“Perhaps the best piece of NHL betting advice anyone ever gave me,” says one veteran ice hockey reporter, “is that you should bet with your head, not your heart. I’m a guy from Montreal, where the game originated, for Pete’s sake, but rarely would my NHL bet include backing the Canadiens.”
A similar theory works for others less emotionally involved, which explains the enormous popularity of NHL betting and explains why NHL odds are so eagerly perused throughout the punishing 82-game regular season. In other words, over the course of such a prolonged campaign, the best teams tend to emerge at the top of the standings while history shows that shock results tend to pepper the fixtures less frequently than in other top-flight sports.
Indeed, there is case for saying that following a subtle rule change in 2008-09, when teams began playing eight less games at divisional level, that NHL betting has been embraced by a much wider audience.
“Betting on the NHL was always a popular pastime for the game’s millions of devoted followers,” reports one online bookmaker, but over the last few years, punters have realised how effective the league’s most powerful teams actually are. This has resulted in a surge in ice hockey betting and a significant increase in the number of NHL bets we take, particularly from UK-based customers.”
It’s certainly true that there is enormous scope for taking advantage of what remain generous-looking NHL betting odds. Midway through the campaign, with the standings beginning to have an air of certainty about them, it’s still possible to back Pittsburgh to continue their fine run of results and, in the final analysis, win the Eastern Conference. At present, the Penguins are 5/2 in the NHL betting to take the eastern title.
Elsewhere, the ice hockey betting enthusiasts can get a massive 13/2 about Philadelphia upsetting predictions and winning the coveted Eastern Conference, although such odds reflect punters’ level of support. Nevertheless, when compared with other sports, NHL odds are attractive (in England’s much-vaunted Premier League, for example, Chelsea are just 11/8 to be crowned champions again despite having played just 15 league fixtures).
Not surprisingly, NHL betting tips are much sought-after by serious and casual punters alike, while the propensity for armchair enthusiasts to engage in live NHL betting has risen severalfold thanks to the internet.
Online NHL betting has been driven by several factors: generous-looking NHL odds, widespread broadband internet access, a raft of free bets offered by online bookmakers and a general belief that the predictor can bet with a level of certainty not available to him in other sports.
Accordingly, NHL betting odds are avidly analysed from the first to the final 82 games played by each of the teams during the regular season.
“Ice hockey betting has developed into a global phenomenon,” says the respected head of one odds comparison firm, “which highlights the extent to which punters will go to unearth value. We’ve seen a marked increase in the number of subscribers wanting NHL betting tips and in the free bet usage of thousands of punters. As NHL betting shows no sign of diminishing – not before the Stanley Cup final next year, at least, we confidently expect online NHL betting in particular to remain a feature of the astute punters’ armoury.”
Placing an NHL bet is as straight forward as backing any other sport – and there are a multitude of markets from which to select. Naturally, NHL betting odds vary according to which sides are playing, but while the game is accessible online and via live TV, so the numbers having a bet on NHL outcomes will continue to rise.
With a series of seasonal highlights yet to come, so punters will prepare to stake a succession of NHL bets on which sides will emerge victorious in the Eastern and Western Conferences. Many believe that’s when the ice hockey campaign begins to get really serious – when the Stanley Cup is at stake.