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NHL Bets Explained

NHL Bets Explained

Betting on the NHL has grown in popularity with each passing season. It adds an immeasurable level of excitement to one of North America’s most electric sports. Once you commit to your bets, you instantaneously become highly invested in games you might not otherwise take a keen interest in. Nothing compares to the thrill and nail-biting energy of betting on the NHL.

It’s easy, while intoxicated by the thrill of the chase, to follow your instincts and bet with your gut. And while there is a time and place to let your gut do the talking, it’s crucial to do your homework and know precisely which bet types are most advantageous. Unless you’re blessed with the ability to unerringly conjure up dumb luck, you’ll want to base your betting decisions on expert advice, consequential statistics and tried and tested strategies. delves into all-things NHL betting, discussing the NHL puck line, parlays, futures grand salamis and other terms, while also highlighting common mistakes associated with NHL betting.

Betting on NHL

Like any sport, there are numerous ways to bet on the NHL. You can wager on the moneyline, the most popular NHL bet type, the over/under or the spread, known in NHL circles as the puck line.

While not yet as popular as the moneyline, puck line betting is gradually gaining momentum. If utilized strategically, the puck line can be both profitable and lucrative, and, if you play your cards right, will become your favourite betting method. offers a $10 free NHL bet every Wednesday, providing precisely the push you’ll need to test the puck line waters. (Terms & Conditions Apply)

Puck Line Betting

More commonly known as spread or handicap betting, playing the puck line offers numerous appealing characteristics. Puck line was created by bookmakers to even the odds of hockey games, essentially giving bettors the option of backing both teams with a relatively even chance of winning.

Difference Between Moneyline and Puck Line

You’re purely picking the winner in moneyline bets. It doesn’t matter whether a team wins or loses by multiple goals in moneyline wagers. While puck line betting has a moneyline component, success depends on whether the team you backed covers the spread.

How the Puck Line Works

The fundamental rules of playing the puck line are pretty straightforward: Unlike other sports where the spread varies depending on the teams involved, the hockey spread is usually set at either – 1.5 or + 1.5.

Favourites, who need to win by two goals to cover the spread, are handicapped and start the game down by 1.5 goals on the betting line, denoted by -1.5.

Think of it this way: in a 100-metre race between a tortoise and a hare, the hare is obviously favoured to win, so the tortoise is given a 20 metre head start. It’s up to the hare, with its breakneck speed, to make up the deficit.

Underdogs on the other hand are provided a 1.5 goal advantage (denoted by +1.5) prior to opening faceoff. To win the bet, underdogs simply cannot lose by more than one goal. They can win by any amount or lose by one. Backing the underdog is known as betting against the spread.

What Happens if the Game Goes to Overtime?

If the game you wager on is level after three periods, your bet is already decided. If you backed the favourite, because the favourite must win by two goals or more, you’ve lost. And if you backed the underdog, as the underdog pays out with a win or in the event of a one-goal loss, your bet is a winner.

When to Wager on the Puck Line

Playing the puck line provides the opportunity to earn more lucrative returns when backing heavy favourites. As it’s harder to win by two or more, oddsmakers provide bettors more favourable odds when backing juggernauts.

For example, when the Seattle Kraken travelled to Las Vegas on opening night of the 2021-2022 NHL season, the moneyline odds on were as follows:

SEA Kraken +200

Vegas Golden Knights -260

You would have to wager $260 for a $100 return if you backed the heavily favoured Golden Knights.

Now let’s take a look at the puck line odds for the same game:

SEA Kraken (+1.5) -127

Vegas Golden Knights (-1.5) +100

If you backed the Golden Knights, you would earn a return of $100 on a $100 bet. Of course you would need the Golden Knights to win the game by two or more goals.

Playing the puck line allows bettors the opportunity, if you believe the underdog will keep the game close and not lose by more than a goal, to win a higher percentage of underdog bets. It’s also hugely advantageous to play the puck line if you have the inside track on who is going to start between the pipes. Goaltenders play a disproportionately pivotal role in deciding the outcome of NHL games, so if you know early who is starting, lock in your wager on before oddsmakers have a chance to adjust the game lines. recommends paying particular attention to teams playing in the second of back-to-back games. If they started their No. 1 goaltender in the first game, odds are they’ll go to the backup for Game #2. And vice versa if they decide to start Game #1 with their backup between the pipes.


Parlay betting can be incredibly profitable and is the best way to maximize your potential winnings. However, the mouth-watering rewards are always offset by the increased risk.

Instead of placing individual wagers on the money line, puck line or over/under, you can make a combination of bets on each wager type or multiple bets within a single bet type. Each wager on your parlay bet are dependent of each other. So if you lose one of your bets, you lose them all. Each bet within a parlay bet is referred to as a leg.

Parlay betting is the optimal way to bet on a string of favourites within a single bet. Yes, you must obtain the desirable result on all of your individual bets to win your parlay, but think of the massive return on investment.

The best thing about parlays, aside from the excitement of seeing your string of bets triumph, is the odds (in the decimal system) from each individual wager within the same parlay are multiplied. makes parlay betting a cinch. Just select multiple wagers and watch the potential winnings on your betting slip exponentially grow!

Common NHL Betting Terms

Futures Betting

Wagering on an event that takes place in the future, like the Stanley Cup Final, Western and Eastern Conference champion and individual honours, including the Art Ross and Vezina.

Grand Salami

Predict the total amount of goals via an over/under bet from every game in the NHL on any given night and you have yourself a Grand Salami wager.

Live Betting

Betting on a game while in progress. Be sure to monitor closely the betting lines, as they move fluidly.

Period Betting

Betting on the result of a period and not the full game.

Alternate Lines

Different betting lines from the customary moneyline, puck line and over/under, usually associated with inflated odds. Puck line odds might show -2.5 compared to the customary -1.5.

Exotic Wagers

Any bet that isn’t a straight bet or parlay.


Another way to refer to the favourite.

Sharp Money

An indication of who the experts are betting on is referred to as sharp money. The smart money is on the Vancouver Canucks if a plethora of professional bettors back them.

Hedge Betting

Some bettors, when unsure about their chances of winning a bet, will place a second wager against the original, guaranteeing they win at least one.


If you believe you have a distinct advantage on a wager you made, you have an “edge.”


The total amount of money you have at your disposal to wager with.

Line Movements

When odds on a particular game change, possibly due to the injury of a marquee player or something else that happens of a pivotal nature.


When a team you select on the puck line beats the betting line, regardless of whether the favourite or underdog wins.

Against the Spread

Instead of referencing wins and losses, a team’s stock is based on their record against the puck line.

Common NHL Betting Mistakes

Not Checking Lineups

This might seem as obvious as not leaving the house without wearing pants, but you’d be surprised how many people place wagers without first checking the lineup of both teams. It’s as important to thoroughly scan the opponent’s lineup as it is the team you’re wagering on. highly recommends having your finger on the lineup pulse. You might, if you catch an omission or addition to the lineup early enough, be able to lock in your bet before the sportsbooks get wind of it and alter the betting line.

Pay Attention To Meaningless Stats

No sports betting guru will tell you stats don’t matter. That’s as nonsensical as blindly betting on your favourite team purely based on bias and emotional attachment. Does it really matter if a team has performed well on each Dec. 19 of the past three seasons? Absolutely not.

That type of stat should never impact your decision. Instead pay particularly attention to Corsi or Fenwick, both of which focus on a team’s shots for and against. You’ll also want to focus on a team’s powerplay and penalty killing efficiency, as special teams, especially in the regular season, are often the difference between winning and losing.

Not Paying Attention To Schedules

Hockey players, like any athletes, are human beings. Sometimes we like to think of them as otherworldly specimens who never suffer from fatigue, but that only applies to Will Smith in basically any of his movies. Take note of a team’s schedule and find out when they go through relentless, gruelling patches. Source a team in the midst of a long home streak who is playing against a side playing their third away game in four nights. The more you know about a team’s schedule, the better insight you’ll have on how they’ll perform in certain scenarios.

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