The National Hockey League (NHL), is the biggest draw for the ice hockey betting community and there is plenty of interest from a Canadian point of view. Teams from cities across the United States take part and they are joined by sides such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks.
Interest in betting lines is higher than ever before so what do you need to know if you’re looking to get involved?
NHL Betting Tips
When we start out on our betting journey we’re all looking for advice that can help us to turn a profit. It’s tempting to turn to tipsters but before we get to that stage, we should look at the basic toolbox needed to bet on any sport – in this case NHL.
It all starts with your own research into form and stats of the two teams involved. Recent results are usually good indicators as to future performances and we also want to consider head to heads. These are the outcomes of previous games between those two teams and ice hockey, with its packed schedule, should offer plenty of relevant statistics.
Beyond that obvious point, the NHL has some specific things to consider. It’s not a unique sport but there are certain characteristics that make it stand out from most. Firstly, the National Hockey League is very gruelling with a packed calendar of games leading to a tough travelling schedule across most of North America,
Injuries can also play a significant part in ice hockey and that means we are looking at strength in depth. A team with a deep roster of high quality players will tend to win out over a patched up squad on the opposite side of the ice. Of course, it also means that you should be checking up on injury news in the lead up to the match in question.
The travel schedule is also important and some teams respond better than others to a long trip. Once again, research is key here in determining those statistics and identifying results in the immediate aftermath of those extensive journeys.
One unusual trend involves games that are shown live on national TV. It may be hard to fathom why but some hockey teams seem to raise their game when showcased live while others will wilt in front of the TV cameras.
Look out too for teams that have a good record in overtime: A tie at the end of the regular period will also see some sides lift their game while others can be demoralised at playing on. That type of analysis can be useful in a tight betting market where the two sides look to be evenly matched.
Those are some key tips to follow for NHL betting: You can follow the tipsters but if you are prepared to do that research on your own, it can be your key to making profits on a regular basis.
NHL Betting Odds
When taking a punt on NHL betting lines odds play a part in a number of ways: Firstly, customers can choose how they want to see them presented. For players in Canada, that’s likely to mean opting for a default of American odds but there are the alternatives of fractional or decimal.
The best sportsbooks will let their account holders choose between those three options and we’ll come on to a list of best NHL bookmakers very shortly.
Odds are also important in regards to value for money: Whether you’re a novice bettor or an experienced pro, we should be looking for a bookmaker who offers competitive odds on all hockey across the world.
One way to check this is to look at the odds comparison sites and check prices as they sit side by side. This is a quick approach but those sites only tend to showcase the bigger brands. Some of the recommended sportsbooks that we mention below won’t appear on these sites at all so there is some manual work involved. Don’t worry though as it is a quick process and you would only need to check 3-4 match result lines to get an idea of value. No sportsbook is going to be at the top of the tree with the best odds every time so a quick check of those 3-4 matches should be enough.
NHL Betting Lines
In NHL as in all sports, a line is simply a type of bet that you can place in a game. In other parts of the world it’s referred to as a market but it all means the same thing.
The most obvious line bet is on the match result which is the simplest to understand and the place where most bettors like to start. This is betting in its basic form as we are just speculating on a win for either side. There is no option for the tie in ice hockey and in the event of overtime, the bet stays open until the winner is decided.
Hockey and the NHL, like all sports and divisions, offer possibilities for a set of prop bets. These are referred to as side bets in some parts of the world and they relate to any bet that doesn’t necessarily have an outcome on the match result. An example of this might be total goals where both teams contribute to the bet. Punters might bet on over 6.5 goals and it doesn’t matter who wins the game – as long as that threshold is reached then the bettor takes a profit.
The total goals option is a good example of a betting line that most sportsbooks get involved with but there are lots more. Lines can be issued for individual players including first and anytime scorer. As the title suggests, we are looking for the player who will score the first goal in the match or, you can get lower odds on a goal at any stage during the game.
Overall, this is a simple sport with fewer prop bets than most: That total goals line can be extended to include options for both teams. So, as well as backing the combined total in a match between the Canucks and the Canadiens, it’s also possible to bet on the total for one, or both sides.
Outside of the lines we’ve covered, there are only the most obscure specials that might come in towards the end of the Stanley Cup campaign. It’s a simple sport and that simplicity is one of the reasons why betting on the NHL is so popular.
It is also possible to make some long term, outright bets in NHL. At the start of a new season, line bets for the winner of the Stanley Cup will be published and those options will remain open for the rest of the campaign. It is also possible to find lines for the winners of each conference and also for individual awards such as the Art Ross Trophy.
Whatever market you’re looking to get involved in, research is the key once again and while nothing is ever guaranteed in NHL betting, that hard work is the best way to try to unlock a profit.
NHL Betting Sites
We’ve discovered some useful tips and the betting lines that are associated with NHL but it’s also important to identify the right sportsbooks. The choice for Canadians is limited due to government rules and regulations but when you do find a sportsbook that is open here, it’s vital to make sure they are suitable.
Here are our best recommendations:
They like to describe themselves as Canada’s online sportsbook so, any Canadian looking to take a bet on the NHL, might want to take a look at Sports Interaction first. They are registered and based in the country and therefore offer specific benefits for Canadians such as funding by iDebit and Instadebit while customers can also play using $ CAD.
That accessibility is great but Sports Interaction back it up with plenty of substance. There are great odds here that stack up strongly against the rest of the industry and there are more markets than most bookies for NHL and other major hockey leagues and competitions.
They are widely known as the kings of in-play betting but bet365 deserve some consideration in the ante post markets. They have worked hard to move into tricky territories such as Canada but once again, there is more to offer beyond the mere question of accessibility.
The choice of betting lines is at least as wide as that offered by Sport Interaction. Prices are hot on NHL games and bet365 often get those odds up ahead of the rest of the industry meaning that you’re not waiting around to place a bet.
Spin Palace Sports
As the name might suggest, Spin Palace Sports have built up a strong reputation for their casino but don’t be put off. Their sportsbook is a serious part of the operation and there are a number of reasons to add them to your portfolio.
Spin Palace are a European bookmaker who accept Canadian customers and they have a big focus on North American Sports. They are one of only a few operators with lines for Canadian football while for hockey, NHL enjoys extensive coverage. Prices are strong but with 12 or more lines available on any game, it’s the choice that makes Spin Palace Sports really stand out.
Betrally are another bookmaker with a focus on North America and Canada residents can access it from across the country. The emphasis here is on value with some of the best prices for any NHL game in Canada or the US.
You may not see quite as many prop lines here but if you just want great odds on the match result, Betrally is one of the first places to check out.