Although hockey isn’t as popular as football, basketball, or baseball, it still offers a complete 82 game schedule for wagering. It has the exact same amount of games and runs concurrent with the NBA season. With a large break between the Superbowl and Opening Day in baseball, hockey gives bettors a great opportunity to cash. Lots of people agree that the NHL playoffs are a very special and grueling two months of exciting hockey action in the quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
To understand these concepts let’s look at a typical hockey line:
Avalanche +145 PL +1.5 -220 5.5 Over
Blackhawks -155 PL -1.5 +180 5.5 Under
In the above example, the Colorado Avalanche are playing on the road against the Chicago Blackhawks. The most popular wagering type is the money line wager which is exactly like it is in baseball. Simply put, you are only predicting who will win the game. This includes overtime and shoot-outs during the regular season. The odds makers factors in a teams strengths and weaknesses, travel schedule, injuries, and current form to determine a line. Here, the oddsmakers thought that the Blackhawks should be a -155 favorite at home to Colorado (underdog or “dog”). If you think the Blackhawks get it done at home then you would need to wager $155 for every $100 you wish to win. Conversely, if you think the Avalanche can earn a victory, you would win $145 for every $100 wagered plus your original stake.
Another method of wagering hockey is called the puck line. This is exactly similar to the run line in baseball. You are predicting whether or not the favorite can win by 2 goals or more, or the underdog can stay within 2 goals. Goals are difficult to come by in the NHL and the typical game ends around 5 goals. Because goals are somewhat rare, the favorite usually gets a hefty positive return on investment to win by more than 1.5 goals. In our example the Blackhawks were hefty home favorites at -155. But if you want to wager that they will win by more than one goal instead of laying $155 to win $100, you can now risk $100 to win $180. On the other side if you just aren’t sure who will win but are pretty sure the underdog will keep it close you can take the 1.5 goals for a price. In our scenario you would need to wager $220 to win $100 that Colorado will win outright or lose by only 1 goal. Any other outcome would be a loss on that wager. Puck lines are tricky but can offer high reward or high risk. Often times an empty net goal in the waning seconds can hurt or help your wager.
Finally you can wager on the total goals scored by both teams in the contest including overtime. Add up both scores at the completion of the game and that is your total number. In the above example you can wager whether or not you think that more than 5.5 goals (over) will be scored or less than 5.5 goals (under).
Hockey is often a forgotten sport with so many other things going on. But a savvy bettor will look for unique opportunities to cash in and add hockey wagering to their betting arsenal.