Live betting is quickly becoming a more and more popular way to bet on NHL hockey, as gamblers love the ability to wager on the action at any point during the game.
Once the puck drops, everything changes. The score. Momentum. Injuries. And definitely the odds.
With just five or six goals scored in most NHL games, one goal can have a dramatic effect on the live betting odds. Even a simple power play can cause a significant change on the odds, since NHL teams typically score a goal on 20% or more of their chances with the man advantage.
But if you follow the action, pay attention and stick to a game plan, NHL live betting can open up some great money-making opportunities.
Here are five tips that will give you a greater chance at enjoying success in NHL live betting.
1. Determine what live bets you want to make before the game starts
Just like when you’re placing a bet on the pre-game lines, you should have a plan for what live bets you’re looking to make.
By knowing which team or other prop (Over or Under, team totals, etc.) you want to bet on before the game starts, you can monitor the live betting lines and the in-game action until you find the odds you want. It’ll also prevent you from making a knee-jerk reaction when you see a team come out flying or a big favorite go down a couple of goals early, which may lead you to place a bet you otherwise wouldn’t have made.
In other words, if you decide you like the Leafs to win the game before it begins but decide to wait to see some of the action before you place your bet, you won’t be as tempted to bet on the Penguins if the Leafs get an early lead – even if those odds on Pittsburgh look too good to be true.
With all the live betting options at your disposal, it’s easy to get carried away. Having a strategy going into the game will help keep you disciplined. Plus, it really sucks to lose a live bet on a team you didn’t want to bet on before the game began.
2. Wait for a better line
Often times, you may like a team on the moneyline or want to bet an Over/Under, but aren’t quite getting the odds you want on that bet. Or you might be a little late to the party and be looking to bet on a bet after the line has already moved a lot, losing a lot of the value.
In this case, rather than force a bet at inferior odds, you can just wait for the game to start. Unless the team or total you wanted to bet on pre-game gets off to a great start, you’ll almost always find a better line on the live betting odds.
You may even get lucky with the early action going against what you wanted to bet on, opening up a ton of value on the bet you wanted to make. If you liked the Capitals -200 on the moneyline but they give up an early goal on a bad bounce, you may suddenly have the chance to make that same bet at close to even odds. (You’ll just need Washington to overcome that early deficit.)
3. Look to hedge
Hedging, when you bet both sides of a game to guarantee yourself a profit regardless of the outcome, is a great NHL live betting strategy because it minimizes your risk.
Teams that score the first goal in an NHL game go on to win the game approximately two-thirds of the time. So, if the team you bet on scores the first goal, live betting lines will give you the opportunity to bet on the other team at a much better price than your original bet.
There’s a bit of a balancing act with hedging, though. You don’t want to routinely buy out of bets that have a really good chance of winning if you just let them ride. Try to develop a feel for how the game is going, and look to hedge out of bets to guarantee profit if you don’t feel so confident that your team can maintain its early lead.
4. Understand each team’s changing strategies
Teams’ strategies change during a game depending on the scoreboard, and you need to make sure you’re thinking along with them.
For example, a tight-checking team like the Devils may get a couple of early breaks and build a quick 2-0 lead. At this point, they’ll probably look to tighten things up and play a more defensive style of game to protect that early advantage. That should create some value on the Under – especially now that the live total is possibly a couple of goals higher than the total was before the game began.
If the game is tied midway through the third period in the regular season, teams will often get a lot more conservative and play for the single point they’re guaranteed for a regulation tie, then take their chances at the second point in overtime.
Knowing this, you might be able to find some great value in betting on the game to go to overtime (often at decent odds) or placing a live bet on the Under.
One more critical thing to remember when doing NHL live betting is that teams will pull their goalies for an extra attacker in the final minutes of regulation time if they are down by a goal or two. (They’ll usually pull them with a minute or so to go if down by one goal, but could pull them with two minutes left or more if they need two goals to tie the game.)
When this happens, getting +1.5 or +2.5 on the live betting puck line isn’t as attractive as it may look, but -1.5 or -2.5 (or the live Over) may suddenly be worth a shot at some fatter odds. After all, the winning team just needs to shoot the puck into an empty net to expand its lead once the other team removes its goalie.
Empty netters don’t happen as often as you may think (in 2016-17, empty netters accounted for just 4.33% of the total goals scored in the regular season), and you certainly shouldn’t rely on them to cover a live puck line or Over bet. But they’re definitely a wild card you have to be aware of.
5. Know each team’s strengths, weaknesses and tendencies
Over a long season, many teams develop strong tendencies when it comes to how they start or finish games.
The NHL’s website is a great resource for this information. They have pages that break down the number of goals each team has scored per period, their records when leading or trailing after one or two periods, records when scoring or allowing the first goal, and more.
You can uncover some valuable nuggets, like how the Penguins only outscored opponents 67-66 in first periods (they were actually outscored in first periods at home) but dominated second and third periods by a combined score of 205-147. Knowing this would allow you to look to live bet the Penguins after the first period, likely with better odds than before the game began and with their worst period already out of the way.
The Senators won 76.3 per cent of the games in which they scored first in 2016-17, so live betting on them when they went up 1-0 could give you an edge if the odds were -300 or lower. The Flames were 33-0-1 when leading after two periods, making them a virtual lock on the live betting lines if they held an advantage after 40 minutes.