Just watching a close hockey game is a high stress affair on its own. Every possession has game changing potential and the heart skips a beat when the wrong team slaps the puck towards your number one goalie. Now, take that stress and double it and you’ve got a close approximation of what it feels like to have real money on the line at hockey betting sites.
Why do we do this to ourselves? I don’t know, but it’s awesome. Having a little skin in the game puts you in the middle of every shot and every save. It’s one thing to bask in the glory of your team winning a big game, but it’s a whole different experience when you have a personal stake in the outcome.
Don’t have any bookmakers nearby? No problem – that’s where hockey betting sites enter the picture. As long as you have a computer and access to the internet (something tells me you do), you’ve got everything you need to place real money bets on the NHL, the Olympic Games and other leagues around the world.
Best Hockey Betting Sites
Simply finding an online sportsbook that accepts hockey wagers will never be a problem. Hockey may not have even half the viewership numbers of football or baseball, but it’s still a mainstay sport in many parts of the world. It would be very surprising to find a betting site that doesn’t cover the sport.
However, we want to do more than just find a place to bet. We want to find the best place to bet. Some hockey betting websites seem to do the minimum just so they can claim they cover hockey. Others offer an extensive selection of wagers for a variety of national and international leagues. We want to find brands and operators that fit the second category.
Long story short, the above hockey betting sites are the ones that fit the bill. They are all safe, trustworthy places with the most complete lineup of betting options. It’s no accident that these are some of the biggest names in the online gambling industry. Successful sports gambling sites have the resources and manpower to support an extensive variety of wagers in all sports.
What do you mean by “coverage”?
When I say “coverage,” what I mean is the variety of wagers and the number of games for which bets are available. Most hockey betting sites are pretty good about covering all the NHL games. That alone is good for more than 1200 games. At the minimum, a site should offer pucklines and point totals for every game of the NHL season.
The best hockey sites take it further with wagers on Olympic matchups and leagues in other nations such as the Kontinental Hockey League and the Elite Ice Hockey League. These other leagues are pretty niche so I won’t hold it against a site if it doesn’t cover these other leagues all the time. It’s a nice bonus but not mandatory.
Is it safe to bet on hockey online?
Yes, but only if you do business with reputable betting sites. The internet requires trust in all matters of finance. It’s not like you walk in, look someone in the eye and shake his hand. Everything revolves around reputation. And even on the internet, you cannot fake a reputation. People talk and word gets out. Eventually, time sorts the good from the bad.
That’s another reason why I like to default to established brands. The longer a website has been around, the more information you can dig up. If you run a search on any of the hockey betting sites that I recommend, you’ll see that I’m not the only person with good things to say about these companies.
Is online hockey betting legal?
The answer to this question depends on where you live. My readers from the UK have a clear-cut answer: yes. Not only is it legal to bet online in the United Kingdom, but the government actually monitors the industry and issues licenses to gaming companies.
The answer is not as clear-cut for visitors from other countries, especially those located in the United States. Technically, there’s nothing in the law that says it is illegal for people like you and me to place bets over the internet. Several states have laws on the books that could be interpreted to apply to individual gamblers, but those laws aren’t enforced at all.
On the other hand, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) and the Wire Act do outlaw the business of online sports betting. Those who own and operate online sportsbooks do face serious legal risks. That’s why all the big sites are hosted overseas in gambling-friendly countries. As a rule, we only reccomend playing at licensed and regulated gambling sites. The good news for those readers in the US, is that daily fantasy sports websites provide a safe and legal sports option for hockey fans.
Types of Hockey Bets and Wagers
Now it’s time to get to the fun stuff. A quick review of the different types of hockey bets will have you ready to place your wagers in no time. Hockey is a pretty straightforward sport for betting purposes. There are four main types of bets that you’re likely to encounter.
Hockey Moneyline Bets
The moneyline is a basic wager on who will win the game. Hockey sportsbook sites set the payout odds for wagers on each team and display them in the betting area in a format that looks something like this:
- Washington Capitals +165
- Chicago Blackhawks -200
In this matchup, the oddsmaker believes the Capitals are the underdogs and have given them payout odds of +165. This means that for every $1.00 you wager on the Capitals, you will profit $1.65 if they win the game.
The situation is reversed for the Blackhawks, who are believed to have the advantage going into this game. Hockey betting odds of -200 mean that you will need to risk $2.00 for every $1.00 in potential profits. If, for example, you wager $200 on the Blackhawks and they win, you’ll be paid a total of $300 for a net profit of $100.
Hockey Puck Line Betting
Once you understand how the moneyline works, you’ll have no problem with the puck line. The only difference between the two is that the puck line gives or takes a couple of goals from each team to help even out lopsided matches or give you the opportunity to approach a game from a different angle.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re confident in the Blackhawks but aren’t sold on backing them at -200. If your hockey site has a puck line on that game, you can get better odds in return for giving up a scoring advantage. Here’s an example of that same Capitals-Blackhawks game in the puck line format:
- Washington Capitals +1.5 -185
- Chicago Blackhawks -1.5 +160
You’ll recognize the moneyline hockey odds in this wager. Those are still in effect, although the payouts are different. The +1.5 and -1.5 shows the point spread. In this example, Blackhawks are giving the Capitals 1.5 goals. What this means is the Blackhawks must win by at least 2 goals to win the match for betting purposes.
Hockey Point Totals and Over/Under Betting
The point total gives you an opportunity to wager on how many total goals will be scored in the game. The oddsmaker sets a total (usually around 5 to 5.5) and you try to predict if the actual combined score of both teams ends up being greater than or less than the total.
Grand Salami Hockey Wagering
The Grand Salami is a variation of the point total except it covers all games played on a single day. In this wager, the hockey betting site sets a number (usually around 50-60 depending on how many games are scheduled) and you try to predict if the total number of goals scored that day is greater than or less than that number.
Have Multiple Hockey Sports Betting Accounts
I’ll be the first to admit that my hockey betting strategy is pretty haphazard. However, I do have one tip that will help you no matter how good or bad you are. Get an account at more than one sports betting site and shop the odds every time you find a bet you want to place.
If you’re thinking about backing the Capitals at +165, for example, check around and make sure someone else isn’t paying +170 or +180. This requires no special knowledge or even any real effort. You’ll be surprised at how often you find discrepancies between hockey betting sites. Take advantage of that and make sure you always get the most for your money.
The esteemed National Hockey League (NHL) as we know it today came from humble beginnings way back in 1917, with just four teams. Now, the NHL is the premier ice hockey league in the world with 30 teams from the United States and Canada.
NHL betting is firmly entrenched in the North American domain, but it still generates betting action around the world. Both US and international bookmakers are consistent about putting up NHL lines, futures and props every year. No matter where you call home, there’s a website somewhere that will book your NHL action. Speaking of which, let’s begin with a quick list of the best sportsbooks for the NHL:
Best NHL Betting Sites
You may have noticed our top-sites list favors US-facing websites. That’s no accident. The NHL draws the majority of its audience and betting action from the US and Canada. International sportsbooks do cover the NHL, but we’ve found that US-facing sites tend to offer the most betting options and best promos for the NHL.
Betting on NHL Games
Every team in the NHL plays 82 games in the regular season with the potential for more games in the postseason en route to the Stanley Cup. Do the math and that comes out to 1,230 betting events in the regular season alone. What this means for savvy bettors is that there are many opportunities to find value in the NHL.
Of course, it helps to know how NHL betting works in the first place. The most basic form of NHL betting is the straight-up match bet. In this bet, you pick an upcoming game between any 2 teams and place a wager on the team that you think will win. If you are correct, you receive a payout.
North American bookies use the moneyline format to express the odds for straight-up bets. The average NHL bet looks something like this:
- Team A -130
- Team B +110
The moneylines in this example show how much money you can expect to win per dollar wagered. Team A is the favorite to win with odds of -130. This means that for every $1.30 you risk on Team A, you stand to win $1.00. In other words, you’re being asked to risk more than what you stand to win because Team A is seen as the most likely to win.
Team B is the underdog with odds of +110. For every $1.00 you risk on Team B, you stand to win $1.10. So if you bet $100 on Team B, you’ll get $100 plus your original wager back if Team B wins. The odds are a little better for Team B because they are less likely to win.
As with any form of internet sports betting, the ultimate key to success is finding the bets that offer good value. You can’t expect to win your bets on every match, but you can make decent money if you take time to research and identify value bets.
The Puck Line
The puck line is a combination of the point spread and moneyline wager. Pure point spreads don’t work well in ice hockey because it tends to be a low-scoring game. So, hockey betting sites combine point spreads with moneylines to create a hybrid type of wager.
A typical puck line looks like this:
- Team A +1.5 -140
- Team B -1.5 +120
Team A is the underdog in this example with a point spread of +1.5. This means that if you bet on Team A, your bet will win if Team A wins, ties or loses by 1 goal. The -140 tells you that you need to risk $140 for $100 in potential winnings.
Team B is the favorite in this matchup with a point spread of -1.5. This means that Team B must win by at least 2 goals for any bets on Team B to be considered winners. The +120 means that for every $100 you risk on Team B, you stand to win $120.
Betting on the Winner of the Stanley Cup
At the end of a regular season of the National Hockey League, eight teams qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. This is an elimination tournament where the teams are grouped in pairs and play a best of seven series with the winners progressing through to the next round. The two teams that get through the previous rounds compete in the final for a chance to win the Stanley Cup – the ultimate trophy in the NHL.
One popular NHL bet is on which team will lift the Stanley Cup at the culmination of the season. Betting markets for the winner of the Stanley Cup are available at online betting sites well in advance of the start of the season and remain open throughout the season right up until the final games are played.
Betting on the winner of the Stanley Cup is also a fixed odds bet; you simply select which team you think will win the trophy and place your wager accordingly. The odds available on teams fluctuate throughout the season depending on how they are performing on a weekly basis.
These wagers are classified as “futures” because of the long-term outlook. Futures have their pros and cons. On the pro side, futures offer significant payouts for the biggest underdogs. If you make the right pick early in the year, it is possible to earn a massive payday at the end of the season.
The downside to futures is that they are hard to win. As well all know, anything can happen in sports. Sure, you can wager on the favorite, but the payouts are smaller and favorites are far from locks. As the season progresses and more information becomes known, the odds for the various teams tighten up.
Other NHL Hockey Bets and Wagers
Betting on individual NHL matches certainly makes up most of the wagers made on the National Hockey League, and betting on the winner of the Stanley Cup is also common. However, wagering on the NHL is in no way limited to just these particular bets.
At most NHL betting sites, you will find there are variety of other bets that can be placed on the NHL. For example, over/under betting is common. Also known as totals, over/under bets are wagers on the total number of goals scored in any one game.
You’ll also find a variety of prop bets that cover everything else. Prop bets are offered on all sorts of random subjects, such as which team will score first, which players will score, who will make the playoffs and so on. Basically, props cover everything not related to which team will win a specific matchup.