How To Bet on Hockey: Wagering on the NHL

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The NHL season is back in full swing, and for hockey fans, this can only mean one thing: it’s time to start betting on the newest players to make the jump from the NHL. For new bettors wanting to compete with more experienced gamblers, though, making weekly wagers can seem daunting.

However, given that many experienced bettors tend to be drawn toward hockey wagering because of its constantly changing rosters, there are more variables than usual to consider when putting money on the game.

Hockey is inherently different from other sports because coaches often change lineups so frequently, and this instability makes it essential for new NHL bettors to understand how each new matchup affects the odds of winning.

In order to get a better idea of what can affect a team’s play, we’ve created a list that highlights some key factors that determine how teams score and defend against their opponents.

1) Goaltender Matchup

The most obvious aspect of betting is hockey goaltending, and for good reason. Goaltending in the NHL is paramount to the success of any team, and when betting on hockey it’s important to recognize that some goaltenders are more capable than others.

While many new bettors may focus on which players are scoring, they often forget that their odds of winning will decrease if the opposing team has a more talented goalie protecting their net.

2) Time on Ice

Time on ice is also an important factor for new bettors, as players with more time to rest tend to be better performers. A player that can bench press 400 pounds will have trouble running if he hasn’t had the proper amount of rest, and the same applies to hockey.

It’s also worth mentioning that goaltenders need rest in order to be at their best, so betting on the team with the better goalie often means you’ll get more scoring chances before they take a shift off and stay fresh for later play.

3) Powerplay

Powerplay time is an aspect of hockey that many new bettors often forget to consider, but it’s a crucial aspect of a team’s play that can affect each matchup. While power play opportunities don’t happen as frequently as shorthanded time, they typically have more impact on the outcome of the game.

In fact, many NHL teams use their best players when given an opportunity for a power play, which means that even if they aren’t scoring during 5v5 play they’ll likely have an increased number of opportunities to shoot once given the opportunity.

4) Penalty Kill

Similarly, if a team is unable to score on an opponent’s power play then they will typically be more aggressive in their pursuit of the puck during shorthanded play. 

When betting on hockey it’s crucial to have an understanding of which teams are capable of both scoring and defending against their opponents, as less skilled players are at a disadvantage when playing more aggressively. You can have a look at national hockey league futures odds and betting links to have an idea about this.

5) Game Schedule

As with any sport, the NHL season is broken up into segments called game schedules. These schedules aren’t just important to know for betting on hockey because they can indicate which teams are playing more games than others, as well as who has the most consecutive days off.

When considering which team you should bet on it’s important to understand how much rest each player has had in order to determine if they’ll be sharp or sluggish. 

6) Road vs Home

Another important aspect of betting on hockey for new bettors is understanding how each player performs away from their home rink. 

While most players perform better at home, it’s important to recognize that some players simply aren’t as skilled when playing away from their team’s fan base.

This isn’t to say that these players will always be poor performers, but it does mean that you need to adjust your expectations and adjust the odds of them performing well in order to ensure a fair bet. You can have a look at the NHL odds to know poor performance players.

7) Team Morale

While team morale may not be a statistic that you’ll find in most betting lines, it’s important to note that when a team is struggling they will often make the majority of their opponents look better than they really are.

 This factor is one of the most difficult aspects of betting on hockey because it means taking a perspective that many bettors aren’t able to see. 

While it’s important to watch the game itself, understanding the psyche of each team and its players is a crucial factor when determining who will win in any given matchup.

8) Time of Game

Time of game can be an important factor for new bettors because some players perform better when they are coming off of a break. Specifically, it’s the dead time after the first period when teams aren’t able to score that helps players get into their flow more easily.

It’s also worth noting that overtime periods are often filled with mistakes that lead to scoring opportunities, which means you’ll want to look for games where either team could win after regulation time.

9) Odds

The final thing we would recommend is to look at the odds of each team before placing your bet. While you might find that one team looks stronger than another, that doesn’t mean they are guaranteed to be successful in their matchup with any given opponent. 

Even if a team is playing against fellow strugglers they’ll often find themselves at a disadvantage in order to increase your odds of winning.

We hope that these tips will help beginners bet on hockey like a pro and improve their chances of winning more money than they ever thought possible.

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