How to Bet on Hockey

With the upcoming NHL season,  any new sports bettors out there should be eager to learn How to Bet on Hockey.

Hockey betting, and hockey in general for that matter, doesn’t receive nearly as much attention as the other major sports in America, (football, baseball, basketball) and it is for this exact reason that hockey betting can be very profitable. Since hockey is not as popular as some of the other major sports when it comes to betting, oddsmakers do not put as much time or effort into making NHL lines, and bettors don’t lay down as much cash on hockey betting as they do on the other major sports.

If an oddsmaker doesn’t put as much time or effort into the lines, it usually means you will find errors in the lines, or lines you feel are incorrect; say you feel an underdog should be the favorite or the posted total is WAY OFF. You may experience this far more often in hockey betting than betting any other sport, and this may therefore lead to you placing more underdog wagers and winning, lowering the win percentage you must obtain to have a profitable season.

Below are the types of bets you can make on a typical hockey game.

how to bet on hockey

How to Bet on Hockey: Money Line

The hockey money line is the exact same as any other money line bet for any other sport: you are simply picking one team to win the match, straight up, with no points added or subtracted. It doesn’t get any easier than this.

Puck Line

Puck line hockey betting is where things get interesting. A “Puck Line” is actually a spread, for hockey!

The standard puck line for any hockey game is 1.5 points. The favorite will have 1.5 points subtracted from their total score, and the underdog will have 1.5 points added to their total score. Since regular season NHL games now must go to a shootout after one overtime period, a bettor will know whether their puck line wager will win or lose by the end of regulation.
Example: Toronto -1.5     Montreal +1.5. If the game ends in regulation, tied at “2-2″ for example, any wagers on Toronto -1.5 would lose at this point, and any wager on Montreal +1.5 will win! Why? Well the answer is very simple. Only 1 extra goal can be scored in overtime in NHL hockey, no matter if the game continues all the way to a shootout or ends during the OT period. For that reason, if Toronto WON the game, they win by “1″, and cannot cover their puck line of -1.5, losing by 0.5 points for puck line purposes. Since Montreal only lost by “1″ on the scoreboard, a puck line wager on Montreal wins, because they have 1.5 points added to their score, and although they lost in overtime by 1 point, they still beat Toronto by 0.5 points, cashing a puck line bet.

Any favorite (-1.5) must win by 2 or more goals, and any underdog (+1.5) must lose by no more than 1 goal.

 Hockey Totals

Hockey totals are generally set between 5 and 6.5 points. You will usually see a total of 5.5 for a regular season game between two even opponenets. Totals tend to drop to “5″ for two teams that don’t have much offensive power and focus more on defense. If two offensive power houses are matching up, you may see a total of 6 or even 6.5 (this doesn’t happen often).

Typically, totals of 4.5 and 6.5 are seen only during the playoffs. If two conservative teams match-up in a series and have a couple games of only 2, or 3 combined points, the total for the next game in the series may be set as low as 4 or 4.5, and if two offensive power houses (like the PIT/PHI series of ’12) match up and have double-digit totals for almost every game in the series, the oddsmaker will move the line up to 6, 6.5, or even 7 points.

1st Period Betting

 Most major sports books offer the ability to place a wager on the outcome of the first period. You may be able to place a wager on a money line, puck line, or total of the first period’s action.

Generally, a puck line will drop to only 0.5 for one period, and the total will usually be over or under 1.5 points.

 The Grand Salami

The grand salami is a totals wager consisting of all of the games on board for a particular day. The sports book sets a total for the day’s games, and you place one wager either over or under the total of the “grand salami”.


Now that you know how to bet on hockey, head over to our Free NHL Picks section, get some free picks and start placing some wagers!