Ice hockey is becoming more and more popular in North America and Europe with each passing year. Though the NHL includes only 32 U.S. and Canadian teams, it is still one of the most-watched hockey seasons around the globe.
If you’re an avid hockey fan, you might be wondering how you can kick the excitement up a notch. Betting on NHL games is a great way to not only turn your fandom into an asset but to put skin in the game.
The question is, what should you know before you start betting on sports and, more specifically, hockey? We’re here to tell you.
Read on to learn our best eleven tips on how to bet on NHL games.
1. Understand the Home Team Advantage
If you’re a sports fan across the board, you probably know that the home team advantage exists on every field and in every arena. The question is, how does this work in the NHL? What is the hockey home team advantage and what causes it?
For years, the NHL home team advantage was about 55%. Last year, the return of fans to the stands bumped up the home team advantage to a whopping 60%. In other words, NHL teams win at home an average of 60% of the time.
This home team advantage is fueled by three things:
- the morale boost that comes from the home team’s fans making more noise,
- the referee’s tendency to make biased calls in favor of the home team,
- and the home team’s chance at a final line change, where they can use what they know about the opposition’s players to put together a line that is designed to win.
While this can seem like a clearcut sign to bet on the home team, keep in mind that the odds to win real money will be stacked against you. Follow each team’s specific odds to see who stands to beat the home team and bet on them.
2. Pay Close Attention to NHL Underdogs
The NHL is a haven for underdog teams. There have been some seriously incredible victory stories for teams that were previously considered unlikely to triumph. This is something to keep in mind when you’re getting into NHL gambling.
When it comes to high-scoring sports like basketball and, to some extent, football, you don’t tend to see as many upsets in the odds. However, hockey games are low-scoring and neck and neck, as a result. It’s not uncommon to see a low-ranking team beat the best teams in the league from time to time, and that means that you shouldn’t shy away from placing bets on the underdogs.
The best part about betting on an underdog is that you typically don’t have to bet as much money to break even and make money. Now, you don’t want to spend the entire season betting on the underdog, but with a keen eye for stats and players, you can start to rake in the big bucks betting on the underdogs at the right moments.
3. Know the Players
When it comes to betting on NHL games, the better you know the players, the smarter your bets will become. Which teams have the better defense and who has the weak goalie? What does the second string look like and what will do if a team’s best players have to sit out for a play–or for the entire game?
When you know the players, you can also get a better read on a bad night. In other words, you can clock early that a favored team or their key players are struggling to perform to their usual standards. This comes in handy when you start placing live bets and it can also help you to make early predictions about the overall season.
4. Know How to Read Lines and Odds
If you’ve never participated in sports betting of any kind, you may not understand exactly how it works. It’s not quite as simple as placing a bet on a winning team or specific outcome. You’ll need to learn how to read lines and odds, which vary slightly based on the type of bets you’re placing and on the country you’re placing bets in.
For example, most of North America will use a plus or minus sign on moneyline bets to tell you how much money you stand to win by betting on the favored team (-) or the underdog (+). Let’s say one team’s lines and odds are -200 and another team’s odds are +180. In this case, you would need to bet $200 on the favored team to win $100, but you would win $170 by betting $100 on the underdog.
While we won’t have time to go over all of the different lines and odds here, this is a good primer on how they work and why it’s not a guaranteed advantage to bet on the favored team.
5. Placing Moneyline Bets
Now that we’ve mentioned moneyline bets, let’s talk about what they actually are. Moneyline bets are a popular starting point for new NHL bettors because they’re straightforward and don’t involve as much technical understanding of the game.
To place a moneyline bet, you will choose the team that you think is going to win at the beginning of the game. You should base your choice on both your knowledge of the teams and their stats and on the lines and odds your bookie is providing. We often recommend simply enjoying any game involving your favorite team, rather than placing bets, because it’s easy to fall into the trap of picking your favorite when the odds aren’t in your favor.
6. Placing Puckline Bets
After learning how moneyline bets work and trying your hand at them for a season (or at least a few games), you may find that you want to move on to something a little more complicated. This is where puckline bets come into play, as they’re a good step up from moneyline bets. They’re not much more complicated, but they do involve more than just betting on a winner or loser.
The idea behind a puckline bet is that you bet on how many points a favored team will win by or a losing team will lose by. If you get the sense that the game is going to be a runaway game for the favored team, this is a good time to place a puckline bet. Because hockey games are low-scoring games, the bets usually involve winning by two or more (+1.5) goals or losing by a minimum of two goals (-1.5).
7. Placing Totals Bets
Totals bets are a lot like what the name suggests: you’re betting on the total points in a game, which is to say both team’s points added up. Most of the time, the starting line will be either 5.5 or 6.5, and you will bet on either the over (more than the starting line) or the under (less than the starting line).
How can you decide when to bet over and when to bet under? When you know that one or both teams have weak defensive lines, strong offensive lines, or a subpar goalie, it makes sense to bet on the over. If you know that one or both teams have a strong defensive line and/or an incredible goalie, it makes sense to bet on the under.
This is to say that if you can’t bring yourself to learn about every player on every team that you bet on, at least take the time to learn about goalies and backup goalies. The more you watch the NHL, the more you’ll start to realize that there are major disparities in the skill and success rates that different goalies bring to the table.
8. Placing Prop Bets
Maybe you’re less interested in who wins and who loses and for you, the most exciting action is when the puck is in play. If that’s the case, you may find that placing prop bets will make you the most excited about watching the NHL.
If you’re accustomed to betting on sports, you’re probably familiar with the idea of prop betting. In simple terms, a prop bet is on a specific event or outcome during the game, rather than the outcome of the entire game.
Examples include betting on goals scored by a specific player or in a specific period, betting on a tie game, or betting on who will score the first or final goal.
9. Placing Live Bets
Once you feel like you have a strong grasp on both the NHL and betting on NHL games, you might decide that you want to try your hand at live betting. Once again, the rules are in the name: live bets are placed while the game is happening, rather than in advance.
Live betting is a great way to put your hunches to the test. While you won’t see big bucks placing live bets on what seems to be an obvious outcome, you stand to make money when you start to sense a change in the tide. For example, if the underdog seems to be playing a fierce game or a key player gets injured during the game, it could be a good time to swoop in and place a live bet on the team no one had their eye on.
10. Betting With More Than Cash
Maybe you don’t want to just dip into your bank account to place your bets. If you’ve already got your assets built up elsewhere, you might be able to use them to place bets, win big, and make those winnings do more work for you.
How does this work? Are we talking about placing bets with gold bars or real estate? Absolutely not.
Instead, we’re talking about placing bets using Bitcoin. When you’ve already got a digital wallet, it’s easy to place NHL bets online and win your earnings in Bitcoin, which will just keep growing for you as time passes.
Where can you find places to bet on the NHL using Bitcoin? Head to https://www.bookmakersreview.com/best-sportsbooks/bitcoin/ to find the best Bitcoin sportsbooks out there today. Keep in mind that not all Bitcoin sportsbooks are created equally, so finding the best one is key if you want to win big and protect your asset.
11. Knowing When to Hold Back
If there’s one thing any experienced sports bettor can tell you, it’s that you need to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. In other words, you need to know when it’s a good time to place another bet and when it’s best to hang back.
Betting on NHL games can produce a pretty big thrill, especially the first time you win. However, no one wins every time they play, and the bigger the potential winnings, the bigger the risk.
If betting on sports is impacting your bank account in a bad way, take a break. Betting is fun, but not when the real-life consequences are bigger than they’re worth. If you find that you have trouble stepping away from the sportsbook, consider calling a hotline that can give you support.
Betting on NHL Games Can Up the Ante
Betting on NHL games is a great way to up the ante and put your skin in the game. The good news is that it’s easy to get started with moneyline bets that will help you to learn the ropes before you start getting into the more nuanced sportsbooks. Use these gambling tips to get started.
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