How to bet on NHL games: A guide to picks and props

How to bet on NHL games
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

When betting on professional sports, like the NHL, it’s important to keep in mind that the process is going to be different for each sport. In this article, we’re going to go over how to bet on NHL games while taking you through the different kinds of bets and factors to keep in mind when placing these bets.

Types of Hockey Bets

When betting on hockey, five common types of bets are the Moneyline, Puck Line, Totals (Over/Under), 60 Minute line, and Grand Salami.


The Moneyline is as simple a bet as you can find when wagering on hockey: Who do you think is going to win?

All a bettor needs to do is choose the winner of the game, straight up, to win.

This isn’t as easy a bet as it is in the NBA or NFL considering there is much more parity in the NHL. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye on a team’s current trends heading into a particular matchup.

Puck Line

The Puck Line is also known as the spread, but the boilerplate margin is always based on a 1.5-goal spread. That means taking the favorite to win by two goals or more or taking the underdog to either lose by less than two goals or win outright.

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Totals (Over/Under)

Hockey totals are bets on the total number of goals scored by both teams in any given matchup. For example, the total goals line (or over/under) between the Lightning and Maple Leafs is set at 6.5, meaning the bettor will wager on whether or not they believe the two teams can score seven or more goals (the over), or six or fewer (the under).

60 Minute Line

The 60 Minute Line is similar to the Moneyline in that the bettor simply will try to decipher what the result will be. But what makes this different is that you’re only betting on what will happen after three periods of play only. So if you pick the Lightning to win on the 60 Minute Line but they win in overtime, you lose the bet.


Grand Salami

A Grand Salami bet is just like a Totals bet. However, a bettor is wagering on the total number of goals scored across an entire day’s worth of games — not just a single game.

If you want to learn about betting odds, read our Beginner’s Guide to Betting

How to bet on NHL games Bruins
May 6, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Taylor Hall (71) (second from left) celebrates his goal on Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov (52) with left-wing Brad Marchand (63), center Patrice Bergeron (37) and right-wing David Pastrnak (88) during the third period in game three of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Popular NHL Prop Bets

Like all other sports, hockey also offers prop bets where you can bet on certain player or team performances during the game.

First team/player to score

This is as straightforward as it gets. You pick a team or player to open the scoring and if they do, you win. What happens after doesn’t matter.

Total points recorded by player

A bettor wagers on whether or not a single player will record more or less points (goals and assists combined) than the assigned number.

Anytime goalscorer

Here, a bettor wagers on a player to score a goal at any point during a single game.

For more NHL betting content from Tailgate, check out our NHL betting picks


Variables to Monitor

Goalie Matchup: A hot goalie can stop even the best teams in their tracks, so it’s important to identify the goaltending matchup immediately before putting down your bets.

Home team – Home-ice advantage goes a long way in the NHL and the venue in which a game is played is often the great equalizer between two good teams.

Injuries/Lineups – Even the best teams in the NHL are impacted by injuries and if a star player or goaltender is on the shelf, the strategy when betting should change. Do your research to identify a team’s record when they’re without pivotal players and be wary of riding with one if they come out with overwhelming lineup changes.