Featured in this article:
- What you should avoid when it comes to hockey betting
- Current NHL division standings
- Our expert tips for betting
Although hockey might be more lauded by our southern neighbors (Hey, Canada) the sport has seen renewed (or, just new in general) interest in betting on the NHL — right now, NHL hockey popularity is growing in the United States thanks to successful seasons from teams like Tampa Bay Lightning and the Vegas Knights, plus, now that the league has returned to some regularity amidst the pandemic, who doesn’t need another sport to watch (and bet on) while we’re cooped-up inside?
Don’t want to be the laughing stock of your hockey-loving friends? Of course you don’t—Read on for our tips to wager on the NHL like a pro.
What to Avoid When Betting on the NHL
Here are some rookie mistakes people make when betting on the NHL, and what to avoid when placing wagers:
Placing too much importance on home advantage:
- With hockey, home-ice advantage isn’t necessarily as important as it is in football or basketball. With the way most NHL arenas are set-up, the plexiglass perimeter makes crowd applause and fan-connection less prominent than a sport played on a court or field.
Ignore the Goalie:
- Many new bettors to the NHL might not place a lot of stock in the goaltender—this is a big mistake. Be sure to look at both team’s starting goalies for an NHL game, their performance so far, plus, the defense they’ll play with that game.
Not knowing your positions, or the role they play in the game:
- Like we mentioned, it’s a rookie mistake to ignore the goalie, but you’d also be making a huge mistake if you ignore the center and wing positions and how they play defense. All players in these positions will work to prevent the other team scoring, and it’s an asset to be familiar with their defensive game.
Betting on assists rather than overall winner:
- In hockey, it’s most common to bet on the winner, and although we noted it’s important to understand how all positions play, look at players that score the most goals to make your bet. If you’re new to a sport, this is an easy way to make an informed bet, and if you’re a seasoned hockey bettor, it’s a nice reminder to keep the simple things in mind too, not just SV% or xSV%.
Tips to bet on the NHL like a Pro
Now that you know what to avoid, what are some essential tips to know before you bet on the NHL? Here are some (more) strategies we recommend:
Get into live betting:
- Like most sports, the game can change quickly, which makes live betting a great option for bettors (or those who didn’t bet in the first place). If a player is injured, or the favorite team isn’t performing as expected, this can be a great way to (potentially) win some extra money.
Live bets for hockey typically include the moneyline, puck line, parlays and prop bets (among others).
Get very familiar with the NHL Schedule:
- Get familiar with the NHL schedule and be aware of what’s going on with whichever team you’re betting on. NHL games can be played frequently with teams playing consecutive days, so you should know which teams are ‘rested’ and which are ‘fresh’.
Steer clear of fluke props:
- Hockey props are difficult to handicap, although they can definitely offer a generous payday. However, if you’re looking to make serious bank from NHL betting, props like who will score the first goal aren’t the most profitable type of bet you can make on hockey.
Stay on top of head-to-head records:
- When’s the last time these teams played each other? Be familiar with when each team played each other last (especially since it’s fairly often) and results from their previous games.
20-21 Season Rundown
The NHL kicked off their 2020-21 season with a puck-drop on January 13, 2021. So, how do the NHL standings look for each division so far? Let’s take a look at the early season standings:
NHL Central Division Standings
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Dallas Stars
- Carolina Hurricans
NHL East Division Standings
- Washington Capitals
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- Philadelphia Flyers
- New Jersey Devils
- Boston Bruins
NHL West Division Standings
- Vegas Golden Knights
- Minnesota Wild
- Louis Blues
- Colorado Avalanche
- Los Angeles Kings