Whether your goal in hockey betting is to make some serious money or just make the games more interesting, here are seven hockey betting tips that will make a big difference.
1. Always get the best lines
The most important of hockey betting tips, just like in any other sport, is to make sure you’re getting the best odds on all your wagers.
Making a few extra cents on your dollar with every underdog bet, or risking a few less cents with every favourite you take, will make a big difference in the long run.
It’s worth your while to have accounts with several different sportsbooks so you can shop around and make your bet at the sportsbook that offers you the best odds.
Pinnacle Sports consistently offers the best hockey betting odds. Sports Interaction and Bodog are two sportsbooks that tend to be opinionated in their hockey betting lines, which can offer a lot of value. Bet365 is great for live betting.
2. Choose parlays wisely
A parlay bet is when you bet two or more games on one ticket, requiring you to win all the games in order to win your bet.
Parlays are tempting because of the big payout you’ll receive if you win one, but they are generally a sucker’s bet.
It’s hard enough to pick consistent winners one at a time; needing to go 3-for-3 in order to get paid only stacks the odds against you even more. If you’ve ever bought a Proline or PlayNow provincial sports lottery ticket, you’ll know what we’re talking about.
Parlays can be useful on occasion when the two bets are correlated.
For example, if the Penguins seem more likely to win a high-scoring game than a low-scoring game, you might consider parlaying your bets on the Penguins and the over.
Check with your sportsbook to see if they allow same-game parlays.
3. Limit betting heavy favourites
Heavy favourites might seem like a guaranteed win, but you’ll quickly learn there are no guarantees when betting hockey.
A puck going in off someone’s skate, an injury to a star player or a bad call by an official can help even the worst teams in the league beat the best teams.
That’s why we recommend you avoid betting favourites of -200 or higher on the moneyline. Betting on a favourite of -200 means you are betting 200 to win 100, requiring you to win two of every three bets in order to just break even.
Like baseball, the greatest value in hockey betting often lies with the underdog.
4. Consider the puck line
If you can’t help but bet on a heavy favourite, consider taking them on the puck line instead of the moneyline to reduce your risk.
The puck line is the hockey betting version of the point spread, so you can get much lower odds against you by taking a team to win by two goals or more.
For example, the Blackhawks might be -200 on the moneyline, but they might pay +150 if you take them on the -1.5 puck line.
Taking a favourite on the puck line will require that team to win by two goals or more, but your risk is much less.
The puck line can also work in your favour when betting on an underdog.
Taking an underdog on the +1.5 puck line means you’ll win your bet even if they lose by a goal, and you’re guaranteed to win your bet if the game goes into overtime.
The number of close games in hockey can make taking the underdog on the puck line worthwhile, although a late empty-net goal might cost you now and then.
5. Do your research
This might seem like one of the most obvious hockey betting tips, but there is more to consider than just the teams’ overall records when making your picks.
Taking a look at the teams’ recent schedules, for example, might help you determine that one team might be tired than the other.
A team playing its first game in three days will usually be fresher and stronger than a team playing its third game in four days.
Hockey is a game of speed and effort, so identifying which team will bring more energy to the game is a great strategy to win more bets.
Other things to consider include whether either team will be using its backup goalie, whether either team has any extra motivation for the game, which players will miss the game because of injuries, each team’s home and away records, and recent head-to-head matchups between the teams.
6. Stay disciplined
Over an 82-game season, even the best teams in the league will go through stretches when they lose a few games in a row.
You will too when betting hockey, so don’t panic when things don’t go your way for a few days.
Betting more on the next game in order to make up for a few recent losses is a recipe for disaster.
If you pick more winners than losers in the long run, you’ll come out ahead.
We recommend a flat betting system in which you risk or bet to win the same amount in every game, no matter how much you like the bet or how well or badly you’ve been doing recently.
7. Be selective
Sure, betting on the game that’s on television will make it more exciting, but that shouldn’t be your only incentive for making a bet.
Be selective and only make a wager when you feel the probability of the outcome you’re betting on is greater than the odds you are making the bet at.
If you can’t resist the urge to bet on the game that’s on television, make your bet much smaller than your regular wagers.
Also, this is straight from Betting 101, but bet with your head, not your heart.
It’s likely you view your favourite team through rose-coloured glasses and don’t see their flaws as much as outsiders do, so it might be best to avoid wagering on games involving your favourite squad.