What the Numbers Mean When Betting on Hockey

Everyone enjoys betting, and when it comes to sports, people love placing wagers on their favorite team(s) to win. The problem is that not all sports betting is created equal, and understanding the numbers can help you make smarter decisions and avoid making costly mistakes.

In this blog post, we’ll identify some important concepts and information you should know about betting on hockey. As the name suggests, hockey is a sport played by two teams of skaters that battle to get the puck into the opposing team’s net for a point. The object is to score more goals than the other team.

The Basics Of Hockey Betting

Hockey betting has a fairly high house edge because of the nature of the game. Simply put, the house edge is the advantage taken by the bookmaker or casino when handling your wagers. The house edge on hockey bets varies from place to place, but on the whole it’s usually around 10% to 15% per bet. You’ll rarely find a great bookie or casino that offers a lower house edge than that, so be prepared to pay more to get your winnings back.

The other issue that plagues almost all sports is the legality of various activities. In hockey, fixing or hacking a game is considered a form of foul play and is strictly prohibited by the rules. In other words, you can’t bet on whether or not a player will score a goal because you know that the outcome is already predetermined. You’ll also struggle to find legitimate betting options on certain days due to the Canada Soccer scandal which prevented many professional sports team owners and executives from being able to legally bet on their games.

Despite the disadvantages, sportsbooks still manage to pull in a decent amount of money from hockey bets annually. In fact, in 2019, there were 1.4 million bets placed on the Vancouver Canucks alone, which amounts to approximately $40 million annually. This is compared to approximately $30 million being placed on the Cincinnati Reds in 2019 and $20 million being placed on the Los Angeles Kings in 2018.

Money Management

Unlike most sports, the amount of money wagered on hockey is generally minimal. In fact, most people who enjoy betting on hockey do so only when there’s a huge underdog or a sure thing. Otherwise, they’ll choose some other sport to bet on. The key to successful betting on hockey is knowing how to manage your money safely and effectively. Specifically, you must keep in mind three things when betting on hockey:

  • Your budget
  • Your risk appetite
  • The line movement

Let’s explore each one in detail.


When you set your budget beforehand, it’s a lot easier to control your spending and ensure that you don’t overspend. In the case of hockey betting, your budget should be fairly low. Otherwise, you’ll find it hard to resist the urge to throw large wagers on the board just to satisfy a gambling craving. Low budget generally implies that you’re betting on the underdog, and in this case you’ll need to watch out for fake accounts and suspicious activity.

If you have a legitimate reason to be betting big – such as backing a big-name player or a popular team – then you can bet big without causing concern. You might even consider using a bookmaker that has large quantities of cash on hand, otherwise known as liquidity. This way, you’ll be sure to get your winnings when the time comes. Having extra cash on hand is also good for an occasional big bet that you might want to make. Remember, though, that when you bet big, you increase your risk of losing.

Risk Appetite

The risk appetite of an individual gambler will determine how likely they are to lose or win on any given bet. A high risk appetite implies that the gambler is willing to take a lot of chances and possibly over-bet. This is usually the case with professional gamblers who want to prove a certain point or make a profit from gambling. In the context of hockey betting, a high risk appetite can be a good thing as long as you’re aware of the consequences.

As a general rule of thumb, you should only bet on the underdog or a team you’re confident will win. Additionally, you should only bet money you can afford to lose. The higher the risk appetite, the more you’ll need to risk. A risky bet should serve as an exception and not a regular activity. Remember that when you place a risky bet, you’re gambling and thus accept the possibility of losing the bet. This may cause you to become discouraged when your team happens to lose, but as long as you stay within your budget and follow the rules, you’ll have no reason to worry.

Line Movement

The line movement of a team throughout a game is a pretty good indicator of how much the public thinks the game will end up being settled in favor of the team. The more the line moves, the more the public is expecting the team to win. On the other hand, if the line doesn’t move a lot throughout the game, it generally means that the public isn’t expecting much controversy and thinks the game will be close.

In the case of hockey, a team that is traveling to play a game against their opponent usually has the advantage. This is mainly due to the fact that they haven’t played the game themselves and thus don’t know how well their opponent will play. Essentially, the line moves in the direction the public is predicting and taking into consideration all the moving parts of the game: strength of the opponent, travel time, temperature, and the like. When this happens, it’s usually a good idea to bet on the underdog to get the best line and maximize your chances of winning.

The key takeaway from this is that the line movement of a game will determine how much value you should place on each outcome. For example, if the line starts at –110 and moves to –105, you can assume that there’s a good chance the game will end in a draw with each point being worth 5 cents each. In this case, you should probably go with the underdog, as he’ll provide the better line and greater value.

In conclusion, knowing how to bet on hockey is fairly easy, but since the game is fairly complex, it’s not advisable for the average person to try and venture into this sport. Instead, if you have a specific reason to bet on hockey – such as backing a player or team you admire, or just want to make some money at a game you know nothing about – then go for it. Just make sure that you’re aware of the pitfalls and have a strategy in mind before placing your first bet.