Get ready for hockey season! OddsTrader helps you keep up with live NHL odds for every game. If you’re new to sports betting, you can learn about moneylines, props, and futures odds in our overview of how to read NHL odds. These stats-driven computer picks can also help you get started.
Reading NHL odds for the first time can sometimes feel like trying to understand a different language. For a new bettor, reading and understanding NHL games and their respective odds may even feel impossible, but getting familiar with them is a simple process.
We’ll teach you how to bet on hockey games, how to properly analyze NHL betting odds, dive into hockey’s betting language, increase your chances of winning your bets and ultimately grow your bankroll.
By the end of this guide, if you don’t feel confident in making the right picks, our NHL computer picks page will provide additional guidance that can also help you significantly boost your profits. Before you place your first NHL bet, let’s go over what the hockey gambling experts already know.
NHL odds are most commonly expressed in the American odds format. Some sportsbooks will offer hockey lines using decimal odds or fractional odds. We break down the different formats below.
American odds are the most popular format used by top sportsbooks in North America. Odds start with either a plus (+) or minus (-) sign and are always a whole number (-485, -180, +130, +210, etc.)
The odds indicate how much you need to bet, which team is the favorite and which is the underdog.
To calculate the payout for odds of -225, just use the following formula: Potential Payout = (Stake / Value of Odds) + Stake.
Since in negative numbers the value of the odds tells you how much you need to wager to win $100, in this scenario we need to risk $225 to win $100.
The positive odds are very easy to calculate and represent how much you’ll win if you bet $100. By placing a $100 wager on odds of +147, we win $147. To calculate the payout for positive odds, simply use the following formula: Potential Payout = (Stake x Odds) + Stake.
Decimal odds are the most common format used by European sportsbooks. As the name implies, they are decimal numbers and always positive.
Below is the formula for calculating the return and profit for decimal odds of 2.40. For simplicity, we will say you bet $100.
So, what’s the difference between profit and return?
Used primarily in Ireland and the United Kingdom, fractions represent the profit you would receive for a successful bet. The following is the formula for calculating the profit for the fractional odds of 3/2 or +150 in American odds.
Profit = (Stake x Numerator) / Denominator
Let’s say you are betting $100. Plugging these values into the formula, we get:
Profit = ($100 x 3) / 2 = $150
So, with fractional odds of 3/2 or +150 in American odds, and a $100 stake, the potential profit would be $150.
The leading online sportsbooks offer 100+ NHL betting options in an individual hockey game. Commonly placed NHL bets include the following:
A moneyline wager is the most popular bet on an NHL game. It is simply a prediction of which team will win the game. The sportsbook sets moneyline odds which determines the favorite and underdog. This is represented in the below example:
In this example, the New York Rangers are the favorite. A $135 wager on the Rangers returns $100 in profit if the Rangers win the game. The Pittsburgh Penguins are the underdog, and every $100 wagered returns $125 in profit if the Penguins win the game.
A 60-minute or 3-way moneyline bet in hockey includes an option for a draw (a tie after the regulation period ends). This is an advantageous wager to make if you have discounted the possibility of a game going to overtime as the moneyline on both teams pays out more attractive odds.
A puck line bet is essentially a point spread in hockey. The standard puck line offered by sportsbooks is a 1.5 goal spread – meaning that your options are to predict that the favorite team wins the game by two goals or the underdog achieves victory by scoring two goals. For example:
To successfully bet on the Pittsburgh Penguins at odds of +1½ -250 means they would need to lose the game by no more than a single goal or win the game by a margin of two goals or more.
To successfully bet on the New York Rangers at odds of +1½ +200 means the Rangers need to win the game by at least two goals or more.
As with other sports, you can place a bet predicting the total number of goals scored in the game. For example:
If you place a $100 totals bet on over 5½ goals scored in the game, you will receive $110 in profit at SBK. Six goals must be scored for this bet to receive a payout. This is an ideal wager to make if you believe both teams will combine for at least six goals.
A $133 wager must be placed to win $100 for under 5½ goals to be scored. Alternatively, you can wager $100 and receive $75.18 in profit. Unders should be wagered when you believe both teams will struggle to reach the combined total.
Bettors can wager on the result of the first, second and third periods. This is the same type of wager as a quarter bet in other sports. For example:
In the above example, the Pittsburgh Penguins are the favorite to win the first period. They need to win by any amount of goals. A $120 wager returns $100 in profit. The bet would be no action and returned if the first period ends scoreless.
A Grand Salami bet is a wager on the total number of goals scored for all of the games scheduled on a given day. This is a common wager with MLB and is also popular in NHL. This bet can be particularly lucrative given that it entails wagering on multiple games.
NHL prop bets provide an exciting way to get action throughout the game. Say you feel strongly that a certain player will light up the scoreboard with a hat trick (scoring 3 goals), or maybe you think that there will be no score in the first period. Regardless, there is an abundance of prop bets to choose from for each game. Here are some of the most common NHL prop bets.
Player prop bets are focused on individual performance. Bets can be placed on the total goals, shots, penalties, etc. Here are some common examples of NHL prop bets accepted by sportsbooks.
Game props can be categorized as follows:
Futures bets are events that are settled in the future. Futures betting allows you to wager on things such as the winner of the NHL Stanley Cup or who will win their divisional conference. This bet type is popular as it gives bettors action all year long on upcoming games, during the regular season and postseason. Sportsbooks accept NHL futures odds on several betting markets, including:
Betting odds fluctuate as the season unfolds on the NHL Stanley Cup market. Conference and division features are taken off the board by sportsbooks once the season begins.
There are plenty of available alternative betting lines for hockey fans. We explore some of the other market options below.
A parlay bet allows you to combine multiple games into one wager for an increased payout. For example, let’s say the below four bets were combined into one parlay wager:
Combining each of the four bets into a parlay with a $100 wager results in a win of $985.80. This gives a bettor more bang for their buckand stretches their stake further than wagering $100 on each of the individual games. This is a popular wager for bettors that prefer big returns for small amounts risked.
However, a single loss in any of the four games means the parlay loses. Alternative options and popular markets include:
NHL betting sites accept live wagers on games after they have started. This can be particularly useful if your team gets off to a bad start and you want to bet on the other side. Odds provided by online sports betting sites are refreshed throughout the game on all live markets – including moneylines, puck lines, total points lines, etc.
Live bets are accepted by sportsbooks until the game ends. Betting with emotion is not advisable during in-play wagering, instead, it is better to use a proper strategy to hedge if certain scenarios unfold.
Let’s say the Boston Bruins are playing the New York Rangers and the pre-game odds were:
In the second period, the Boston Bruins have taken a 2-0 lead and the hockey odds have adjusted from -120 pregame to -400 live.
This number indicates the point spread or handicap that a sportsbook has assigned to a hockey team. When a team has a -1.5 point spread, it means that they are the favorite and need to win the game by at least two goals for a bet to be successful.
The best NHL betting sites include FanDuel, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and BetMGM. If you are looking for a broad variety of bets and useful features, Fanduel is a great option, while Caesars Sportsbook is the best for odds boosts and bonuses.
The final result of NHL games will never end in a tie, as this was changed some years ago. Instead, if a game is a draw when the time is up, teams will play overtime to settle the score.
Double chance bets placed on the NHL cover two out of three potential outcomes of a game with a single wager.