2 or more goals for a bet on them to win. The underdog is given a +1.5 goal spread, meaning they need to lose by 1 goal or win the game outright for a bet on them to win.

Example: If you bet on the Maple Leafs with a -1.5 puck line and they win 4-2, you win your bet. If you bet on the Red Wings with a +1.5 puck line and they lose 3-2, you also win your bet.

Over/Under Bets

Also known as totals, Over/Under bets in NHL focus on the total number of goals scored in a game. The sportsbook sets a line, and you bet on whether the total goals will be over or under that number.

Example: If the Over/Under for the Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings game is set at 5.5, and the final score is 4-2, bets on the Over would win since the total goals scored were 6.

Player Props

Player prop bets in NHL are wagers placed on individual player’s performance during a game. These can range from betting on a player to score a goal, get an assist, or even on their total points in a game.

Example: You could place a bet on Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs to score a goal in the game against the Red Wings.

Futures Bets

Futures bets in NHL involve wagering on events that will happen in the future, such as which team will win the Stanley Cup, which player will win the MVP, or which team will win their conference.

Example: Placing a bet on the Toronto Maple Leafs to win the Stanley Cup before the season starts.

Grand Salami

The Grand Salami is a unique bet in NHL where you bet on the total number of goals scored in all the games played on a particular day.

Example: If there are 10 games on a given day and the Grand Salami total is set at 56.5, you could bet on whether the total goals scored across all games will be over or under 56.5.

By understanding these different types of NHL bets, you can enhance your betting strategy, making your NHL betting experience more enjoyable and potentially more profitable. Remember to always bet responsibly and do your research before placing any bets.

Important Factors in NHL Betting

Team Performance

Look at how each team has been performing recently. A hot streak or a slump can greatly influence a game’s outcome.


Injuries to key players can significantly impact a team’s performance. Always check the injury report before placing a bet.


Goalies are crucial in hockey. Know who is starting in the net, and consider their recent performance and history against the opposing team.

NHL Betting Strategies

Bankroll Management

One of the pillars of successful betting in any sport is effective bankroll management. In NHL betting, this principle holds strong. It is imperative to set a budget and stick to it, ensuring that you are only wagering what you can afford to lose. A prudent approach is to bet only 1-2% of your total bankroll on a single game. This strategy helps in minimizing risk and maintaining a steady bankroll, even during a losing streak.

Example: If your total bankroll is $1000, a safe bet would range from $10 to $20 per game.

Shopping for the Best Lines

Odds can vary significantly across different sportsbooks. Devoting time to compare and analyze the lines at various betting platforms can lead to finding more favorable odds, ultimately maximizing your potential returns. Nhl betting experts always look for the best odds.

Example of shopping when betting on the nhl: If the Toronto Maple Leafs are listed at -140 at one sportsbook and -130 at another, choosing the latter could lead to higher profits if your bet is successful.

Pay Attention to Scheduling

The NHL betting season is grueling, with teams often playing back-to-back games and traveling considerable distances. Understanding a team’s schedule and considering the potential impact of fatigue on their performance is crucial. A well-rested team usually has a better chance of performing well compared to a team on a road trip with consecutive games.

Example: If the Detroit Red Wings are on the last leg of a five-game road trip, they might not be in peak condition, potentially giving an edge to their opponents.

Pay Attention to Starting Goalies

Goalies are pivotal in hockey, and their performance can make or break a game. Always check who is expected to be in net before placing a bet. Backups might play on the second night of a back-to-back or against a weaker opponent, which could affect the outcome of the game.

Example: If the Maple Leafs are starting their backup goalie against the Red Wings, this could level the playing field and might influence your betting decision.

Pay Attention to Injuries

Injuries can have a significant impact on a team’s performance, especially if key players are sidelined. Always check the latest injury reports before placing your bet to ensure that you have all the information you need.

Example: If the Red Wings’ leading scorer is out with an injury, this could decrease their chances of winning, affecting how you decide to bet.

Focus on Betting Models and Predict Your Probabilities

nhl betting experts

Building a betting model or utilizing existing ones to predict probabilities of game outcomes can provide a significant edge and successful nhl betting strategy. Focus on creating or finding a model that takes various factors into account, such as team strength, player performance, and historical data. Bet only when there is value, meaning when the probability of an outcome happening, according to your model, is higher than the probability implied by the bookmaker’s odds.

Example: If your model gives the Maple Leafs a 60% chance of winning, but the sportsbook’s odds imply a 55% chance, this is an opportunity to place a value bet.

By adopting these NHL betting strategies and incorporating them into your routine, you increase your chances of making informed decisions and potentially seeing a return on your wagers. Always stay disciplined, keep learning, and bet responsibly.


NHL betting offers excitement and the potential for profit. By understanding the odds, knowing the types of bets, considering important factors, and following solid strategies, you can enhance your betting experience and increase your chances of success. Happy betting!

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