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Hockey has changed in recent years in how the game is played and called. Referees call a much tighter game than they used to, resulting in less clutching and grabbing and an increase in speed and scoring. In the playoffs, these same refs lighten up and call a looser game than the regular season, which is something to keep in mind when deciding what to bet on.


or “The Puck Line” as it’s called in hockey, refers to the spread of goals the books expect a favorite to win by 50% of the time.  This is -1.5 for a heavy favorite, usually at plus odds and +1.5 for a heavy underdog usually at minus odds. So, for example, the Avalanche were considered the top NHL team this year so they were -1.5 for most of their games. If they win by two goals or more you would win your Avs bet, which they did often. The thinking behind taking a team -1.5 is that you always have a chance at an empty-net goal at the end of a close game. If a team is winning by 1 or more goals late in the game, the opposing team that is down will often pull their goalie to get an extra attacker out on the ice to tie the game before time expires. This leaves the net open for the favorite to score another goal, and therefore cover your -1.5 bet. However, if they only win by one goal, you will instead lose that -1.5 bet, and the +1.5 bettor would then win.

3 Way Betting:

This is the term used for betting on a team to win in regulation. You only win this bet if the team you wagered on wins in regulation. If the game goes to overtime, you would lose your bet. If you are looking to bet a favorite but the moneyline is too juiced, you can use this option as an alternative at significantly better odds, due to the added risk of overtime associated with the bet.


You can bet the game outright by betting the moneyline, meaning the team you wager on simply has to win for you to win your bet, overtime, shootout, or regulation, doesn’t matter how they do it. Just win baby!

Total (over/under):

A hockey total typically hovers between 5 and 7 goals, with 6 being the most common total in today’s NHL. Focusing on hockey over/unders can be a highly profitable way to bet on hockey if taking into account the recent form of goaltenders, teams coming off of back-to-back games, etc. Teams playing styles are sticky, for example, this past year the Toronto Maple Leafs were one of the most talented teams in the NHL on offence, but their defense and goaltending ranked as some of the worst in the NHL. This created inefficiency in the market to the trained eye, as they went over all the time due to the style of hockey they played.


These are fairly self-explanatory, but you can bet on regular-season point totals, division winners, conference winners, the Stanley Cup champion, and player/coach award winners. The Conn Smythe winner is also a popular bet come playoff time, which is awarded to the most valuable player of their team throughout the entirety of the playoffs (not just the final round which is a common misconception).

Player Props:

The fantasy football world has spread its tentacles into all four of the major American sports, and hockey is no different. You can bet on player statistics such as goals, assists, points, shots, saves, game-winning goals, first goal scorer, last goal scorer, etc. A highly touted goal scorer like Auston Matthews or Nathan Mackinnon will often have juiced lines for over 0.5 points since they get so many of them. Long shot goal scorers could be a good strategy to increase ROI. For example, when Gabe Landeskog got hurt this past year and was out until the playoffs, this created a vacancy on one of the best lines in the NHL. Valeri Nichushkin was placed on that first line with Nathan Mackinnon and Mikko Rantenen, two top tier talents in the NHL, and presented Nichuskin with more goal-scoring opportunities. A sharp would have been quick to notice this change in the lineup before the books adjusted their Valeri Nichushkin goals prop, creating another temporary market inefficiency.