Hockey is one of the most popular sports in North America, and so is betting on it! But unless you’re already an expert, it can be difficult to successfully read the often complex betting lines found in hockey news articles or books. Follow our simple key steps to easily interpret hockey betting lines so you can place winning bets with confidence!
Step One: Read The Introduction
Each hockey article or book will begin with a brief introduction. This is your opportunity to learn what the book or article is about and what kind of information you can expect to find inside. The introduction should be read and understood prior to beginning the actual content, so take your time with it.
Step Two: Understand The Grammar And Use The Right Phrases
Hockey writers and editors will use certain phrases and words frequently when describing the game, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with these terms. For example, you’ll often see terms such as “against”, “starting”, “second”, and “penalty” used – all relative to the hockey game itself. Knowing the definitions of these words and how to use them correctly will put you in good stead when interpreting betting lines. Familiarize yourself with these terms:
- Odds – These are the odds that are published for a given event. They are generally found at the top of a hockey betting article or on the web page that features those odds.
- Moneyline – This is the most basic and commonly used of all hockey betting types, and it’s easy to understand: The ‘moneyline’ bet pays off if the game ends in a draw. So if you bet on the home team against the visitor team, and they end up tying (no winner) at the end of regulation, you’ll win your bet. The moneyline odds are listed at the top of every betting article, so keep your eyes open for them.
- Halo – The ‘halo’ or ‘halcyon’ bet is named after the legendary “Halcyon Game”, one of the most significant and legendary games in hockey history. It was played on February 9th, 1968, and it ended in a 4–4 tie, the first time in NHL history that a game had ended in a tie. The ‘Halo’ bet is similar to the moneyline bet, except it also accounts for ties in the final score. The halo odds are also sometimes found at the top of an article, so keep your eyes open for them.
- Total Goals – This is a bet placed by a sportsbook on the total amount of goals that will be scored in a game. Usually, there will be two sets of odds, one for under and one for over. You’ll have to decide whether you think the over/under will go over or under, depending on which set of odds you follow.
- Total Wins – This is a bet placed by a sportsbook on the total amount of wins that will be accrued by one of the participating teams. It is similar to the total goals bet, except there is no over/under component to it.
- Goalie Performance – This is a bet placed by a sportsbook on the performance of the goalies for the respective teams involved in the game. It is similar to the total goals and total wins bets, but the goalie performance bet pays off in the opposite situation: If one of the goalies allows more goals than expected, you’ll win your bet. If he proves to be the better goalie and prevents the expected amount of goals, you’ll win as well.
- Over/Under – These are bets placed by a sportsbook on the total amount of goals that will be scored in a game, either above or below the posted OVER/UNDER line. For example, if you’re betting on the Montreal Canadiens (under) at -115 against the Dallas Stars (over), you’re assuming that the total amount of goals scored will be less than 115.
- Moneyline Odds – These are the odds that are published for a given event. They are generally found at the top of a hockey betting article or on the web page that features those odds.
- Half Time/Full Time – This is a bet placed by a sportsbook on whether the first half (or all) of the game will end in a draw. The odds for this bet will appear at the top of an article followed by the half-time or full-time designation.
As you can see, all of these phrases and words are important, as they will help you correctly understand the meaning of what you’re reading. Familiarize yourself with these terms and phrases so you can easily understand what the author is trying to say.
Step Three: Look For Trends And Stats
Hockey is a fast-paced game, and so is betting on it. It’s therefore important to keep abreast of the latest stats and trends relating to the game. You’ll look for articles that cite the following:
- Home vs. Away Team Results
- Goal Difference
- Power Rankings
- Betting Trends
- Advanced Stats
- Scoring Charts
As you can see, there are a lot of stats and trends out there. If you want to get ahead of the curve, you’ll need to diligently read news articles and books relating to hockey. Familiarize yourself with these stats and trends so you can easily understand what is happening in the world of hockey betting.
Step Four: Look For Brackets
When you’re looking at betting odds, you’ll often see a set of brackets around the odds. These are there to help the reader keep track of where they are in the listing, so they don’t miss out on any important info relating to their bets. For example, if you find yourself in the following situation:
Dallas Stars (8.5) at New York Rangers (11.5)
You’ll want to make sure you hover your mouse over the top of the eighth column to find the stars (8.5) – that’s your bracket for the New York Rangers. Similarly, the following situation:
Montreal Canadiens (9) at Boston Bruins (12)
Will create a bracket for the Montreal Canadiens, giving you the option to easily locate that team’s odds. You can identify these brackets and keep track of which numbers correspond to which team by using the color-coding provided:
- Underdog (yellow)
- Even Match (green)
- Favorites (red)
As you can see, color-coding makes this system quite convenient. Keep your eyes open for these brackets as they can help you quickly locate the winning teams and odds!
Step Five: Look For The Finishing
The last step in the process of reading hockey betting lines is simply to look for the ‘finishing’ (whether it’s a win, loss, or draw):
- Wins – These are the wins that will be tallied by one of the participating teams. If you bet on the visiting team and they win, you’ll win your bet.
- Losses – These are the losses suffered by one of the participating teams. If you bet on the home team and they lose, you’ll lose your bet.
- Ties – These are the ties that will be decided by the game’s end. In the event of a tie, there will be no winner, so you’ll have to decide whether you think the game will end in a draw or a tie based on the half-time or full-time designation found at the top of the article.
- Draws – These are the draws that will be decided by the end of the game. In the event of a draw, there will be no winner, so you’ll have to decide whether you think the game will end in a draw or a tie based on the half-time or full-time designation found at the top of the article.
As you can see, this can be quite a difficult task, as there is often no clear-cut winner when it comes to a game that ends in a tie. To solve this conundrum, some people will suggest backing one of the participating teams in the belief that they’ll eventually win. History has shown that this strategy doesn’t always work out as planned, and it can leave you with some bitter aftertaste. Better to avoid this kind of bet if you’re not prepared to lose money on it!