NHL Betting Odds, Spreads & Lines

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Welcome to the NHL Odds page where we will explain everything you need to know about betting the fastest game on ice. The hockey odds featured at Bookmakers Review (BMR) are courtesy of the most trusted and respected online sportsbooks in the industry. But before we discuss how critical it is to choose the right online sportsbook, let’s learn how to read the NHL betting odds and review the various wagers you can make when betting on the world’s most exciting game.

Moneylines have become much more popular than the old “puck lines” bettors used to see in the sports sections of major newspapers before the internet burst onto the scene. But there are several things you must know so that you are equipped to read the NHL lines accurately and then determine if the risk is worth the potential reward.

In every moneyline you will see a favorite and an underdog designated by a - and + sign, respectively. The base amount is always predicated on a $100 bet which means if you see the New York Islanders -130 and their opponents, the Carolina Hurricanes +110, that means you must risk $130 to win $100 if you bet the favored Islanders or you can risk $100 to win $110 on the underdog Hurricanes.

And knowing that there is nothing like repetition to learn something new, let’s offer this example: Kings -150/Ducks +130. In this case, you would be risking $150 to win $100 on the Kings or $100 to win $130 on the Ducks. Now obviously you don’t need to bet $100 to have action because this is just a derivate of the NHL betting odds.

In the above example, any wager, regardless of the amount, would cost 50 percent more than what you want to win. Therefore, if you want to win $30 you would need to risk $45 (30 x 1.50 = 45).

Conversely, any wager regardless of the amount, using the example above, would net you 30 percent more than what you are risking on the underdog Ducks. Therefore, if you want to risk $30 you would win $39 (30 x 1.3 = 39).

You will note that the spread between the favorite and the underdog is what we call a 20 cent spread as illustrated in the two previous examples, New York Islanders -130/Carolina Hurricanes +110 and Los Angeles Kings -150/Anaheim Ducks +130. This difference accounts for the bookie’s take if they get an even amount of money on both the favorite and the underdog that difference is their commission.

As the NHL betting lines get steeper you will notice the margin between the favorite and the underdog widen. For example, once the favorite reaches -200 status, you will likely see something like Tampa Bay Lightning -210/Detroit Red Wings +180, or a 30 cent spread.

And on some occasions, we can see a favorite soar to -300 or beyond, in which case the NHL odds would look something like this: Boston Bruins -300/Buffalo Sabres +250 – a 50 cent spread.

Just remember, the favorite is always denoted by the minus sign while the underdog is indicated by the plus sign. Bet the favorite and you are risking the designated amount to win $100 or bet the underdog and risk $100 to win the desired amount.

One thing to keep in mind is that unless a wager is designated otherwise, the default is that the NHL odds are predicated on the score at the end of the game and not regulation. You must understand there are no ties in hockey, there will be a winner and a loser whether it gets decided in the overtime frame or the shootout round(s).

There can be no pushes because there are no ties any longer in the National Hockey league.

The bottom line is that reading the NHL odds is very easy once you get used to it and here at BMR we make it as clear as possible.

The hockey lines you see at BMR will always default to moneylines, which we previously covered. However, you can see the puck lines by clicking “puck lines” above that evening’s slate of NHL games. Once you do so, you will see the moneylines change into each team either laying or getting 1 ½ goals. It is akin to a point spread in football or basketball but most closely resembles the spread you will see in baseball.

Unlike NFL odds and baseball odds, the NHL puck line is customarily +/- 1 ½ which means if you want to bet the favorite, that team must win the game by two goals or more whereas the underdog getting 1 ½ goals can either win the game outright or lose the game by one goal but get the cover, and win the bet.

Let’s cite a simple example. The Calgary Flames are playing the Vancouver Canucks and the Flames are the favorite, therefore they are -1 ½ goals while the Canucks are +1 ½ goals. If the game ends Calgary 3 – Canucks 2 then Vancouver would cover the bet because 2 + 1 ½ = 3 ½ which is greater than the three goals Calgary scored. Pretty simple, right?

But here’s the thing you must remember. When betting the puck lines, you must understand that the bookies will usually require you to pay a premium for that 1 ½ goal advantage when betting the underdog but will give you plus money for betting the favorite -1 ½ goals.

The premium a bettor pays on getting the 1 ½ goals depends on how much of a perceived mismatch the game is, so if the teams are relatively close and the moneyline is something along the lines of -120/+100 then you would probably see the puck line look like this: -1 ½ (+200) and +1 ½ (-250). This means that if you want to bet the favorite -1 ½ goals you would risk $100 to win $200 but if you wanted to bet the underdog it would require you to risk $250 to win $100.

However, if the moneyline is -250/+200 then the puck line would look something like this: -1 ½ (+110) and +1 ½ (-130). This means that if you want to bet the favorite -1 ½ goals you would risk $100 to win $110 but if you wanted to bet the underdog it would require you to risk $130 to win $100. It’s all at your fingertips here at BMR and once you get used to reading the NHL odds, it will become second nature.

NHL hockey odds are not reserved for money and puck lines because there is a growing market for those who enjoy betting over or under the total offered by the oddsmakers before the game begins. It is critical to note that this final score is based on the end of the game and if it is tied at the end of regulation, there will be a four-on-four five-minute overtime stanza followed by a shootout if the game remains knotted. As previously stated, there are no ties in the National Hockey League so please keep this in mind when betting totals.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about hockey betting lines being offered on totals. Many seasoned sports bettors refer to totals as the “over/under”. Either way, it is a number set by the oddsmakers on the combined number of goals scored. The more offensively prolific the matchup, the higher the total. On the other hand, if two defensive-minded teams are meeting then the total will be lower than the norm.

In today’s game, you will most often see totals of 5, 5 ½, or 6 but depending on the matchup, there can be totals lower than 5 or higher than 6, it all depends on the teams playing.

So, let’s use an example of the Edmonton Oilers playing the Montreal Canadiens. The NHL odds being offered by the best online sportsbooks featured here at BMR show the total on this game at a solid 6 across the board. This gives bettors the choice of betting over 6 or under 6 combined goals scored.

Again, we must stress the official score is either decided at the end of regulation if there is no tie, or in the overtime or shootout round(s) if there is a tie. In this case, the final score was Edmonton 4 – Montreal 1. Simple arithmetic tells us 4+1 = 5 and we know that 5 is less than 6, therefore those who bet under 6 combined goals scored would win this wager.

Had Edmonton and Montreal combined to score six goals, this game would be a push. That means that bettors who wagered over 6 or under 6 would both get their money returned. It’s like the game never happened. Regardless of which team wins or loses, it makes no difference in totals, it is all about the final score and the number of combined goals scored.

Before the season begins the NHL Stanley Cup odds are posted at all of the best online sportsbooks and the NHL Vegas odds will reveal what all of the sportsbooks in Sin City are dealing on each team in the league. Naturally, the better the team the lower the odds but while the prior season is often a good indicator of how a team will fare in the upcoming season, it is not a crystal ball by any means.

You see, there are plenty of changes that transpire from one season to the next which involve retirements, free agents signing with new clubs, injuries taking a toll, coaching changes, and a whole host of factors that can turn a Stanley Cup team one year into a cellar-dweller the next.

The fall from grace is not usually quite that drastic but there are always challengers to the throne and bad teams can get better in a hurry if they sign the right talent and their young draft picks begin to bloom. Some teams get worse, others get better, while others tread water.

It is the oddsmakers’ job to determine how each roster looks heading into the upcoming season and assign a value that is congruent to the perceived strength of that team. This is the essence of the NHL future odds which allows bettors to place a wager on a team to win the Stanley Cup before the season commences.

Moreover, these odds are adjusted throughout the course of the season, and when the postseason rolls around the NHL playoff odds are revealed. This is where the sportsbooks offer NHL betting odds on each individual playoff series as well as a fresh run of Stanley Cup odds on the 16 teams remaining. There is always plenty of action throughout the season so make sure to strap on a helmet and get into the game!

If you have decided to try your hand at picking winners and evaluating hockey lines then the smartest thing you can do is your due diligence when it comes to choosing the sportsbook that is right for you. Finding an online book dealing NHL odds is not hard but determining which of them has a track record of timely payouts, superior customer service, excellent bonuses, and an aesthetically pleasing dashboard is imperative if you want to get the most out of your sports betting experience.

The online sportsbooks you see on our NHL odds board are not there because they were randomly chosen. No, these are some of the most trusted and respected books in the industry and it is why BMR allows them to display their NHL odds on our website. We even have a forum that allows bettors to discuss their experiences at various books because sharing information is essential in understanding which betting sites are using avant-garde technology and constantly striving to improve their customers’ experience.

And while the ultimate litmus test for any online sportsbook is how quickly they pay when a payout request is made, there are other factors to consider, albeit none of which are more important than that. When you begin your search, it is important to be aware of the betting options of each site. Even though your favorite sport might be hockey, it is important that a book offers all of the major sports and even events such as MMA, golf, tennis, boxing, auto racing, and even badminton if the spirit moves you.

Another important factor is making sure the book you choose gives out early lines so you can take advantage of the NHL odds you feel provide the most value. If you are good at what you do then these early numbers can prove to be essential in diminishing your losses and increasing your winnings. If you find the Columbus Blue Jackets +140 in the morning but wait until shortly before game time to bet it after the sharps have already gobbled up that number, you could very well be betting Columbus at a much lower price, reducing your return if they win the game.

While we are on the subject of reducing risk and increasing profits, let’s talk about having several books at our disposal to make certain we are getting the best bang for our gambling dollar. All the seasoned pros have more than one book where they do business because the NHL odds are not the same everywhere you go.

Why bet the Boston Bruins -150 at one book when you can get them -135 at another book? If you are trying to win $100 then you will save $15 if the B’s lose just by having more than one betting site to turn to for not only this wager but all of your bets!

When doing your homework, make sure to check out a book’s bonus program in terms of how often they offer bonuses and how good are they? It’s like scanning the NHL Vegas odds in a sportsbook, finding out that you like it at that particular venue, and decide to do most of your betting there. Eventually, the staff takes notice that you are a regular and begins to comp you for your loyalty.

The same holds true for online sportsbooks and casinos. And while they can’t offer you a free dinner or a show, what they can do is put money in your account and that’s better than anything! Bonuses are a way for the book to say thank you for your patronage and being a loyal customer so there is no reason in the world to refuse an offer like that.

However, when choosing the right sportsbook (or sportsbooks if you are sharp) do not make bonuses your chief priority. Many nefarious betting sites use bonuses as a carrot to lure unsuspecting bettors into their lair. What good is a big bonus if you won’t get paid when you win? It is worth absolutely nothing so the right thing to do is ask around, visit the forums here at BMR, and click on over to the many top-rated online books on this site. You will be glad you did!