A Guide to Online Betting for NHL
As one of the ‘Big 4’ US sports leagues, the NHL (National Hockey League) gets a lot of coverage from online sportsbooks. Betting on hockey is perhaps not quite as popular as football and basketball betting, but the huge number of avid ice hockey fans across North America means it is important that sportsbooks make NHL betting a priority. The NHL season runs almost parallel to the NBA season (October through to June), so sportsbooks will often combine betting promos on those two leagues. However, such is NHL’s importance, you will also find dedicated hockey betting offers on top-rated sportsbooks online.
Best Sites for NHL Betting
All major online sports betting sites will have NHL betting, although, as with all sports, some will do it better than others. It is, of course, important that every NHL game is covered, and the majority of sportsbooks do cover all 1,271 games of the NHL regular season and the entirety of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
However, the best NHL sportsbooks online will go a little further than offering a couple of betting lines for each game. Recommended NHL betting sites like 888sport, BetAmerica, SugarHouse and BetStars NJ will offer dozens of NHL betting lines for each game, as well as quality promos and live betting.
What Makes a Good NHL Bookmaker?
As touched upon above, great betting odds are but one part of being the best NHL bookmaker. Below we touch on some of the elements that can make a top sportsbook for hockey betting:
NHL Promotions – as one of the Big 4 sports, sportsbooks should offer betting promotions that are specifically focused on NHL. PointsBet and BetStars NJ are arguably two of the best options in this category, as both sportsbooks tend to have a raft of lucrative offers that can help your NHL wagering.
NHL Enhanced Odds – if you bet on NHL online, you should expect your sportsbook to offer some price promotions for daily NHL games and futures markets. Golden Lines from the Golden Nugget Sportsbook and Super Odds from BetAmerica are two of our favorite odds boost promos from major sportsbooks.
Betting Market Coverage – some bettors like to wager on all aspects of the game, and a good NHL sportsbook will have dozens of different betting lines for each game during the regular season and even more for the important playoff games. A strong selection will go well beyond the win/lose and totals markets, taking in stats-based props and individual player performance markets. FanDuel Sportsbook is a smart option if you are looking to go beyond the norm with your NHL betting.
Best NHL Sites for Live Betting
Many NHL bettors like to see a bit of the action before placing a bet. Indeed, in-play betting is becoming more prominent across all sports. There can be plenty of shifts in momentum during the approximately 2.5 hours it takes to complete an NHL game, so live bettors require a quality live betting platform that has reliable updates and that can facilitate fast bets. Yes, there are plenty of stoppages during an NHL game, but you want to also place bets when the puck is in play. 888sport’s live betting platform is a solid choice for NHL live betting, especially as its Instant Bet feature allows for a range of betting on rapid plays in the game.
Other factors that make for a quality live betting experience on NHL games include a wide range of betting markets. Some bookmakers do not go beyond the main markets (winning teams, total goals) in live NHL betting, but some sportsbooks offer a lot more, a fact that is appreciated by many NHL bettors as it allows them to place bets on, for example, individual players who are performing well. FanDuel Sportsbook is a good option here, as it has a nice variety of betting lines, while also providing bettors with stats, commentary and score updates.
Types of NHL Sports Bets
The best sportsbooks for NHL wagering will offer a range of betting markets that go beyond the obvious. Individual player props markets, such as player to score first or assist, are especially important in NHL betting as the games are (relatively) low scoring and comparable to soccer. Serious bettors also like to capitalize on stats-based props markets, with which they can use data to potentially gain an advantage in their NHL betting. The most common types of NHL bets are discussed below:
Moneyline – a bet on the winning team in a selected NHL game.
Puck Line – comparable to the run line in baseball or the spread in football, the puck line is a bet on the game where one team is given an advantage and another a disadvantage, with the odds adjusted accordingly. Normally, the puck line is set at +/-1.5 goals.
Over/Under – a bet on the combined scores from both teams being over under a specific number. For example, the game might have 5.5 goals as the over/under line, so six or more goals would constitute a winning bet for over and five or fewer would pay out for an under bet.
Grand Salami – a type of over/under bet which takes in the grand total of all NHL games played on a specific day.
In addition, these types of futures bets are popular with NHL fans:
Stanley Cup Finals winner – a wager on the winner of the NHL Championship.
Hart Memorial Trophy Winner – a wager on the player deemed most valuable to his team in the NHL.
Popular NHL Offers
Receiving betting offers for your favorite sport is going to help augment the betting experience –true whether you’re betting on the NHL or one of the other big leagues. We have mentioned some of the sportsbooks – BetStars, PointsBet – that have a strong showing of NHL betting promos, but below we discuss some of the popular betting offers and how they work:
Money Back Specials – this type of promo will refund you with an NHL free bet, normally on the condition that your wager loses, but when some other criteria have been fulfilled, such as losing in overtime.
Parlay Insurance – as above, parlay insurance usually means you will get your stake refunded as a free bet if one leg in your parlay bet is unsuccessful.
Parlay Boost – some bookmakers, including Resorts Casino Sports, will add a generous percentage to your winnings if your NHL parlay bet has been successful.
Early Payout – a promotion that will pay out as a winning bet before the game has finished if, for example, your selection has taken a 2-0 lead in the game. PointsBet is a good option for promotions like this.
NHL Tips and Strategies
Like all major sports, there are certain trends that we can use to help with our NHL wagering. For example, the eventual 2019 Stanley Cup Champion, St Louis Blues, had a poor record in overtime games compared to other top teams in the NHL last season. Elsewhere, a team like the Chicago Blackhawks, who had a poor season, were useful candidates for over/under betting, as the Blackhawks both scored and conceded more than the average NHL side.
Of course, you will find plenty of these types of stats discussed on hockey sites and general sports sites. Both CBS Sports and ESPN will usually publish daily tips for each hockey game, and you can also find decent information in the betting blogs on some sportsbooks, including 888sport and PointsBet. It’s also worth noting that while home advantage is important in hockey, it is statistically not as influential over the final result as the home advantage in football or basketball.
After the Vegas Golden Knights joined the NHL in 2017, the league now consists of 31 teams (further expansion is mooted), with 24 teams from the US and seven from Canada. The NHL season runs from early-October to June, when the Stanley Cup Finals take place. Each team plays 82 games in the regular season, with 16 teams (eight each from the Easter and Western Conferences) qualifying for the Playoffs.
In recent years, there have been lots of surprises in the NHL. The St Louis Blues were a surprise champion in 2019 (with some generous preseason odds), as was Las Vegas Golden Knight’s performance in its expansion season in 2017. While ice hockey is Canada’s national sport, its teams have gone on a remarkable barren run without tasting victory in Stanley Cup Finals – now 26 years and counting. However, the Montreal Canadiens have the most wins overall, with 24 Stanley Cup victories in its long history.
Some studies show that hockey has fallen behind the likes of soccer and boxing when it comes to popularity with US bettors. However, it’s still a hugely popular sport, and there is no reason that your online sportsbook should be ignoring NHL when it comes to quality betting promos and betting market coverage. It’s a difficult assertion to call any one bookmaker the best NHL sportsbook, as different elements are important to each bettor. We would, therefore, advise you to read through some of our detailed sportsbook guides before deciding on which NHL sportsbook to join.