NHL Betting Tips for Beginners

Nikita Kucherov #86 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against Scott Mayfield #24 of the New York Islanders. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/AFP

The Tampa Bay Lightning just wrapped up their second consecutive Stanley Cup and the offseason has just begun in the world of hockey. But, that doesn’t mean it’s time to forget about things for a few months. It’s time to start sharpening our skates for next season. Hockey can be a complex sport to understand and wager on, but fear not, friends, here are some tips on the best ways to bet on the NHL.


Betting on the moneyline is the simplest bet available in the world of hockey. You are simply picking a winner. That team can win by one goal or ten goals, it doesn’t matter. That team can win the game in regulation, overtime or in a shootout and it does not matter for the purposes of your bet. If your team ends with more goals you win.

The issue with moneylines is that as the season goes on and we get a better feel for what teams are, the lines will be adjusted accordingly. For instance this past season, you rarely got a chance to bet the Lightning at below -200. They were always that heavy of a favorite and the line showed it. Now, where there is value on the moneyline is if you think you have an underdog that can win, that is a bet that will cash at a plus money value.

Puck Lines

Those of us who bet on baseball understand this line. In baseball it’s called the run line, in hockey, it’s the puck line. It means you are laying a goal and a half to the underdog team.

This is an important tool in the hockey bettors’ toolbox because as the year goes on betting on the moneyline becomes really tricky. As we start to figure out who the good teams are, and who the bad teams are, the money lines can get astronomically high. You can’t bet a favorite at -330, but that puck line at -115 or so?

Yes, you can bet that all day long. Betting the puck line allows you to still bet good teams against bad teams and not lay an unbearable amount of juice. And when betting the puck line, you also always have the hope of an empty net goal to get you over the hump.

The Three-Way Line

This is one where our soccer friends will be helpful because they are very familiar with this one. The three-way line takes overtime out of the equation. You can bet on the favorite to win, the underdog to win or a draw. Any of those results have to happen within the 60-minute confines of regulation. If the game goes to overtime, only those betting draw would win.

Now, that is a bet I have never actually placed, but I have bet teams on the three-way line many, many times with OddsTrader. This is a bet you make if you like the favorite, want to cut the juice, but think it could be a close game.

Making this bet on a favorite will likely save you between fifty and sixty cents of juice. It is an effective way to save on the juice of betting a favorite without laying the goal and a half of the puck line


This is always the mainstay way to bet the NHL when moneylines get out of control. First, it’s important to note that totals have risen fairly dramatically in the last few years. It is commonplace to see totals of 6.5 on the board today, whereas a few years ago, that would have been astronomical.

Second, it’s a good idea to isolate your teams and matchups that tilt a certain way. We know that Toronto and Colorado are solid teams to play overs with because of their dynamic offenses that are capable of scoring at any time. However, it is also worth noting that some totals fall a bit as the season progresses and teams get more familiar with each other.

No matter what side of the total you are on when placing a bet, you are going to get generally pretty strong odds. Totals usually fall pretty close to the standard -110.

OddsTrader.com is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

Site Footer