The NHL is trying to create more space and a greater identity as one of the top team sports in North America. The drama of the playoffs could create more and more fans, and betting could be part of that process, too. Here’s a guide on how to bet on hockey.

Betting Moneylines

Moneyline betting is based on the actual win-loss result, not the point spread. If you bet on a team to either win or lose the game, regardless of the margin, you’re making a moneyline bet. When you see the listing of a given moneyline bet, you might see the New York Rangers at -140 and the Montreal Canadiens at +125. What that means is you have to wager $140 on New York to win $100 on the Rangers, and you would win $125 on a $100 bet on the underdogs from Montreal. The favorite is indicated by the ‘+’ sign and the underdog is identified by the ‘-’ sign.

This is the most popular form of wagering in the NHL, because empty-net goals can change the point spread of a game just like that, and bettors have learned not to trust that sort of thing. If you have a 1.5-goal spread and a one-goal game turns into a two-goal game due to an empty-netter with 30 seconds left, a lot of players are going to be angry. Moneyline bets on the NHL odds retain the trust of bettors more than other kinds of bets.

Totals

There’s another kind of hockey bet: betting on totals in the NHL. This process is also quite simple. The purpose here is to bet on the total number of goals that will be scored by both teams in the game. Your sportsbook will set the over/under number of goals, and you bet on whether you think the overall number will go over or under that set total.

For example, let’s use New York and Montreal again. You could see a total in your sportsbook of 4.5. All you need to do, then, is to make a choice: Do you think the final number of goals in Rangers-Canadiens will end up being over or under the listed total. Therefore, if the final score is 5-3 or 3-2, it’s an over. If the final score is 2-0 or 3-1, it’s an under.

You have to do a little homework when looking at the teams involved, considering issues such as who their goaltender is, how they try to cover the ice on defense, what’s their preferred approach in terms of setting up scoring chances (forecheck, counterattack, neutral-zone trap), and like considerations. You need to then arrive at a decision in terms of the type of result you are looking for. Does a team’s style play into a high-scoring or low-scoring game?

Futures

Futures betting is what you think it is: You are betting on a long-term proposition, such as who will win a division, a conference, or the Stanley Cup itself. This can also refer to players and awards, such as the MVP of the NHL or which rookie will win the Calder Trophy as the best rookie in the league. These NHL odds are normally listed as fractional NHL odds, such as 9/1, 12/1 or 25/1. That means you’ll win 9, 12 or 25 times to one if your pick is right.

Futures can be found in your sportsbook during the season and in the offseason as well. That means you have to stay current with what is going on in the NHL.