NHL Hockey struggles each year to gain new viewership and compete against the higher level and more popular sports such as NFL, NBA and MLB. In the equation of popularity, NHL has and will most likely always fall at the bottom of the top major sports ladder. One big difference between the major sports is hockey has one of the strongest and loyal following among their fans.
Hockey fans are die-hard fans that support their favorite teams, win or lose. Within this loyal group of fans, there is large portion that enjoy hockey gambling. Hockey betting may not be as popular but it can be much more profitable and provide players with even odds due to the limited amount of people actually betting on the sport.
For those fans that like to bet on hockey, there is a plethora of options that are available at many of the best NHL betting sites. NHL betting and finding an NHL sportsbook is not as easy as some of the other sports because there is a different set of knowledge that is needed not only with betting, but initially when finding a NHL betting site.
In this article, we will focus mainly on the basics of how to bet on hockey and what to look for when finding the best NHL betting offshore sportsbook and those to avoid when doing the research.
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How to Bet on Hockey – The Basics
More coverage. More bets. More accurate odds. This is what sports bettors want and hockey has them now more than ever. These are key to the basics of betting hockey. In order to make good bets worth our time and money we need to know which bets to make and what strategy to use. Let’s look at the best plays you can make and when to make them to create a simple yet effective hockey betting guide.
Conservative betting is your best option when learning to bet on hockey. The odds are never good enough to take big swings and hit a few long odd games like in other sports. That said, the value in hockey betting is in the fact that the odds don’t make any team a huge favorite at the same time. A favorite in hockey on the moneyline is -300 tops. Not like football or basketball where -1000 favorites are common. Upsets are coming. It’s what keeps the fans interested and it should keep hockey bettors interested too. Be sure to keep these strategies from the guide to betting hockey handy when placing your next hockey bet.
- Top 3 Teams – As the season moves along, the top tier teams will separate themselves from the pack. These are the complete teams. They win at home and on the road. The score as well as they play defense. They are deep at every position and on every line. These teams beat the tough teams and feast on the lesser ones in the league. But most importantly, these teams go on big win streaks. The faster you identify these teams the more you will win.
- Who’s In Net – Goalies in the NHL are much like pitchers in the MLB. Every betting line and spread is set according to which goalies are starting that day. Identifying teams with good goalies will help pick winners. Even the best goalies will have an off night but a good goalie in net every night is a huge advantage. And on the other end, during the long season, teams will find themselves short-handed at the goalie position. Rookies are often called up for emergency starts in the middle of a season. These rookies are usually young and raw and can’t handle the speed of the NHL game. Identify these goalies and bet against them.
- Let’s Fight! – Hockey has an odd tradition of fighting during the games. It is a fast and dangerous sport and there is plenty of opportunity for cheap shots and dirty play. Fighting is allowed in order to let the players police themselves. And these guys do a lot of policing. But a team that fights is a team that wins. Find a team that fights a lot and you’ll have found a team that wins a lot.
- Check the Schedule – As mentioned earlier, the hockey season is a long one. 81 regular season games before the playoffs begin. It’s a tough sport as well. Not missing games and playing through injury is a badge of honor. Three to four games a week takes a toll on even the toughest of players and because of this a team playing in back to back games are often at a disadvantage come game two. Long road trips are part of the season as well and also have an adverse effect on teams. Pay attention to how much a team has played recently before making a bet for or against.
- Injuries – As mentioned before, these guys are tough and although injuries happen all the time, it is tough to keep these guys off the ice. This makes injury reports vague and not very trustworthy. This is, again, due to the danger of the sport. If a player is listed with a left knee injury, guess which part of his body opposing teams are going to target on their checks. Missing a key player with injury can put a team at a significant disadvantage. It is important to know more than just the injury report when finding if a player is missing a game.
- Shoot-Outs – The shoot-out is an aspect of the game added in recent years to eliminate tied regular season games. If a game is tied at the end of regulation play, a five minute 4-on-4 overtime period is played. If the game remains tied, it moves to a shoot-out. Some teams are simply better at shoot-outs than others. It takes a strong goalie to win a shoot-out as well as scorers who can create their own shot and finish at the net. Some teams have it and some don’t. Knowing who these teams are is a nice advantage to have before placing a wager.
Betting on hockey successfully requires some homework. It is a fast but low-scoring sport where every team is beatable on any given night. Finding all of the advantages you can is important to your hockey betting strategy. If you follow the games and learn these tips, you’ll win your bets.
What Makes a Sportsbook Worth Using?
Most all of the major offshore sportsbooks will offer their clients the ability to bet on the NHL but if you want to be more profitable, we encourage you to find one that is actually worth using and puts some advantages on your side when betting on hockey.
The first thing you are going to want to look for is what type of bets does the sportsbook offer? There is no sense in using a sportsbook that only offers straight puck line wagers if you are a heavy totals player. You will want to double check that the sportsbook offers more than just regular wagers and also that their limitations on those wagers is high enough, or low enough, to satisfy your gambling style.
The following are the various different types of wagers that are normally offered at a credible NHL betting offshore website:
- Pucklines Wagers – Pucklines wagers can best be described as point spread wagers in hockey. Pucklines are posted to basically make the game a more even matchup and close the gap between talent between the two teams. Most of the time, the favorite in the game will be -1.5 goals, while the underdog will be +1.5 goals.
- Total Wagers – Total Wagers are bets that are placed in reference to the over/under. This means the combination of both teams combined must either add up to more or less than the predetermined number that the oddsmakers place on that game. Normal, the oddsmakers will set the Total number at 5.5, which means if you bet the over, the game would need to end at a combination of 6 goals or more goals, and if you were to bet the under, the game would need to end at a combination of 5 or less goals for you to win.
- Moneyline Wagers – The moneyline wagers are the same in hockey betting as they are in any other sport. With the moneyline, there are no puckline and there are no restrictions to the amount of points one most score. The way the winner or loser of the bet is determined is by who wins the game. Moneyline wagers can allow NHL hockey bettor’s to win substantially more money but they can also create a negative situation where they can lose significant amounts of money. This is because they are not based on the 10% juice factor in normal hockey betting and are more based on a odds system. The favorite of the game will be (-) minus a certain amount of odds while the underdog will be (+) plus a certain amount of odds. For example, if you bet the Washington Capitals -175 for $100 and they win, you will win $100. That being said, if the Cap’s lose on the night, you would lose $175 because of the odds. On the other side of the equation, if you were to bet the New York Rangers +220 for $100 and they lose, you would only lose $100 because they were (+) plus odds. Using the Rangers again, if you were to bet that same $100 and they were to upset their opponent, you would increase your winnings to $220, again because of the odds.
- Parlays – Parlays will get you plenty of value when played correctly. The more conservative the better with all parlays but especially in hockey. Keep it to two or three teams. The odds we improve themselves to add to your value.
When Are NHL Lines and Odds Released?
Another thing you will want to look for when searching for a NHL betting site is when do they release their NHL lines and odds. This is important for some bettors that don’t wager heavily on goalie factors and place their wagers early to take advantage of odds. Many times in NHL Hockey, teams will anticipate one goalie starting and this will cause the oddsmakers to set the odds and lines at one number but later in the day, they will make a goalie swap, which creates a cluster for those odds and lines.
When this happens, the oddsmakers must play a juggling act with the odds and lines due to the fact that a different goalie is now starting. Additionally, when a team decides to sit a player that evening, it can be beneficial to have bet against that team early because now that their star player is out of the lineup, many times the odds will change. If you are able to take advantage of the odds early enough, you can drastically increase your bottom line winning number and place the odds in your favor.
What Banking Options Are Available?
Not only with hockey betting but any type of wagering that you become interested in, the most important factor of all, should be your banking options. This is because you don’t want to be able to make a deposit without making a withdrawal.
When you initially begin your due diligence on finding the best NHL betting site, you should immediately ask about their banking options. Make sure that they offer more than one option for your country and double check to make sure the option you choose will allow you to also get a payout. What’s the sense of gambling if you can’t collect your winnings?