How to Bet on NHL: A Beginners Guide to Hockey Betting

Betting on hockey is a common hobby for sports enthusiasts globally. The NHL, also known as the National Hockey League, showcases talented ice hockey players and teams, providing a thrilling betting experience.

Placing bets on hockey matches can bring excitement to the viewing experience. Beginners need to familiarize themselves with the fundamentals to make wise choices and earn money.

Close-up of an ice hockey stick on the rink, player in the background, ready for a thrilling NHL match.
Get ready to place your bets! This intense moment on the ice rink reflects the thrill of betting in the fast-paced world of the NHL.

This article outlines the different types of bets available and provides tips for starting to help you strategize.

Understanding the Basics of Hockey Betting

Before betting on the NHL, understanding the types of wagers is so important. 

Total Goals Bets

The NHL provides opportunities for total goal bets, commonly called Over/Under bets, where bettors must predict the total number of goals scored by both teams in a game. Bettors can bet on whether the total goals scored will be above or below a specific number set by the sportsbook.

To calculate the combined odds for total goals scored, multiply the over/under number by the moneyline odds. For example, if the over/under is 5.5 and the moneyline odds are -110 on the Edmonton Oilers at a Canada betting site, the potential payout for each $1 wagered would be $5.50.

Moneyline Bets

Moneyline bets in hockey involve choosing the game’s winner without considering the margin of victory. This type of bet is pretty common in the NHL. It’s a straightforward wager on whether a specific team will win or lose. Moneyline odds often represent a team’s chances of winning, with favorites having less favorable odds and underdogs having more favorable odds.

Two-way moneyline bets account for overtime, while three-way moneyline bets consider the possibility of a tie during regulation. Recognizing the difference between the odds for the favorite and the underdog team is important to calculate moneyline odds.

For instance, if Florida’s sportsbooks predict that the Boston Bruins are predicted to defeat the Florida Panthers and the odds for the favorite team is 1.5, you would earn $1.5 for every $1 wagered on the Bruins. But if the Florida Panthers odds are +1.5, you would win $1.5 for every $1 you wagered on them.

Puck Line Bets

A popular bet in NHL betting is the puck line bet, similar to a point spread. This type of bet involves teams being given a handicap that they need to exceed to win. Using the previous example, the Boston Bruins are playing against the Florida Panthers, and you want the Bruins to win, they would need to win by at least two goals for your bet to be successful, while the Panthers could still win the bet even if they lose by only one goal.

To determine the odds for the puck line, you must subtract the Panther’s puck line from that of the Bruins. If the Bruins have a puck line of -1.5 and you bet on them, you could potentially earn $1.5 for every $1 you wager. Conversely, if the Panthers have a puck line of +1.5, you could also earn $1.5 for every $1 you bet.

Futures bets

Betting on futures allows you to make predictions about upcoming games, like which team will win the Stanley Cup or who will be the MVP. These bets are focused on long-term outcomes and can offer big payouts.

To figure out the odds for futures bets, you need to multiply the money line odds by the amount you want to bet. Imagine you bet $100 on the Montreal Canadiens to win the championship at odds of +500 with a sportsbook in Quebec. If they win, you could win $500.

Parlay bets

Parlay bets involve combining several individual bets into one single wager. You can potentially increase your winnings by grouping moneyline, puck line, and total goals bets in a parlay. For a parlay bet to be successful, all of these individual bets within the parlay must win. If just one of the bets loses, the entire parlay will be considered a loss.

To determine the likelihood of winning a parlay, you need to multiply the odds of each bet by the total number of bets in the parlay. For instance, if you have two bets with odds of -110 each and put them together in a parlay, the potential payout would be $19.10 for every $10 bet.

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Exploring Additional NHL Betting Options

There are more betting options for NHL games besides those mentioned earlier. These selections allow for changing up your betting strategies.

  • First Goalscorer: You bet on the player you think will score the first goal in the game.    
  • Last Goal Scorer: This type of bet is similar to predicting the first goal scorer but focused on the game’s last goal.    
  • Period Betting: Place bets on outcomes for specific periods, like which team will score the most goals in the second period.    
  • Shootout Winner: Predict which team will win the shootout if the game ends in a tie.    
  • Team Props: Wager on team stats like power play percentage or faceoff percentage.    
  • Grand Salami: A bet based on the combined scores of all games played on a specific night. The total is typically set at 45-55 goals, and bettors try to predict whether the goals will be above or below that threshold.  

Factors to Consider Before Placing Bets

Before placing your bets, consider the following factors: 

Team Form and Injuries

Evaluating a team’s recent performance and pinpointing any significant injuries to key players is crucial. A team that has been consistently winning and has all its players in good health is more likely to succeed than a team struggling with injuries or poor performances.


Having a strong goalie is really important in hockey because they can make a big difference in the game’s outcome. By looking at how well the starting goalies have been playing and their statistics, we can get an idea of how the game might go. 

Special Teams

Evaluate how effective each team is on special teams and their ability to avoid penalties, as both power plays and penalty kills can significantly influence the flow of a game.


In any sport, there’s always a chance that the ref will be biased towards one team more than the other, and is more likely to call out their fouls. Hockey is no different, so consider who is refereeing the match you’re going to bet on and how they’ve treated your chosen team in the past.

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