by Joseph Mattern - 02/27/2006
Hockey betting is a little complex in comparison to other forms of sports betting. Aside from betting the total (goals scored by both teams), there are two main types of bets in hockey: the moneyline and the NHL puck line. The moneyline is something you're probably very familiar with because it is a very common wager in most sports - baseball in particular.
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The moneyline in hockey betting is the same as in other forms of sports betting. There is no point spread in a moneyline bet. The highest negative money is the favorite, with the positive money going to the dog (in the case of two teams with negative moneylines posted, the team with the lowest negative money is the underdog). So for example, say you want to bet on the Detroit Red Wings vs. the Los Angeles Kings, and let's say the Red Wings are favored. The moneyline might look something like this:
Los Angeles +145
So, in this instance, you would need to wager $165 to win $100 if you like Detroit to win the game. If you like LA to win, you would win $145 on a $100 bet. That's pretty standard stuff, as the moneyline wager is an option that is used in most sports.
The NHL puck line wager is unique in that it is a combination point spread and moneyline wager. So, for example, you might have a line that looks like this:
Tampa Bay +1.5 -150
San Jose -1.5 +130
In this case, San Jose is the favorite, and would have to win by two goals, in order to win. If you bet San Jose and they win by two, then you'd win $130 on a $100 bet. If you bet on the Lightning, and Tampa wins outright or loses by one goal, then you would need to bet $150 to win $100.
Which hockey bets are best for you? There are a number of ways to approach this with regard to hockey betting strategy, so it's important to do your homework on teams and matchups, and to shop for the best lines at several books in order to get the most value for your wager. The thing about hockey is that there are a lot of variables that can be factored in to your analysis, so it is a bit overwhelming to try to handicap. Which characteristics do you weigh most heavily, and which do you place less emphasis on? The answers to these questions are mostly a matter of opinion, on which even many professionals disagree. Doc's has been in the picks business for more than 35 years and our NHL picks are available throughout the NHL season.