5 Tips for Live Betting NHL Hockey Games

By in NHL on
6 Minute Read
NHL Logo Hockey Rink

The NHL is often overlooked by sports bettors who typically place their wagers on the other major North American sports. But I’ll let you in on a secret… They’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity to add more money to their bankroll.

While your friends struggle to win half of their NFL plays, you can take advantage of the opportunities presented by the NHL. You might be thinking that your knowledge of the sport is too limited to make any real money betting on it, but this can actually work to your advantage.

How? Because you’re learning the game as a bettor first, and a fan second (trust me, you will become a fan).

Plenty of options exist for making bets before a game starts, but my preference for betting on the NHL is utilizing live betting options. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “live betting,” it refers to placing bets on the game once the action is already underway. These bets can be placed as early as two minutes in, or as late as the closing minutes of the game. The trick is finding the perfect bet somewhere in between.

When you live bet, you have the invaluable information of seeing the teams play before wagering on one side or the other. However, the real trick is knowing how to best use the information to your advantage.

In this article, I’ll dive into the tips you should consider when trying to make money live betting on the NHL.

1 – Choose a Team, Then Wait

No matter which sport you bet on, there’s a good chance you’ve liked a play on a particular team, but the odds just weren’t what you wanted. Live betting can be the fix for this.
NHL Hockey Team on Rink

As soon as the puck drops, there’s typically a shift in the moneyline odds on a game. For example, after the first period ends at 0-0, the favorite that you didn’t want to take at -180 might have moved down to -150.

Similarly, the underdog you liked at +130 might now be +145. If some scoring has occurred, there’s no doubt they’ll have shifted even more dramatically.

If you’re able to maintain faith in the team you originally wanted to choose after they’ve fallen behind, you’re pretty much guaranteed a significantly better value on that play. Not to mention, if you liked a team (especially a favorite) to win a game outright and they fall behind 1-0 early on, they’re still very much in the game, just at a better price.

If you time things right and play close attention to the moneyline fluctuations, you can increase the value on a play you were already planning on making.

2 – Go Beyond the Score

Obviously, the score is going to have the biggest impact on odds changing throughout the game. However, there are several key things to look for that can indicate where a game is heading.

The first and most obvious of all the “tells” is the shot totals on each side. It goes without saying that a team who has been peppering the opponent’s goalie throughout most of the game is more likely to break through at some point than a team who hasn’t yet had a good look.

Some of the less obvious signs to look for include potential injuries, penalty minutes, and how each team seems to be performing while on Power Plays. If it feels like one team has dominated in an important statistical category but the store doesn’t reflect this, expect it to work itself out in the end.

3 – Know the Trends

Whether it’s due to coaching, conditioning, or even if it’s unexplainable, most teams tend to have a “best” period. This information is readily available and should be used if you’re looking to get the most value of a play.

With this knowledge in mind, it’s quite possible for you to get great odds betting on a favorite who has fallen behind, even if their trends would suggest that their best period is yet to come.

For example, a team that may have started the game as a favorite at -130 might shift to +150 after being down 1-0 at the end of the first period. If you have the data to suggest that the team which started as the favorite is a slow-starter, putting money on them down 1-0 could be a nice bet.

Similarly, if you’re able to find out that a team is regularly outscored in the final period, you can bet the other way with some degree of confidence.

4 – Understand Game Flow

The way a game is flowing doesn’t always give you a solid indication of who will win, but it could provide some good information if you’re looking to make a live bet the over/under.

Keep in mind that sportsbooks often set lines based on public bias, meaning that they’ll intentionally set a line that is off, but that they also know is going to work with a public who isn’t always well-informed. A situation to take advantage could be a game where one team goes up 2-0 in the early going.

For Example:

In this type of scenario, most bettors would assume that the total number of goals scored is going to be much higher than the opening line. After all, two goals have been scored and not much time has run off the clock. However, digging a little deeper might reveal something different.

Because the team jumped out 2-0 early in the game, there’s a good chance that their mentality is going to trend toward a defensive mindset to protect their lead. This might actually lead to a reduced total number of goals, not the opposite.

In general, betting with a counter-intuitive mindset is a good way to profit – this proves to be true even more with live betting. Because the betting public has already observed a portion of the game, biases are often stronger than the normally would be if they were betting pre-game.

Before you make a live bet, do your best to ask yourself what the number is telling you.

5 – Check Different Sportsbooks

If you’ve done any amount of research on the topic of sports gambling, there’s a good chance you’ve stumbled across the advice of looking at different sportsbooks before making plays. The philosophy is generally pretty simple. Different books have different odds, so choose the one that works best for your play.
If you’re like most who see this advice, you probably checked around a few different betting sites and realized that nearly all of the spreads and totals were the same, occasionally differing by half a point, and a point at most.

I would never advise against looking at all your options when it comes to placing a bet, but you’re not wrong to think that on a pre-game bet, odds will be roughly the same everywhere. This isn’t the case with live betting.

When you get into live betting on the NHL, you’ll realize that when odds are changing on a minute-to-minute basis, there’s great variance between different sites. Not only are the odds different across sites, but the offerings themselves also can be unique to one platform or another.

If you’re limiting yourself to one site when you try live betting, you’re simply not giving yourself the best chance to be successful.


If you feel like you’re ready to give live betting on the NHL a shot, check out one of the best live sports betting sites. Keep in mind that just like any other type of betting, it’s something that takes a while to get a grasp on. You’ll have hot streaks and cold streaks, so track everything closely to find out what plays are working for you.

Finally, remember that patience is essential when live betting because value hits significantly in real-time. Take these tips and hit the ice, and you might just add a new weapon to your sports gambling arsenal.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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