Hockey Betting Guide for 2020

Hockey betting for real money allows fans to make a profit on their knowledge of a game that is beloved by millions on both the professional and amateur level. If you’re new to the sport, or at least the wagering side of it, you might be a bit confused by all the options and terminology. That’s why we’re here to help you out with this in-depth hockey betting guide to help both beginners and experts.

In terms of popularity in North America and Europe, very few sports can match hockey. It’s a sport that captivates millions with its combination of skill and physicality. If you’ve always watched but haven’t yet understood how to make wagers on the outcome, we’re here to help you out with everything you need to know.

In this hockey betting guide, we’ll talk about the types of wagers that you can make and the different odds that they bring. We’ll explain where to bet on hockey, and we’ll give you some tips on how to wager successfully on the sport at online gambling sites. Finally, we’ll answer some of the most popular questions people tend to have about betting on hockey for real money.

To kick things off, we want to provide you with our list of the best sites for hockey betting if you’re trying to get in on the action without reading the rest of this guide.

Rank Gambling Site Deposit Bonus Get Started
#1 MyBookie Logo
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#3 Bovada Sports Logo
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A Beginner’s Guide to Betting on Hockey

Hockey PuckFor those who haven’t watched much hockey or might have seen it in passing, it’s a sport played on ice by two teams of six. There are five players on each team that have the run of the ice attempting to score goals, while the sixth member of the team, the goalie, mostly stays within the net area and tries to prevent goals from being scored.

Goals are scored when the puck is directed, usually by one of the players’ sticks, past the goalie and into the net. The team with the most goals at the end of play wins.

There are obviously many more intricate rules that you should know if you’re going to start to betting on hockey. For now, we’re going to assume that you have enough of a basis on the sport that you can start the betting process. First, we’ll check out the types of bets that are among the most popular in the sport.

Types of Hockey Bets

Now, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of the bets that you can usually make on games at hockey betting sites and at land-based sportsbooks. Each of these bets will include their own unique set of hockey betting odds that you’ll have to navigate. Read on to see which bets interest you the most.

Moneyline Hockey Betting

The moneyline is the way that you can make the simplest bet in all of hockey—a bet on who will win the game. If the team you pick wins, it’s as simple as that. But there is a line that you have to heed, since it will affect how you will get paid.

If sportsbooks or online hockey betting sites simply allowed bettors to wager on who would win and offered them all even-money return, they would get clobbered. After all, some hockey teams are better than others. There has to be some mechanism to distinguish favorites and underdogs, and that’s where the moneyline comes into play.

The moneyline is built around a base unit of $100. In the case of the favorite in a hockey game, you will usually have to bet more than $100 to win $100. Meanwhile, for the underdog, you will bet $100 to win more than $100 in return.

As an example, take a look at this sample hockey betting line:

Sharks vs Flyers
Moneyline
Sharks
-125
Flyers
+150

What this means is that San Jose is the favorite in this game. To win $100 betting on them to win the game, you have to bet $125. Meanwhile, if you bet $100 on Philadelphia, the underdog, to win, you will win $125 if they do indeed defeat San Jose.

Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to bet $100 or $125 in this case. You can bet higher or lower. The ratio of the favorite and underdog will be in place and govern how much you win, no matter the size of the bet.

The Puck Line

If you’ve ever done some sports betting, you know a little bit about something known as the point spread. The point spread is essentially a method used by oddsmakers to even out two teams. Well, the puck line in hockey works in a similar fashion.

The main difference is that total of the puck line in hockey never changes. It is always 1.5. In other words, the favorite of any hockey game is always favored to win by 1.5 goals. The reason that the puck line never moves is because not many goals are scored in a typical hockey game, which means that larger spreads wouldn’t make much sense.

Sabres vs Bruins
Puck line
Sabres
-1.5 (-185)
Bruins
+1.5 (+155)

As an example of the puck line when betting on NHL games, let’s say that Buffalo is the puck line favorite over Boston. At the end of the game, the score is Sabres 3, Bruins 2.

The Sabres won but by only one goal, which means that a bet on the Bruins would have won the puck line wager. After all, 2 plus the 1.5 puck line gives Boston 3.5, more than the 3 that Buffalo scored.

Over/Under Hockey Bets

Over/under is a common concept in betting team sports. In the case of NHL betting, a line is set on how many goals might be scored by both teams in a single contest. You have to decide on whether the teams will score more or less than that total.

Knights vs Kings
Over/Under
Over 6 Goals
-110
Under 6 Goals
-110

For example, imagine that the over/under for a typical game is 6. At the end of the game, one team has defeated the other 3 to 1. That means the total scored for the game is 4, which is below the over/under number, meaning that the under was the correct bet.

Games usually feature an over/under hockey betting line of anywhere from 5 to 6.5. Again, the people who set these NHL betting odds do this because they know that a hockey game is typically low-scoring.

The Grand Salami

This is a bet unique to hockey and usually reserved for professional action. You can bet on all the games on a typical day’s schedule, which gives you reason to keep track of everything going on in one calendar day.

The Grand Salami is essentially an over/under bet on the entire schedule.

For example, if there are 10 games on a day’s schedule, an oddsmaker might set the Grand Salami number at something like 55.

You can then bet over or under that number. At the end of the day, you would tally up the total scores of all 10 games to see where the total landed and find out if it went over or under.

One note on the puck line, over/under and Grand Salami bets: These will all have a moneyline attached to them as well. It will usually be a number close to 100 (like -110), since these are bets where there isn’t as clear a favorite or underdog as you would find in a straight win or lose bet.

Futures Bets

Futures bets allow you to wager on some aspect of the sport that is still well down the road calendar-wise. For example, at the start of the season, you might make a bet on a team to win the NHL Stanley Cup. Below we have included sample odds to win the 2021 Stanley Cup:

  • Colorado Avalanche (+550)
  • Vegas Golden Knights (+650)
  • Tampa Bay Lightning (+800)
  • Toronto Maple Leafs (+1000)
  • Philadelphia Flyers (+1500)
  • Edmonton Oilers (+1500)
  • Pittsburgh Penguins (+1700)
  • Washington Capitals (+1800)
  • Vancouver Canucks (+1800)
  • Dallas Stars (+2000)

The lure of futures bets is that they can pay off a lot on a small wager. If you were to bet $10 on the Philadelphia Flyers to win the 2021 Stanley Cup at +1500 and they end up winning, you would win $160.00.

Hockey Prop Bets

Prop bets can be tied into some aspect of the game besides the score of the two teams. For example, you might be able to wager on which player scores the first goal, or an over/under of how many saves a particular goalie might get. These bets are a fun way to dissect the game and possibly come out a winner.

Types of Hockey Games You Can Bet On

NHL Betting

There are professional hockey leagues that take place all over the world. But perhaps the most popular is the National Hockey League (NHL), which is conducted with teams in Canada and the United States. It features the best players from around the world.
Because of the popularity of the league, you can usually find the widest array of bets available on NHL action. Other professional leagues throughout the world also draw strong local interest, but not the same kind of international acclaim of the NHL.

NHL Teams

Eastern Conference

Metropolitan Division Atlantic Division
Hurricanes Carolina Hurricanes Bruins Boston Bruins
Blue Jackets Columbus Blue Jackets Sabres Buffalo Sabres
New Jersey Devils New Jersey Devils Red Wings Detroit Red Wings
Islanders New York Islanders Panthers Florida Panthers
Rangers New York Rangers Canadiens Montreal Canadiens
Flyers Philadelphia Flyers Senators Ottawa Senators
Penguins Pittsburgh Penguins Lightning Tampa Bay Lightning
Capitals Washington Capitals Leafs Toronto Maple Leafs

Western Conference

Central Division Pacific Division
Blackhawks Chicago Blackhawks Ducks Anaheim Ducks
Avalanche Colorado Avalanche Coyotes Arizona Coyotes
Stars Dallas Stars Flames Calgary Flames
Wild Minnesota Wild Panthers Edmonton Oilers
Predators Nashville Predators Kings Los Angeles Kings
Blues St. Louis Blues Sharks San Jose Sharks
Jets Winnipeg Jets Canucks Vancouver Canucks
Knights Vegas Golden Knights

The Seattle Kraken will be joining the Pacific for the 2021-22 season. At that time, the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central.

Last 5 Stanley Cup Winners

  • 2016: Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 2017: Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 2018: Washington Capitals
  • 2019: St. Louis Blues
  • 2020: Tampa Bay Lightning

College Hockey Betting

There is a strong college hockey scene, especially within the United States. Many of the top hockey schools in the US have been a part of rivalries with other schools for decades.

You might not find the same kind of action for betting on college hockey online as you would with the pros. But events like the NCAA Championships should offer great betting opportunities if you know where to look for them.

Last 5 NCAA Ice Hockey Champions

  • 2015: Providence
  • 2016: North Dakota
  • 2017: Denver
  • 2018: Minnesota-Duluth
  • 2019: Minnesota-Duluth

How to Bet on Hockey

Now that you know some of the wagers that you can make on hockey, it’s time to talk about where you can make those wagers. There are basically two legal ways to make wagers on ice hockey action: at sportsbook locations or on real money hockey betting sites.

Land-Based Sportsbooks

A sportsbook is a location that is within a jurisdiction where sports gambling has been deemed legal. You can bet there and also gather your winnings if you’ve been successful. Since ice hockey is so popular, you’ll have no problems finding a wide variety of bets at top sportsbooks.

When you’re at a sportsbook, there will be screens all over the place showing all the available bets. You can then go up to one of the tellers. Make sure you have all the information with you about what wager you want to make, how much, what team, what type of bet, etc.

You can also use betting kiosks at sportsbooks, which allow you to make the wager on your own without any help. Just be sure that your wager is exactly as you want it to be before printing it out. If you walk away with it, it can be too late.

Online Hockey Betting Sites

If you can’t make it out to a sportsbook, which can be a stand-along establishment or part of a casino, online sports betting sites are an excellent alternative. In fact, you might actually prefer betting online, since it gives you more convenience and allows you the opportunity to pick the site which provides you with the best hockey betting odds for the bets you want to make.

For some people, betting on ice hockey online might be scary, simply because of the technology involved. Luckily, the process is relatively simple. Take a look at this step-by-step guide to help you out.

  1. Choose your site: Make sure that you take this choice seriously. Remember that you’ll be putting real money at stake, which means that you’ll need a site that’s reliable. And you’ll also want to pick one that features the kinds of bets that you want to make.
  2. Provide your information: First of all, you’ll need to give some personal information so that the site knows you’re an actual human being. You’ll also have to make up a username and password. This will allow you to pick up where you left off at any time within the site.
  3. Fund your account: In order to make the hockey bets that you want and win real money in return, you’ll have to provide funding. That could be a credit card or even an alternative method like cryptocurrency.
  4. Find your bet: The best gambling websites will be easy to navigate so that you can find the actual hockey bet you want to make. Simply put in all the information that you would need as if you were betting at a sportsbook.
  5. Withdraw your winnings: This part takes a little longer at NHL betting sites than it does at sportsbooks. You have to put in a request for a withdrawal, and how long that takes will depend on the guidelines of the site you’re using.

Make sure that any hockey gambling site you choose is at the top of the industry. It should also be one that has already been in existence for a while and has gained the approval of the sports betting community. Here are some of the hockey betting sites we recommend:

Hockey Betting Tips

  • Do your research: This sounds like it should be obvious, but you’d be surprised how many gamblers will just bet on anything because they want some action at that time. Hockey is a popular enough sport that there will be plenty of resources available to you to check out what you need to now. A well-informed bettor always has a great chance to do well, at least compared to those who bet blind.
  • Watch the injury report: In the NHL, star players can have a serious impact on how a team performs. When they are missing, the chances of their teams being able to overcome their losses might not be worth a wager. As a result, you should always be scouring the injury report as close to game time as possible before you make your bets.
  • Heed home/away factors: It’s not as simple as saying that the home ice team will always have an advantage over the other squad. Some teams are stronger at home than others. By the same token, there are some squads that do well on the road, which is why you should always look at home/away records when considering your hockey wager.
  • Know the tendencies: This is especially true when it comes to over/under wagers. Some hockey teams will want to push the tempo and take more chances offensively, which means their games will be more high-scoring. By contrast, teams that play conservatively will often keep the under in play.
  • Bet those goalies: Goalies have an extraordinary impact on the outcome of any hockey game. And, more than any other position in hockey, goalies can go on hot or cold streaks, which will affect their performance in a single game. Take a look at both goalies coming into any hockey game that you’re planning to bet and see if you can take advantage of the knowledge you gather.

Hockey Betting Resources

Hockey Betting Sites

Hockey is one of the most popular sports in the world. The sport is particularly popular in North America, so it should come as no surprise that hockey is a big player when it comes to sports betting. The top online sports betting sites in the industry offer comprehensive hockey betting coverage. For more information on our top-ranked hockey betting sites, check out our deep dive into the best online sportsbooks the industry has to offer.

Hockey Betting Apps

People do just about everything on their smartphones these days. Why should betting on hockey be any different? The best NHL betting sites on the web have all developed their own exclusive mobile apps that you can download right to your smartphone or tablet. Not all apps are created equal, though, which is why our team of experts has taken the time to rate and rank the best hockey betting apps accordingly.

Hockey Betting Tips

Learning how to bet on hockey isn’t something you can do in an instant, but you can employ some strategies in an attempt to help improve your results. Our hockey betting tips page is designed to give you an inside look at potential tricks that can help you turn a steady profit in your NHL betting endeavors. While becoming a profitable bettor ultimately comes down to your own discipline, the following page can be useful in helping you better your overall bottom line.

Hockey Legends

Hockey’s history has been decorated by no shortage of legendary players over the years. From Bobby Orr to Gordie Howe to Wayne Gretzky to Alex Ovechkin, the sport has gained popularity around the world thanks in large part to the many Hall of Famers to have put on the skates in recent decades. Our hockey legends page offers a more detailed look at some of the greatest players the sport has ever known.

Hockey Betting Blogs

An often-overlooked key to being a successful hockey sports bettor is staying up to speed on the happenings in the sport and the sports betting industry. The news is how you stay up to speed, spot trends, and win money. Below, you’ll see links to our newest hockey blogs and hockey news articles. We highly recommend that you bookmark the page and check back often to make sure you’re fully in the know with what is going on. It’s key to becoming a winning hockey sports bettor.

Hockey Betting FAQ

Is It Legal to Wager on Hockey in the United States?

If all depends on the organization that is taking your bets. For example, if you’re betting at a sportsbook in a jurisdiction where sports gambling is legal, you are fine. The same goes if you’re betting with a gambling site that allows US bettors to participate.

You have to remember that each state in the US is responsible for deciding their own laws on sports betting. But that is only the case for the receivers of the bets, who can’t operate such an establishment without the permission of the state where they operate. As a bettor, you need not worry.

Can I Bet Real Money on Hockey Online?

You certainly can. Again, you have to make sure that the site you’re using accepts bettors from the United States (or wherever you happen to reside. But once that’s straightened out, you can indeed put real money at stake (and win real money in return).

Where Can I Bet on NHL Hockey Online?

If you’re planning on betting on hockey games for real money, you’ll have two main options. As we said above, online NHL betting sites are an excellent option. They provide you with the kind of convenience that’s hard to beat.

Many casinos in the United States also feature fully-operational sportsbooks which you can utilize to make legal hockey wagers. There aren’t many stand-alone sportsbooks in the United States, although they can be found overseas.

What Do the Minus and Plus Mean in Hockey Odds?

A minus in front of a number means that you have to bet that much to win $100 in return. By contrast, a plus means that you have to bet $100 to win that number. The minus identifies a favorite, and the plus identifies an underdog.

In the case of a prop bet or futures bet, it’s common for all hockey betting odds to be plus odds. That’s because there are multiple outcomes covered by the bets, and the likelihood of any one of them happening isn’t as strong as all of the other outcomes combined.

Can I Bet on a Hockey Game That Already Started?

More and more online betting sites are incorporating what are known as live hockey betting lines. These are lines that allow you to bet as the game goes on. The odds will change as the game goes on.

For example, if one team is leading 3-1 after two periods, with only one period left to go. You might be able to get lucrative odds on the trailing team to win the game with a live bet. Obviously, their chances of winning are diminished, so you’ll get a nice reward for taking that chance.

Does Overtime Count in Ice Hockey Betting?

Unless otherwise stated by your hockey betting site, overtime will count toward your bets. The NHL outlawed ties several years ago, and games will be decided via shootout after the first overtime period during the regular season. Playoff games don’t have shootouts, though, with the winner being determined via sudden-death goal regardless of how many overtime periods are needed.

Overtime and shootouts both count for your bets, unless your betting sites specifically states otherwise. Keep that in mind before you place your wagers.

What Is the Best Type of Bet to Place on a Hockey Game?

The most popular way to bet on a hockey game is to place a moneyline bet on whichever team you think will come away victorious. Hockey’s moneyline odds work the same way they do for any other sport, such as football or basketball. The odds will be slanted in favor of whichever team oddsmakers think has the better chance of winning. Betting on the underdog always gives you a better bang for your buck, but betting the favorite is certainly the “safer” option considering that team is expected to win.

Can I Place a Hockey Parlay Bet?

Yes! NHL Hockey betting sites afford you countless options when it comes to your wagers. That includes the ability to place a parlay bet, which means you are banking on a number of different outcomes in search of a big payout. The payouts for parlays tend to be larger considering you need multiple results to go your way, but if you play your cards right, there is certainly plenty of upside in placing a hockey parlay bet.

Conclusion on Hockey Betting

We hope that you’re more prepared to wager on hockey now that you’ve checked out this extensive guide. Just remember that real money hockey betting online shouldn’t be taken lightly and that you should always be as prepared as possible. If you follow this guide and do a little homework of your own, you should have a solid foundation for betting on hockey going forward.