Betting on the NHL with Bovada Sportsbook

Among the major sporting leagues in North America, the National Hockey League is unparalleled in its combination of speed, skill and intensity. The power of 200-pound men skating at speeds approaching 30 mph and shooting a rubber puck over 100 mph, while also displaying incredible agility through puck-handling and cross-ice passing is truly a sight to behold. Due to its team-oriented play, hockey is loved for its sensational underdog stories and tremendous comebacks that leave some fans devastated and others in euphoria. But beyond the actual gameplay, hockey is rooted in a rich history of team rivalries that date back several generations. Because of these factors, the NHL is unrivaled in the excitement that it offers fans and bettors alike who enjoy adding another layer to their hockey experience by playing the NHL betting odds at Bovada Sportsbook. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss the basics of hockey betting and give some helpful suggestions while using real 2020 Stanley Cup betting examples to illustrate the different ways to place bets. We’ll even provide some NHL betting tips to help you gain an edge when dabbling into NHL odds betting for the first time. Covering everything from betting on the puckline (spread) to playing the lucrative world of parlays, this guide is your one-stop resource for all of your hockey betting needs. 

NHL Moneyline

The simplest and most intuitive way to bet on a hockey game is through the moneyline, which involves backing the team that you think will win straight up. If you pick right, you get paid according to the moneyline odds that were posted at the time of your placed bet. At Bovada Sportsbook, these odds are displayed in the American odds style and look like this: 

Dallas Stars —200

Minnesota Wild  +135

The favored team always has negative odds, and the home team is always placed under the visitor, so in this example, the Dallas Stars are —200 road favourites on the moneyline, while the Minnesota Wild are hosting as +135 underdogs. The odds for the favorite show how much you’d have to spend in order to win $100. In this example, you’d have to bet $200 in order to win $100 (bigger and smaller bets are allowed). As for the underdogs, the odds tell you how much money you’d win on a $100 bet. In this example, betting on the Wild would win you $135 on a $100 bet if they came away victorious.

NHL Puckline or Spread

Known as the puckline in NHL betting and the spread in other major sports leagues, this single bet is a margin of victory (and loss) that is used to even-out the playing field between two 

teams. The favoured team must score enough goals to cover the spread in order for their supporters to win their bets. Let’s illustrate this concept with an example:

Arizona Coyotes +1.5

Anaheim Ducks —1.5

In most cases, including in our example, the puckline is 1.5-goals. Here, the Anaheim Ducks are the home favorite, while the Arizona Coyotes are the underdog. In order for an Anaheim bet to pay out, they must beat Arizona by at least two goals. As for Arizona, their bets pay when the Coyotes win, or when they lose by just one goal. In this example, the spread includes a half-goal in order to prevent a push from happening. If the spread is a whole number and the favorite wins by that exact number, all bets are returned as a push. 

NHL Totals

Instead of picking the winner of a game, you can bet on NHL totals. A total refers to the total number of goals scored by both teams in a game, so if the Nashville Predators beat the Calgary Flames 3-2, the total would be 5 goals. The oddsmaker comes up with a total before game night, and bettors choose to go with the Over if they think that the total will exceed the number predicted, or the Under if they think that the total will be lower than the prediction. Here is what the total looks like in our sportsbook: 

New York Rangers O 5.5 (—130)

New York Islanders U 5.5 (—110)

In this example, the oddsmaker has set a 5.5-goal total; if you think that the Rangers and Islanders will score a combined six goals or more, you would take the Over. Alternatively, if you think that they will combine for five or fewer goals, you’d take the Under. The odds listed in the parenthesis are used to determine payouts; when they’re negative, the odds show how much you’d need to bet in order to win $100. 

Pro Tip: Keep an eye on back-up goalies filling in for the starters on teams with strong offence, as these scenarios can lead to opportunities for bettors to cash in on the Over with totals. 

NHL Props

A proposition bet doesn’t focus on the winning or losing team in a game; instead, oddsmakers propose a scenario, and people bet on whether or not they think that scenario will happen. The scenario could be team related, or player related. For example, before the start of the season, every NHL team gets a prop for how many points they’ll hypothetically earn in the regular season. Bettors then choose if they think that the team will get more or fewer points than what’s predicted. Going into the 2019-20 season, the Buffalo Sabres’ regular season point total prediction was 83.5.

NHL Futures

Betting on a team to raise the banner can be an exciting option for those who like to play the long game. In the futures section of the sportsbook, you’ll find odds for each team winning their respective Division, Conference, and the Stanley Cup Championship; that’s where you’ll find the 2020 Stanley Cup odds. As teams drop out of contention, their odds are removed from the futures market. 

NHL Parlays 

To turn a small bet into a big payout, your best option is to get into parlays. A parlay links several single bets into one, which compounds the payout offered for winning the bet. For example, you could parlay the following three pucklines:

Montreal Canadiens (—1.5) vs. Los Angeles Kings

Boston Bruins vs. Florida Panthers (—1.5)

Pittsburgh Penguins (+1.5) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Here, your three-team parlay is Montreal, Florida and Pittsburgh—all three teams must cover the spread in order for your parlay to pay out. While a push isn’t possible in our example because of the half-goal included, if ever there is a push in a parlay, the game is removed and the parlay is reduced. For example, a single push in a four-team parlay would reduce the bet to a three-team parlay. 

One type of parlay that’s exclusive to MLB and NHL betting is the Grand Salami, which is essentially a total on all of the games in a league happening on a particular night. With this type of bet, oddsmakers pick a number that reflects all of the goals expected to be scored by all teams on a given night; bettors choose whether they think the actual total number of goals will go Over the Grand Salami total, or Under.  

NHL Live Betting

The most exhilarating way to bet on hockey is without a doubt through the Live Betting portal. This is where you’ll find the various single bets and props mentioned in this article available in real time. They constantly change as the game progresses, giving you opportunities to jump in the action when you spot great value on the odds board.