What Is NHL Period Betting and How Does It Work?

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In Hockey, the game is split into three 20-minute periods with two stoppages of play (intermissions) in a normal regulation-time 60-minute game and Hockey bettors can bet on the game’s Moneyline, Puck Line, and Totals results.

But sportsbooks also offer up individual Period Lines for the First, Second, and Third periods of all NHL games, isolating each 20-minute period into a separate game of sorts for Hockey bettors.

What Is Period Betting in the NHL?

This type of bet has grown in popularity through the years and can really be a good and maybe more profitable way to approach an NHL game if you think you have or saw an edge that can be applied in this unique betting market.

First Period wagers in NHL can be speculative, based on data, specific algorithms, or feelings, or whatever the bettor thinks may give him or her the edge in that first and very crucial 20 minutes of play in a given Hockey game.

Generally speaking, teams in the NHL and other levels of Hockey like to try to get off to a fast start, score first and then try to somehow build on that lead and then concentrate on playing good Defense.

First Period betting is the most popular period to bet on for a couple of simple reasons. Bettors have different strategies for betting the First Period and some just like isolating the two teams playing to that first 20 minutes of play.

After that, they will either continue betting separate Second Period and/or Third Period lines or maybe Live, In-Game wagering if they think that they have an edge or want to try to increase any winnings they may have made in the First Period.

First Period Betting

First Period betting is used the most by Hockey bettors and we will use a First Period line to show simple samples of the Moneyline, Puck Line, and Total being employed for those first 20 minutes in a game.

Sportsbooks have those same types of lines for the entire game, but the moneyline numbers differ in the specific Moneyline, Puck Line, and Totals markets for each period in Hockey period betting.

Here are the three main types:

  • First Period Moneyline: This lets you bet on the winning team at the end of the First Period of play. Whoever is winning after the 20 minutes of play wins the best, and if the game is tied after the First Period, it is considered a Push (money refunded).
  • First Period Puck Line: This allows bettors to give or take ½ goal (0.5) with a team within a given period with the attached Moneyline odds (juice) being the great equalizer. If laying ½ goal, period line Favorites need to win by 1 goal or more while Underdogs taking ½ goal can win if their team is leading or the game is tied at the end of the first period of play.
  • First Period Totals: Almost all Period Totals (goals) in Hockey are set at 1½ goals, but some sportsbooks will occasionally hang a 2 depending on the team and situation. With 1½, someone will always win or lose the bet.

Using an example score applied to the three standard First Period bet types, let’s say that the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins were tied 1-1 at the end of the First Period of play.

If the Penguins were lined at -155 in the Moneyline market to win the First Period, then both Pittsburgh and Boston bettors would Push theirs bet as 1=1. Anyone betting the Penguins on the Puck Line though and giving -½, would lose as 1½>1.

And in the Totals Market for This First Period Sample It’s Simple:

There were two total goals scored and the Total was 1½, so Over bettors would win by ½. Betting Overs in the First Period has become a popular betting strategy lately in the NHL.

Sometimes you will see “PK” lines for sides in the Period Betting market and that simply means “Pick ‘em,” or just pick the winner at Even money. There is no goal line attached and this means oddsmakers see the two sides as equal in that situation.

Second Period and Third Period Betting

There are some nuances on betting on Second and Third Period hockey, including one’s own reality with what may have happened with First Period bets and whether or not the bettor has any action on the entire game itself, making hedges possible.

One good thing about betting on both the Second Period and Third Period is that the bettor has already been given the luxury of watching the two teams play a period or two.

Seeing the starting Goaltenders, the game’s flow, the current score, and any situational realities like Injuries, Penalties, or in a worst-case scenario, a pulled Goaltender can help bettors make instinctive and logical in-game Period bets.

And many NHL bettors employ Third Period betting as a hedge to another bet or sometimes even maybe at creating a shot at a manufactured “middle” of sorts.

For Example:

Say a bettor has bet the Sharks -145 for $290 to win $200 on the Moneyline and they are beating up the Ducks 5-1 at the end of two periods. Knowing SJ will likely win the game, the bettor can make a small hedge for the last 20 minutes of play.

Aware that the Sharks don’t really care about scoring in this scenario and will be aiming to kill time, he or she can bet Anaheim for a small amount on the Moneyline, possibly taking ½ goal also in the Puck Line market if desired.

If the Sharks add another goal and win 6-1 and the Third Period is SJ 1 ANA 0, then the bettor has won his big game bet but lost a small amount on the Ducks semi-hedge in the Third Period.

Should nothing happen and the Third Period score be 0-0, then the bettor still wins the game, and if taking the Ducks +½, would also win that Third Period wager. And if the Ducks outscored the Sharks by 1-3 goals in the period, both would also win.

NHL 2020-21 Regular Season First Period Totals Statistics

The chart below (Source: EV Analytics) shows the Return on Investment (ROI) for the 31 National Hockey League teams last 2020-21 NHL Regular Season for Totals in the First Period of play in the league.

As you can see, the most profitable team in the NHL in the First Period last abbreviated season to bet the Over on in the first 20 minutes of play was the Minnesota Wild (32-10 in First Periods, +11.44% ROI).

Few other teams had success in the Over market in the First Period as the Wild (25/1 to win Stanley Cup, BetOnline) with the Senators (35-19, +7.77% ROI) and Blues (31-23, +6.37% ROI) the really only two other profitable teams last season.

In the First Period Under market, the Carolina Hurricanes (20-33, +23.38% ROI on Unders) ruled the roost with backing Unders in Hurricanes games the most profitable First Period betting endeavor.

Carolina’s (20/1 to win Stanley Cup) first game of the 2021-22 Regular Season saw the First Period go Over with the Canes leading the Islanders 2-1 after the first 20 minutes en route to an eventual 6-3 victory and PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC.

Two other fairly good First Period Under teams in the NHL last season included the Columbus Blue Jackets (22-34, +8.07% ROI) and Andrei Vasilevskiy and the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning (23-31, +7.81% ROI)

Unders in the First Period in Montreal Canadiens games also saw some success for bettors, going 32-26 for a positive 6.62% ROI, but not to the overwhelming and profitable rate of success in the Hurricanes First Period Unders.

In short, few teams had distinct Over/Under patterns or Trends in the NHL but the Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks did run off some serious First Period Totals streaks in 2020-21 that caught some attention in the betting world.

And Wild First Period Unders (+11.44% ROI) and Hurricanes First Period Unders (+23.38% ROI) most definitely have to be followed this new NHL Regular Season to see if these often quirky Totals Trends continue.

Period betting can be designed, instinctual, or used as a hedge and its applications often vary depending on the bettor, sportsbook availability, and their necessity.

How and Where to Make Your NHL Period Bets

Betting on the NHL at the top online sportsbooks is extremely easy but finding sportsbooks that offer Period Betting may be a little bit more difficult. The first thing to do is signup for one or more sportsbooks to have options and shop lines.

Betting the NHL is easy, simply find the NHL tab on the left or the top of the sportsbooks’ page. Click that and see the various action offered by each casino. Period bets are listed separately from Moneyline, Puck Line, and Totals bets.

Next, after weighing prices and the value of making the bet, click on the specific bet you want to make and a Betting Slip will appear asking you what Amount you would like to wager on the Period bet and then hit the “Confirm” button and you are in.

Then make sure to check the “My Bets” or “Open Bets” tab to see that your sportsbook has accepted the bet. It’s just that easy. The winning is the hard part.

Kevin Stott

Kevin Stott is a sports writer who has covered the Sports Gambling industry for over 20 years, handicapping sporting events for SportsbookReview, Gaming Today and Bleacher/Report and was an award-winning writer for the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s View Newspapers. Stott is an avid sports bettor and a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. ...

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