Hockey 101

If you wager on sports because you view it as an investment, and you should, and you want to win money and find value in sports handicapping, then do not miss the NHL season. Hockey provides incredible value to the sports bettor because there are so many games being played on most nights, that the odds makers don’t always have the time to be as careful with them as they are with football or basketball.
The NHL season competes with the very popular sports of football and basketball. Many more people are betting football and basketball, so the oddsmakers must be extremely careful to keep their point spreads “tight” or as close to reality in the public’s mind as possible. They spend less time, by far, on handicapping hockey. Without a doubt, the best value on a sports betting board on a weeknight in October is going to be on the hockey card. There may be one football game and one baseball playoff game going on, but that’s about it. Pro Basketball is just getting underway and college hoops hasn’t kicked off yet.
The sharpest numbers (the tightest) will always be on the football game and then the baseball playoff game simply because so many people are betting on them. Hockey lines are less scrutinized by oddsmakers because they just do not have the time to properly set them.
Yes, generally hockey lines are mostly correct, but there is a lot of value to be had because there are always some games where the lines are just wrong. They’re not usually wrong as to the side, but rather give one or the other team too much credit, or too little credit, for their ability. There is a lot of play in the lines in hockey because there is a lot of play between reality and the public’s perception of reality.
That being said, hockey is bet the same way other sports are wagered. There is moneyline, like in baseball, which dictates the relative strength of each team against their opponent. There is a totals play, will the total go over or under the total score set by the odds makers? There is a puck line (called the Run Line in baseball) where a bettor can give or receive 1 ½ pucks. That’s usually done when a very good team like the Detroit Red Wings is playing a very bad team like the Atlanta Thrashers. One can take the Red Wings on the puck line, where winning by two goals is a requirement. However, rather than playing a money line of approximately -200, the bettor can give up 1 ½ goals and get the Red wings at about plus 155.
Hockey offers a patient player more value than the more carefully scrutinized sports like football, playoff baseball and basketball.