Fantasy football. Horse racing. Sports betting. Everyone has seen, heard of, or even participated in some variation of sports betting throughout the United States. Whether you travel to Las Vegas (what happens there, of course stays there) or you live in a state where sports betting is legal. But do you even know what “sports betting” is? This article will dive deeper into the not so familiar world of betting on NHL games.
Common Hockey Sports Betting Terms
It wasn’t until mid 2021 that more than 24 states were able to perform some kind of gambling, whether it be physical books, “in-person” only or full range mobile and online variations. When someone hears “online gambling” it’s safe to assume they are thinking of poker or some other card game. But when the term “sports betting” is used, it’s an entirely different ball game (or in this case, puck game).
As mentioned before, each state has its own laws and versions of sports betting, but that doesn’t mean the rules of the game are different. If you’ve heard of sports betting, you’ve probably heard the terms “over-under”, “underdog” and “parlay”. These kinds of bets are found in all walks of sports betting, typically meaning the same in each.
Over-under is when you place a bet based on whether the combined total score of the two teams is either over or under the actual posted score. Easy enough, right? Underdog is the team that is least expected to win, though they usually have higher payouts if they do.
Unique NHL Sports Bets
National Hockey League betting is nowhere near as popular as football or baseball, but there are some interesting features about it. NHL bets began to spike in 2017 when Las Vegas (the gambling capital of the United States, maybe even the world) acquired their very own hockey team, The Las Vegas Knights. In their first year, the Knights went from the underdog of every game (being that this was a brand-new team whose players were foreign to each other and the city) to competing in the Stanley Cup against the Washington Capitals in 2018. What’re the odds? How does hockey betting differ from other sports betting?
While hockey has a few of the same general types of bets, over-under, underdog, parlay, etc., there are a few kinds that are hockey specific based on the nature of the game. Similar to college basketball’s March Madness, the NHL has a type of bet that is called “Future Wagers” and it’s just like it sounds. Who will win everything (Stanley Cup), which team will win their conference and/or division and how even how many season points. While the Stanley Cup odds are usually posted well before the games start, these are merely predictions and not to be taken by the light-hearted. Hockey is notorious for upsets. Another way that bettors can place bets on the Stanley Cup include game to game (as in, who wins each game played, but not necessarily the Cup) and of course, who will win the Cup itself.
Some of the other ways to bet on NHL include: “Money Line”, “Puck line”, and the “Grand Salami.” Sounds a little daunting, doesn’t it? Especially if you’re new to betting in general. The Money line is the simple bet of who do you think will win the game? Doesn’t matter what the underdog or favorite odds are. It’s your choice between two teams. The payout is different based on the -/+ odds, but that’s it. Team A or Team B? It’s that simple.
The Puck Line is where it gets a little more complicated (but not too much). In this scenario, you’re either going to bet that the favorite team will win by 2 or more goals (usually represented as -1.5 in the spread) or if the underdog will possibly win or more than likely keep the score to only a one-point difference. Some seasoned bettors across all sports prefer this method as the odds and payout are usually better.
The Grand Salami is similar to over under, but it’s a rare commodity. Instead of placing an over-under bet on your particular team to win, the grand salami is an over under for all of the games playing that night. So if there are 3 games on a Thursday night, you’d wager that all three games would have a collective score of over 5 or under 12. But pay attention to each over under for each game, you’re accounting for 6 teams of scoring.
Where Can You Place Bets on NHL Games?
Now that the basics of betting on NHL games is under your belt, the question is, where can you bet? That heavily depends on your state. There are a little over two dozen states that allow some kind of sports betting, but which one is your state (or the closest state to you?) Some states, like Arkansas, Delaware, New Mexico and New York only allow physical sports books. This means that there are specific places (such as Casinos) that allow any kind of betting. Delaware only has 2-3 sportsbooks in the entire state, so some research would be required before you go.
Other states, such as Nevada, Illinois, New Jersey and most recently Washington DC and Virginia, allow users to place bets on any game in any part of the state via online or mobile phone app. Online sports books are more convenient for a bettor for the sole fact that they don’t have to be at the game/specific location to place a bet and it’s an instant win (the funds get added to your account minutes after the game ends). MintDice is an online casino that plans to launch a full featured sports book soon. Their sports book will allow you to wager Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on your favorite NHL games.
The world of sports betting is growing throughout the US. The states that do not allow gambling, like Utah, are more than likely never going to be able to gamble, but throughout the years of 2022 and 2023, 7 states are inquiring to implement some form of sports betting, even if it'll be limited to tribal casinos or specific locations. As the betting world grows, so does the world of NHL betting. With multiple variations of bets, split bets, individual teams or players and even just a lucky guess of who takes home the Stanley Cup, bettors have ample opportunity to beat the odds and maybe make some money. As long as you know what you are doing as you bet of course!