Casino Canada will tell you straight out: Betting on hockey is difficult, fun and irresistible. But, hey, if you grew up in Canada, you’re well familiar with NHL-themed pick ’em contests, brackets, office pools and simply betting (and winning) against that one annoying Calgary Flames fan. That’s a first step to actually leveraging your passion and knowledge for Canada’s game into making a few extra dollars at the sportsbook by betting on hockey.
Yet again, the “American way” tends to dominate betting on professional sports in North America and Europe, including hockey. This means that during preseason, the hockey bettor will be presented with player props such as “Top Goal-Scorer for Season” and “To Win NHL MVP Award”, plus team futures like “To Win the Stanley Cup”, “To Win Conference” and “To Win Division” for the latter.
From night to night, a few dozen lines and player props are offered at the bigger sportsbooks both online and in the “real world”. On any given regular-season, playoff or Stanley Cup game, the bettor may wager on a money line bet, thus picking either team in a given match to win; take or give points, in the fashion of NFL point spreads, on either team; or bet on the total number of goals scored in the match, usually called the over/under in most sports betting but sometimes known as “total betting” in hockey.
For hockey bettors, a traditional wrinkle called “3-way betting” is added. Three-way betting is essentially a money line which also allows wagering on the tie. An added feature here is that only the scores *at the end of regulation* matter. If the given game is 4-4 when the third period ends, the tie bet in 3-way betting pays out.
Money line and 3-way betting wagers are typically expressed in what is now known as (incredible though it may sound) American system, with potential wins expressed in base-100 notation. A typical line would read something like
This money line means that a bet of $100 on the Senators earns the winning bettor $150. The minus sign preceding the 180 on the Winnipeg side means that a wager of $180 on the Jets nets $100. On point spread bets, winning bets are usually paid at 1/1 odds minus the 10% standard vig.
Any sportsbook with betting on hockey in the catalogue will certainly be offering some other standard proposition bets, such as betting on goals scored per quarter or win/loss/tie on each individual period.
And live in-game betting in hockey? You bet your Conn Smythe! Unfortunately, possession time and goal-scoring, which happen incredibly quickly in hockey, therefore necessarily limiting the options available to those betting live in-game. Without the stoppages in play of baseball, cricket or football, without the long times between a result as in soccer, hockey live in-game betting offers little more than shifting money-line odds, props on “Which Team Scores Next” and “What Player Scores Next”, et cetera.
Casino Canada will tell you this with regard to live in-game betting in hockey, however: Watch your bets! Live betting can become quite a sinkhole and, with the speed of professional club and international hockey, this sort of wagering can drain the money quickly.