NHL Betting Strategy

Written by: Joseph Falchetti, Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert
Last updated:
6 minute read

NHL Betting StrategyNHL betting strategies are what will take your hockey betting success to the next level. NHL betting markets are a tier lower than the three other major sports, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of value for bettors who choose to bet with the correct hockey betting strategy. The oddsmakers don’t take nearly as much action on hockey as on other sports, hence lower betting limits compared to NBA or NFL betting. Hockey is somewhat unique from other sports that generally use point spread wagering and have their own intricacies. We offer some of our best strategy and tips for NHL gamblers below.

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2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Betting

betting on the stanley cupWhile we are some time away from NHL Playoffs and betting on 2019 NHL Stanley Cup, it is never to early to keep in mind what hockey bets are the most profitable in the postseason. While betting sides and totals can typically make up the majority of bets during the playoffs, bettors can also find a serious edge in betting on which team will move on to the next round.

If you are looking to place sports bets online and would like to know where the professional sports bettors are putting their money you should check our free sports picks page for up to date NHL playoff games predictions.

NHL Betting System – Underdog

Underdogs have value in just about every sport under the sun, simply because the public has a bias on favorites as a whole. However, in a sport like a hockey, where one game offers a significant amount of luck or variance, the so-called underdog betting system has a lot more value. Similar to baseball, having a profitable season in NHL hockey doesn’t necessarily mean having a winning percentage over .500. Most point spreads on football or basketball come with -110 vigorish, which has a 52.3% breakeven percentage.

Looking for underdogs in spots where they may have a chance to pull the upset is vital to your success when betting hockey. Remember, for a team that is +180 to win, we only have to win our bet just under 36% percent of the time for bettors to break even on no-vig proposition. Like baseball, looking to lay big money on favorites consistently will probably leave you with a hole in your wallet. To learn more about betting on pro hockey read our NHL Online Betting Guide.

Evaluating Home Ice As NHL Betting System

Home ice is one of the biggest factors that bettors need to consider when pitting two teams against each other. Of course, home ice advantage is an aspect that is going to be heavily factored in by the oddsmakers, but we urge bettors to consider home-ice advantage on a game-by-game basis.

Home Ice As NHL Betting SystemCrowds across the league are vastly different. Although it’s rare in today’s hockey, there are playoff games where there are plenty of empty seats. How the public sees the home-ice advantage is something other to consider, as it’s certainly a factor in the odds. This is particularly true when a city is known for their passionate fans. It isn’t necessarily a given that a home crowd is going to be fired up, simply because their team is going to be playing in the same building. There is a scale of excitement that few consider when accounting for home ice.

Particularly in a playoff series, there can be a big difference between the first game and seventh game in the series versus the fourth game. There are many factors to consider when evaluating a home crowd. How well as the team played in previous games? Is this a rare playoff appearance or are the fans used to seeing playoff hockey?

NHL Betting Strategy – Road Games

In conjunction with home ice, another hockey betting strategy is how well teams play on the road. A lot of teams have major issues on the road in the NHL, while others are more prepared for road contests. It may be coaching or veteran leadership, but it’s wrong for bettors to assume that every team has the same level of a disadvantage when playing on the road. With that said, home cooking can be pleasant as well. Home teams are generally more rested than road teams. Teams playing at home rarely play back-to-back on consecutive nights and have the advantage of sleeping in their own beds.

“Public Fades” NHL Bet

Like all sports, there is plenty of value in being contrarian and “fading the public“. Checking NHL betting percentages and keeping an eye on odds movement and which teams the public is vital, especially when it comes to high-profile games, such as the playoffs.

The public is generally drawn to teams that have a long history of being above average or outright dominant and they are also drawn to star players. It’s apparent during a given season what the “public” teams are and many franchises garner more betting action based on their historical success or large fan bases. Fading the public not only is beneficial when it comes to going against the crowd (which loses at sports betting long term), but bettors will also gain value in the lines because they will be taking underdogs. As mentioned above, underdog betting is going to be vital for betting success in hockey markets.

NHL Puck Lines Betting

We dive deeper into puck line strategy in a separate article titled “NHL Puck Line Strategy”. All the above information can be used when betting puck lines as well.

Utilize Alternative Lines

NHL alternative odds are an excellent option for those that heavily study NHL games. They’re not available at all NHL betting sites, so it’s important to shop around to make sure these are available at your chosen sportsbook. Alternative sides, puck line, and totals betting allow bettors to maximize their winnings when they have a take on a game that is far different than the market odds. Alt markets also aren’t generally as sharp traditional sides and totals, adding even more value.

NHL Betting Strategies – Profitable

When using NHL sports betting strategies, you do not have to bet on money lines. There are other alternative lines that you can use strategies to try and earn positive NHL bet payouts. Some profitable NHL betting strategies for these include looking for games to exploit the over/under on. If you can find a game with two great goalies in it with an over/under at 5 ½, then it is worth taking the under.

NHL Betting Strategies profitablityIf you bet $100 on a game between the Nashville Predators and New York Rangers with Pekka Rinne and Henrik Lundqvist in net, and the game finished 3-1 in favor of the Predators, it would be a winning NHL bet if the under was set at 5 ½ -109. You would win $91.74. If the Nashville Predators and New York Rangers met a second time with the same goalies in net, the under might be set at 5 ½ -116 this time. If you bet $100 on the under again, but this time the game finished 4-2, then you would lose your $100.

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About the Author

Joseph Falchetti

Joseph Falchetti

Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert

Joe is the author of the majority of sports betting pages on SBS and he serves as a gambling consultant to our content team. He's been mentioned on Forbes.com as a gaming analyst, and his articles have been linked by larger publications, such as the New York Times.

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