If you like to bet on NHL games, or hockey games in other leagues around the world, the good news is that you don’t have to live near a betting shop or travel to Las Vegas or some other major gambling jurisdiction. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you can place safe and legal wagers at hockey betting sites.
Because of different laws around the world, some people may be restricted from placing bets on hockey on the Web. I’m not a legal professional and nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice. All I can tell you is that if you want to make sure you’re obeying the law when wagering at hockey betting sites, consult your country’s penal code or talk to a lawyer.
Alright, now that we’re done with the boring legal stuff, let’s dig into the info on hockey betting sites.
Do All Sports Betting Sites Offer NHL Bets?
Any sportsbook worth doing business with is going to offer NHL bets as well as wagering on college hockey and other professional hockey leagues around the world. Hockey has a huge following both in America and around the world, and if you find an online book that doesn’t accept NHL bets, they’re probably not a good enough site to waste your time on.
How to Choose a Hockey Betting Site
No one can tell you how to pick a site to place your hockey bets. If you search for the phrase “NHL betting sites” or “hockey sportsbooks,” you’ll end up with millions of links, most of them affiliate sites who are paid to send traffic to different sportsbooks.
Instead of getting sold on a site from some affiliate, do your own homework. Look for a betting site that offers the kinds of wagers you like to make, a variety of betting options, live game streaming, and a promotional setup that could help you pad your bankroll with a little extra cash.
Don’t forget to make sure you’re doing business with a legitimate gambling Web site. Look for certification by a third-party auditor, regulation information, and (maybe most important of all) contact a site’s customer service department. If you can’t reach customer service or they aren’t nice to you on the phone, move along. Good customer service is a hallmark of a good hockey betting site.
Best Internet Sportsbook for Hockey Betting
There are dozens of good Internet books that let you make hockey bets. I’m not going to sit here and try to tell you which site is the best Internet hockey wagering website, or even tell you which sites I use. Just stick to your gut feeling, find a site that’s attractive and has the features you’re looking for, and plug a few bucks into your player account. After you place a few bets, decide if you like the book or not, and either stick around to make more bets or do some more sportsbook shopping. With so many options available, there’s no reason to continue doing business with a hockey wagering site that you don’t like.
How Online Hockey Betting Works
When my friends who have never bet on hockey before want to get in on the action, I tell them that hockey wagers are very similar to baseball betting. Since many of my friends are gamblers, and baseball fans, they understand hockey wagering better if I compare it to baseball wagers.
Hockey and baseball betting work similarly because neither sport usually involves gambling with a point spread like you see in football or basketball. Hockey betting works based on the money line and a few minor variations on that line.
Betting on hockey requires some degree of familiarity with money line handicapping and any knowledge or experience you have with a point spread won’t serve you well at all. Here’s a breakdown of the most common ways that hockey betting works.
Money Line Bets
These are the most common types of hockey wagers. With money line bets, one team is declared the favorite while the other is the underdog. The money line for the team that the book decides is the favorite is expressed as a negative number, always less than -100. Let’s say a money line shows a team’s name with the number “-160? next to it. That means that team is the favorite, and that you’d need to bet $160 to earn $100 in winnings.
Underdogs are expressed as a positive number in money lines, always greater than 100. Let’s say a sportsbook shows a team name with the number “+140? next to it. That means that team is the underdog, and that if you wagered $100 for them to win, you’d earn a $140 payoff, plus your original $100 bet, for a total for $240.
Regulation Only Bets
If you’d rather wager on the first three periods of the game, the time “in regulation” only, not counting overtime, you can sometimes place Regulation Only bets, usually on a point spread of half a goal at a time. The favorited team will have a -0.5 spread, meaning that if the game is tied at the end of the third period, a wager on the favorite is a losing bet.
First Periods Bets
A First Period bet is really a modified exotic wager, where you bet on the outcome of the first period only rather than the entire match. The favorite will be listed as a -0.5 spread, meaning if the teams are tied after the first period, a wager on the underdog is a winner. I’ve only ever placed a First Period bet when I know that an underdog team is quick to score out of the gate, or when I know that a team that’s considered a favorite tends to score later in the game.
Hockey Prop Bets
Prop bets, also known as exotic bets, are available for all sports that people wager on online or in land based books. Exotic bets are wagers placed on any in-game event or feature of a professional hockey game that doesn’t have to do with the overall score or outcome. Prop bets in hockey range from the bizarre (how long it will take for the Canadian national anthem to play) to the mundane (how many times a team will substitute a position), and these bets are usually the domain of the hardcore gambler. I don’t place a lot of exotic bets, mostly because I don’t have a big gambling bankroll and I tend to stick to the more traditional wagers described above.
How To Bet on Hockey on the Internet
The National Hockey League is only the fourth most popular of all the major sports in the US, but its fans are unusually rabid in their appreciation of the sport. Sportsbooks all over the world and on the Internet offer NHL betting. Bettors who don’t live near a legal sportsbook (such as Americans who aren’t in Las Vegas or Atlantic City) turn to the Web to place wagers on their favorite hockey games.
Betting hockey online is especially smart BECAUSE hockey is not as familiar to oddsmakers as sports like football and basketball. Bookies just don’t waste a lot of energy creating NHL odds, since they don’t see as much NHL action as they do on the NBA or major league baseball.
How to Place Internet Hockey Bets
You’ll need to understand what a money line is before you start to place hockey wagers online.
Most NHL betting on the Internet involves a money line, though you’ll sometimes see odds listed as “puck lines” and “totals.” Another hockey bet exists that you won’t find on other sports–some Web-based books offer a bet called the “Grand Salami,” which is a wager on the combined total of all NHL games played on a given day.
All Internet sportsbook use a 20-cent line on NHL wagers; the term 20-cents refers to the difference in the odds between the favorite and the underdog. In some cases, however, the odds on an overwhelming favorite will be much higher than the standard $0.20.
Here’s an example of what odds for a standard NHL game will look like:
To interpret that for you, should you place a wager on Vancouver to win, you’ll need to risk $130 to win $100, or $1.30 for each $1 of winnings. A bet on the NY Rangers requires a gamble of $100 to win $110, or a return of $1.10 on each $1 wagered. Notice the twenty cent difference? That’s where the 20-cent money line standard applies.
However, if one team is heavily-favored, you may see a line that looks more like this:
In this case, a $100 gamble on Dallas will result in a $250 payout, while Detroit bettors will need to wager $3 for every $1 they want to win.
What’s a Puck Line?
The puck line in NHL betting is similar to run totals betting in baseball. If you want to be the puck line, you can wager on either 1.5 goals for the favored team or take 1.5 goals for the underdog.
There’s also a bet at some online hockey gambling sites called the totals bet. This is a wager based on the total number of goals scored in a hockey game. The Internet sportsbook you do business with will put up a number, generally between 5 and 6.5, and you can bet if the number of goals will be higher (an over bet) or lower (an under bet) than the total posted.
What’s the Grand Salami?
The Grand Salami is a favorite bet among hockey fans, unique to the sport of hockey. Betting on The Grand Salami is like having a vested interest in each and every NHL game on a particular day for the price of a single wager.
Internet sportsbooks post a total number of goals scored in all of the NHL games in a given day, and bettors wager either over or under that total. Like with standard totals bets, you win or lose your wager based on the final scores of all the NHL games for that 24 hour period.