The Vegas Golden Knights’ inaugural season changed the Valley in countless ways. They gave us a team to cheer for, a reason to fill our closets with black and gold and something to believe in when we needed it most. Of the many obvious things you can say about Las Vegas, perhaps the most unanimously agreed upon is that we love our home team.
Among the transformations seen within our community, the Knights have also changed NHL betting. “We had to expand our hockey menu last season to accommodate the demand. We added a bunch of different prop bets and options for in-game betting,” said Jason McCormick, Director of Race and Sports at Red Rock Casino.
Though the market for NHL betting is still smaller than that of the NFL, NBA or MLB, the Knights created a swell in hockey betting that shows no signs of slowing.
How to bet hockey
Betting hockey is different from betting other sports because it tends to be centered around the money line rather than the point spread. The money line allows bettors to wager on the winner of the game, regardless of the margin of victory. When betting the money line, you can put money on the underdog or the favorite, and the payout is respective to the odds.
Example: Let’s say the Vegas Golden Knights are -150 favorites against the Anaheim Ducks at +130. If you put $150 dollars on the Knights to win, you’ll win $100 if they succeed. Alternately, betting $100 on the Ducks would earn $130 if they were to win.
Other ways to bet the NHL
• Puck line
The NHL puck line is similar to the MLB run line, which combines a point spread with a money line, allowing bettors to wager plus or minus on 1.5 goals. Using the same example, the puck line odds might look something similar to this:
-1.5 (+160) Golden Knights
+1.5 (-180) Ducks
If you put $100 on the Knights, they would need to win by at least two goals for you to win $160. If they only won by one goal or lost outright, you’d lose your wager.
If you put $180 on the Ducks, they would need to win the game or lose by one goal for you to win $100.
McCormick said NHL prop bets became increasingly popular as Knights fever picked up last season. “We had to increase our prop bet offerings last season to reflect how many people wanted to make those bets,” McCormick said. Prop bets, or proposition bets, allow bettors to wager on the likelihood of specific things happening during the game. Possible prop bets could include:
Jonathan Marchessault to score a goal +300
Marc-André Fleury to make more than 27 saves -110
Vegas Golden Knights to score first goal of the game -120
Over/under totals in hockey are the same as in other sports. You bet on whether or not the game will go over or under a certain number of combined goals. You might see the O/U for Knights and Ducks similar to this:
Knights vs. Ducks over 6 (-110)
If the game scores 7 goals or more and you wagered $110 on the over, you’d win $100.
“The Knights exceeded our expectations across the board last year, so it’s going to be interesting to see what happens this year,” McCormick said. “Some big new additions to the roster are Max Pacioretty, from the Montreal Canadiens, and Paul Stastny, from the Winnipeg Jets. Two key losses are James Neal, who went to the Calgary Flames, and David Perron, who went to the St. Louis Blues.”
The Knights are among the favorites for the 2019 Stanley Cup, but they have a few things working to their disadvantage in the early half of the season.
“Nate Schmidt will be out for 20 games, so that could be tough. And they have an unfavorable road schedule over the next few months,” McCormick said. “We may see a slow start to the season because of these challenges and the Stanley Cup ‘hangover,’ but we’re still expecting to see another playoff run.”