The National Hockey League is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the US and Canada, the others being the NBA, MLB, and the NFL.
The NHL features 31 teams. Seven of them are from Canada, and the remaining 24 are based in the US. The participating squads are divided into two conferences — Eastern and Western and are further separated into four divisions as follows:
The National Hockey League calendar year begins with the preseason (September-early October), which is basically a warmup period during which franchises shuffle the starting lineups, test the rookies, and prepare for the showdown.
The preseason is followed by the regular season, which kicks off in early October and is played until mid-April. During the regular season, each team plays 82 games, according to a predetermined schedule.
With the completion of the regular season, the top eight seeded teams face each other in the Stanley Cup playoffs, which last from April through the beginning of June.
Once the 16-team playoff field is determined, the Stanley Cup playoffs proceed in a conference-based format, featuring best-of-seven series from the first round all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
The winners of the Eastern and Western conferences play against one another in the Finals, competing for the Stanley Cup — the oldest professional trophy in North America.
Best NHL Betting Sites
If NHL betting is something you’re interested in, you shouldn’t sign up with the first sportsbook you come across. You’ll want your chosen betting site to offer the most competitive NHL odds and most generous bonuses. It should also cover a wide range of other markets, just in case you decide to take a break from the NHL and try other options.
It just so happens that our expert team has located a few betting operators that check all the boxes. For your convenience, we’ve rounded them all up in a list. Feel free to check them out.
Puck Line Bets
Puck line wagers are the equivalent of point spread bets in the NBA and the NFL. With this market, you’re effectively betting on the winning margin in an NHL matchup. The puck line represents a parameter that balances the scales between two unevenly matched teams, giving the underdog team a starting advantage while ‘handicapping’ the favourite.
For example, in a match between the Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets, the Stars may be at -2.5 (+190), and the Jets at +2.5 (-200). If you bet $100 on the Stars, they need to win by more than two goals for you to get your $190 payout. On the other side, the Jets need to lose by less than three goals or win the game outright for you to win a bet on them.
With the totals wager, you need to predict whether the combined total number of goals scored in an NHL fixture will be below or above the threshold set by the sportsbooks.
For example, the matchup between the St Louis Blues and the Boston Bruins might be set at a total of 6.5. If the Blues win 7:2, that would mean that those that placed the over wager would win the bet while leaving the under bettors empty-handed.
In general, the futures bet refers to a wager placed on a sporting event whose outcome will be decided in the relatively distant future. Most futures bets are related to the outcome of a competition, usually the entire season or the championship.
In the NHL, you can place a futures bet on the Stanley Cup winner or the winner of both conferences. You can even put some cash on the line on winners of the four divisions.
This market is characterized by massive odds, so you could hit it really big if your predictions are successful. And that’s exactly what makes them so popular — the prospect of winning huge even with a small wager.
Props or proposition bets, often called specials, are special wagers you can find on NHL betting sites. This market is not related to the final score or outcome, at least not directly. Instead, you’re betting on an individual player’s performance or whether a certain situation will happen in the game. Props bet could look something like this Is Leon Draisaitl going to score three goals? or Which team will score the first goal?
NHL Betting Tips
There’s a lot of value for bettors in the NHL; they only need to know where to look. To recognize a great betting opportunity, you need to do proper research and find the correct hockey betting strategy.
Here are a few tips that’ll take your hockey betting to another level:
- Avoid back-to-back games — Back to back games are incredibly difficult to predict. On the one hand, teams are less rested, which means that they’ll probably underperform. On the other, if the team is playing both games at home, it will be extra motivated to win. So, it would be best if you avoided these matchups altogether.
- Take advantage of alternative lines — If your chosen sportsbook offers alternative puck lines and totals, you should try using that to your advantage. Some alternative lines provide betters odds, while others are easier to predict than the regular markets.
- Follow injury reports and news — There’s nothing more frustrating than finding out that the star player from the team you placed a wager on is ditched from the lineup a couple of minutes before the game due to an injury. It’s important to keep tabs on these things because they can greatly influence the games’ outcome and your bet along the way.
05 January, 2021