Hockey Betting Sites
Hockey is severely underrated when it comes to sports betting. It may be one of the big-four sports in North America, but hockey doesn't even come close to putting up the same betting numbers as the other three. But you know what? That's a good thing.
With fewer people betting on hockey, there's less competition and the lines aren't pushed into true odds territory all the time like you see with the NFL or soccer. The bookmakers also don't have as much incentive to spend inordinate amounts of time researching games and setting the lines; they have their hands full with a few other sports during hockey season.
All our diehard hockey fans out there should be grinning from ear to ear. If you truly know the game and place wise bets, you just might earn a little extra money this season. But first thing's first: you need to find a safe place to do your betting. The good news is we're already on it. Take a look below for a list of the best hockey betting sites:
We didn't just wake up this morning and decide to call these the "best" hockey sportsbooks out of nowhere. We've been reviewing gambling sites, placing bets, and writing about hockey for going on 10 years now and these are the sites that have come to earn our respect over the years.
The primary reason we pick these sites is because they have proven themselves to be safe. Unlike some of the other betting sites we've had the misfortune of dealing with in the past, the ones mentioned above don't look for reasons to cancel winning bets or delay cashouts. You can take it from us; life is so much easier when you deal exclusively with the top 3-4 betting sites.
Betting on Hockey Online
Now that you have a site (hopefully), it's time to get to the fun stuff. Betting on hockey isn't all that complicated. Log on to any sportsbook and you'll have a few options for betting on any individual game. The most common type is a straight-up bet on the winner of a match.
Depending on where you do your betting, there are about four different ways to bet on the winner of a game:
- Point Spread
- Puck Line
- Canadian Line
The moneyline in hockey works just like it does in any other sport. Both teams are displayed with their respective odds and you pick the winner. The odds show how much you can expect to win if your prediction is correct.
- LA Kings +110
- New York Rangers: -130
If you bet on the Kings in this example, you're taking the underdog. The +110 tells you that for every $1.00 you put on the Kings, you'll get $1.10 in profits if your bet wins. The Rangers are the favorites in this team so you're being asked to risk more to take them. The -130 tells you that for every $1.30 you risk on the Rangers, you'll get $1.00 in profits if they win.
The point spread is another form of wager that's used across all sports. In the previous bet, the moneyline was used to even the odds. In a point spread, the favored team must win by at least X number of points. The underdog can lose by up to X points but still win for betting purposes.
You don't often see straight point spreads in hockey, but we'll cover it here just in case.
Here's an example:
- LA Kings: +2.5
- New York Rangers: -2.5
The +2.5 next to the Kings means they are going to receive 2.5 goals for the purposes of betting. In other words, they can lose this game by up to 2 goals and you'll still win your bet. The Rangers need to win by at least 3 goals for any bets on them to win.
When the payout odds aren't displayed, you can assume it's going to pay -110 on either side. So in the above example, you would lay $110 for the chance to win $100 on either team.
You don't see straight point spreads often in hockey because it's a fairly low-scoring game. Whenever two teams are fairly close in skill, a single point in either direction results in a huge swing in the odds. So, that's why we have puck lines and Canadian lines.
The puck line is a combination of the point spread and moneyline. Not only are the payout odds affected, but there's also a points differential. Here's an example:
- LA Kings: +1.5 -240
- New York Rangers: -1.5 +200
You can see here that the Kings are getting an extra 1.5 points but at the cost of a more expensive line. In the straight moneyline example from above, the Kings were paying +110. With the points in their favor, you're going to have to risk $240 for every $100 in potential winnings.
The Rangers must now win by at least 2 goals for your wager to win. This game just got a lot harder for the Rangers (in betting terms that is), but they are now paying $200 for every $100 you risk.
This is just another term used to describe the point spread in hockey, usually. Points are given and taken but the odds remain even at -110 for both sides.
However, some sportsbooks use the term "puck line" to describe Canadian lines. It's confusing because there's no consensus as to the true definitions of "puck line" and "Canadian line."
We wouldn't recommend worrying too much about which name goes with which bet. As long as you understand what you're looking at when you see things like +1.5 and -230, you'll have everything you need to place any wager you ever see at an NHL betting site.
Props and Futures
We've lumped together props and futures, because they both involve things other than who will win the next game. Futures are typically long term bets that have to do with championships and world titles. A common futures bet is picking who will win the Stanley Cup.
At the beginning of the season, the sportsbooks publish the odds on all teams to win the Stanley Cup. As the season progresses and we see how each team performs, the odds are updated. You are paid whatever the odds are at the time you place the bet.
Props take on many forms. If you visit any hockey sportsbook and look at the props associated with a game, you'll see a variety of options such as:
- How long it will be before the first goal of the game is scored
- Which team will score the first goal
- How many saves a player will have
- First period point total
- Margin of victory
- Total shots on the goal
The list of potential prop bets is limited only by the imagination of whoever's job it is to come up with bets. Prop bets are a lot of fun, but they do have a reputation as a sucker's bet. We wouldn't call all props sucker bets, though. Some of them clearly have elements of skill that you can use to your advantage if you really know your hockey.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: March 2015
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