NHL Betting Explained

The NHL is one of the most popular sports to bet, especially come playoff time when the on-ice action heats as each of the 16 teams vie for the prestigious Stanley Cup each spring.

If you want to bet on hockey there is no shortage of markets to choose from. They include:

  • Moneyline. Which team will win.
  • Puck-line. Will the favorite cover a spread, which is typically 1.5 goals.
  • Totals. Over or Under a certain number of goals. Typically game totals are between 5.5-6.5 goals.
  • Props. Want to bet a team in a race to 3 goals? Or bet a game to get to overtime? Those are available for most games.
  • Player props. Do you want to bet on a player to score the first goal? Or an anytime goal? Or have an assist? Or for a goalie to make a certain number of saves? These are usually available.
  • Futures. Do you want to bet on a specific team to win the Stanley Cup? Or are you interested in betting on an individual player to win one of the postseason awards? Most sportsbooks offer odds on those.
  • Live. Hockey comebacks happen. You can bet on a team to make a comeback then cash in on those odds when it happens.
  • Parlays. Combine any of these markets and create your own odds-boosting parlay.

Hockey Betting Tips

Find trends or predictive measures such as a team’s Expected Goals For percentage, Corsi-for percentage or PDO (shooting percentage + save percentage) to determine which team is better. There are third-party sites that offer analytics for each of the 32 NHL teams and ranks them as well as the advanced metrics for individual skaters and goalies.

Obviously if the data confirms what you believe will happen we advocate that you go ahead and bet it. The best bets are the ones we love.

How We Make Our NHL Best Bets

Sometimes predictive measures can fly in the face of what actually happens on the ice. Hockey can be a super-random sport where things that don’t make sense happen, but more often than not leaning into predictive measures will pan out.

But there is a certain level of feel and intuition that exists in betting on hockey. Assessing data can only take you so far. At some point you have to also trust your gut.

NHL Betting Picks

Our picks typically are a combination of analysis and intuition. I’ve been covering the NHL for a decade, and following the sport for more than 25 years. Hockey can be random, and weird things will happen, but if you know the sport and have some idea what’s going on, it isn’t that hard to bet on.

Target things that don’t appear to make sense, like the ones that give long odds to likely outcomes. If the two highest-scoring teams are playing and the Over/Under is 5.5 with Even money odds, that’s something to take advantage of.

Do your homework, and betting on hockey can be a breeze.

How to Place an NHL Bet

Here are the steps for bettors interested in placing a bet on a hockey game, assuming you are already registered with an online sportsbook.

  • Log into your preferred sportsbook. Click on its NHL tab.
  • Peruse the betting options and find the moneyline, puck-line or prop bet you like most
  • Double-check it against an analytics site to see if it makes sense or read our analysis to see if the bet makes sesne
  • Put in how much you’d like to wager
  • Press “Place Bet"
  • Root for that wager to hit!