NHL Prop Bets
Wagering on hockey is already a fun and exciting proposition due to the fact that you can win major money. But you can really spice up your hockey betting action by making some juicy prop bets.
As many bettors know, prop wagers aren't made on the final outcome of a game. Instead, they deal with various side propositions such as individual player performances, scoring occurrences, season outlooks and basically anything that a sportsbook can think of. Because hockey prop bets make the sport much more exciting, it's worth taking a close look at some examples and strategy.
How Hockey Prop Bets work
If you already understand the basics of NHL betting, then prop betting shouldn't be too difficult. This is especially the case if you've got a good knowledge of the moneyline. Before we continue, let's check out an NHL prop bet example:
Which Team will score the First Goal
St. Louis Blues +115
Vancouver Canucks -120
If you think that Vancouver will score the first goal of the game, you'd be risking $120 to win $100 in profit. St. Louis is the underdog to score first in this wager since you are risking $100 to earn a $115 profit.
You'll see a lot of hockey prop bets that revolve around individual players too. Before the NHL season begins, sportsbooks will release wagers like the following:
Who will have the Better Save Percentage This Season
Cory Schneider (New Jersey) -130
Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks) +110
Schneider is slightly favored by the sportsbook because bettors would need to risk $130 to win $100. If Luongo has the better save percentage, those wagering on him would earn $110 for every $100 bet.
A very common style of NHL prop bets is called futures. Most futures deal with a team's odds of winning the Stanley Cup, and these are made before the season starts. A lot of sportsbooks list futures in terms of fractional odds, rather than the moneyline. Here's a futures example using just a few teams:
Odds of winning the Stanley Cup
Chicago Blackhawks 9/2
Boston Bruins 11/2
Pittsburgh Penguins 15/2
L.A. Kings 25/1
Dallas Stars 45/1
Calgary Flames 70/1
Edmonton Oilers 100/1
Toronto Maple Leafs 110/1
With fractional odds, the back number indicates how much you're risking while the number in front indicates what you stand to win. So for the Chicago Blackhawks, you would bet $2 to win $9 in profit. A bet on the long shot Maple Leafs would require you to risk $1 to win $110.
Prop Betting Strategy
One thing that makes NHL prop betting so tough is that you're dealing with more uncertainty than regular game lines. Using futures as an example, even the favorite to win the Stanley Cup could suffer a rash of key injuries throughout the year. So you have to be prepared for variance and spread your bankroll around, rather than putting it into a few big prop wagers.
Another aspect to consider here is to avoid making bets that are impossible to beat in the long run. Here's a quick example of what we mean by this:
Which Team will win the First Faceoff of the Stanley Cup Finals
New York Rangers -110
Boston Bruins -110
As you can see, there's actually a house edge in this bet. Wagering on either the Rangers or Bruins requires you to front $100 to win a $110 profit. Since this wager is more against the house, rather than other bettors, you're going to lose money in the long-run. Plus game-starting faceoffs are such a minuscule part of hockey, and it's hard to do enough quality research to overcome the house edge.
This brings us to one final point in how you should only make NHL prop bets that you can extensively research. It's possible to gain a solid edge on a bet involving which team will win the first period. However, you can't do a lot of quality research on the color of shirt that a Stanley Cup Finals national anthem singer will be wearing.
So don't get too crazy with hockey prop bets. Instead, focus on ones you can gain an edge on and do your homework.