Betting on NHL went through the roof in the 2017/18 season after the gambling mecca of Las Vegas gained its own franchise. Fans had pretty low expectations for the Vegas Golden Knights, as no expansion franchise had ever come close to seizing glory in its first year. But the Knights surprised everyone by soaring through the regular season, claiming many an impressive scalp and going all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. That saw sports fans in Las Vegas make huge profits by backing their local heroes, and it really shone a light on NHL betting.
Yet the Knights eventually lost out to the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals, and that gave many Delawareans cause for celebration. The Caps are the second most popular team in the First State, behind only the Philadelphia Flyers, and many residents cheered Washington’s first ever Stanley Cup title. Sports betting has now been legalized in Delaware, so betting on the Caps is expected to skyrocket in the state going forwards. Washington is among the favorites for glory next year, while the Flyers are also tipped to enjoy a strong season. This should ensure that the population of Delaware remains engaged and excited about hockey.
There is no shortage of games to bet on, as each team plays 82 times in the regular season, and the Stanley Cup playoffs continue for months. NHL is one of the most popular sports to bet on in Delaware and across the USA, and here are some broad betting categories to get to grips with:
A futures bet is a long-term wager on the outcome of a particular competition or market. The most common option is picking the Stanley Cup winner. Ahead of the 2017/18 season, defending champion Pittsburgh was the +900 (you may also see this listed as 9/1 fractional or 10.0 decimal odds) favorite, while the Edmonton Oilers and the Washington Capitals were both priced at +1000 (10/1 or 11.0). Odds of +900 indicates that a $100 stake would earn you a profit of $900. But you are by no means obliged to bet $100. You could lay down $20, for example, at odds of +900, and if your bet was successful you would earn a $180 profit.
Ahead of last season, the Vegas Golden Knights were the rank outsiders, priced at +20000 (200/1). That would see a $100 stake return you an astronomical $20,000 if you are successful. Many people in Vegas bet on the team for glory, and they came so close to pulling off a great surprise, but they ultimately fell just short.
Sportsbooks have already released futures odds on the 2019 Stanley Cup winner, and Tampa Bay has been installed as the +1100 (11/1 or 12.0) favorite, followed by the Nashville Predators at +1200 (12/1 0r 13.0). You can back the Caps at +1300, while the Flyers are out at +2800. The Vegas Golden Knights are expected to regress slightly, and they are priced at +1600 (16/1 or 17.0). If you want a long shot like the Golden Knights last season, you can find odds of +12500 (125/1 or 126.0) on the Ottawa Senators and the Vancouver Canucks for 2018/19 glory.
You are not limited to betting on the Stanley Cup winner though, as there are plenty of markets for you to choose from. You can bet on the Conference winners and the divisional winners. Sportsbooks will also offer lines on who will be named Rookie of the Year and who will claim the Hart Memorial Trophy for the most valuable player, for example. There are also quirkier options, such as: who will have the better save percentage this season? Cory Schneider at -130 (0.76/1 or 1.77) and Roberto Luongo at +110 (1.1/1 or 2.1).
This is the most common option when betting on an individual NHL match, and you simply have to choose which team you think will win. The Vegas Golden Knights were the -145 (0.68/1 or 1.69) favorites in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals series. A minus symbol tells you the amount you need to wager in order to win $100. So -145 means you would need to bet $145 to make a $100 profit. Washington was the +125 (1.25/1 or 2.25) underdog, so a $20 stake would have earned you $25. In the end, Washington secured a famous victory to wrap up a 4-1 series win, and anyone that bet on the underdog would have been jubilant.
The puckline in NHL betting is a handicap whereby one team starts on -1.5 points, and you have to decide if that team can win by two clear goals and cover the spread. If you think that team will either lose, tie or win by just one goal, you back its opponent at +1.5 points. As an example, let’s say the Red Wings are playing the Rangers at Madison Square Garden and the moneyline has Detroit at +110 and New York as the -130 favorite. The puckline would then be Detroit +1.5 (at odds of -175, 0.57/1 or 1.57) and New York -1.5 (at odds of +150, 1.5/1 or 2.5). That 1.5-point handicap has skewed it in Detroit’s favour, so it is now the favorite, and this suggests the odds compilers feel like New York will win it by a single goal. You might decide otherwise. The official puckline is always 1.5 points, but you sometimes see additional pucklines at 2.5 points and 3.5 points, and they carry even more extreme odds.
The sportsbooks will set a line of, say, 7.5 total goals in a game, and you have to decide whether the game will see more or fewer goals than that. Generally both outcomes (over and under) have similar odds, typically around -105 or -110. Sometimes you see alternative totals – 8.5 or 6.5 when the official line is 7.5, for example – whereby the odds are more dramatic, and they too can be lucrative.
This is pretty self-explanatory and you are simply betting on what you think the final score will be. The odds are far more attractive on these outcomes, because it is difficult to predict. Sometimes it is a good idea to hedge your bets and back a few correct score outcomes, such as New York 4-3 Detroit, New York 4-2 Detroit and New York 3-2 Detroit.
NHL fans can also choose from a huge range of intriguing special betting options, known as prop bets (short for proposition bets). You can bet on which team will score first, or who will win the first, second or third period. There are also plenty of interesting player props, such as how many saves will Frederick Anderson make (over or under 28.5)? Will Vladamir Taresenko score two or more goals in the game? Will Martin Jones record a shutout in the game? These are all interesting options to help you find value when betting on NHL and they are well worth considering if you have a detailed knowledge of the sport.
You can bet on multiple teams in the same wager, and this is known as a parlay. Let’s say you think New York will beat Detroit, Philadelphia will beat Vancouver and Washington will beat Tampa Bay. You can place a parlay bet on all three to win, and the combined odds will be pretty attractive. If any of the three loses, your bet is busted, but if they all win you will enjoy a handsome reward. A parlay can be a good option when trying to find more value on a couple of favorites, as you can get closer to even money by putting them together in a combo. It is also a way to get rich quick if you are gifted at picking the results of several games.