Few sports fans are as passionate about their teams and sport as hockey fans. Hockey enthusiasts live for the sound of the skates on the ice and feel a sense of anxiety at every shot on the net. Hockey is already a riveting and engaging sport; if you want to make every one-timer and incredible save mean more, consider placing a wager on any game with a sportsbook app or site.
But how do you bet on hockey, and what are the best places to wager in Pennsylvania? We will answer all that and more for you, so the next hockey game you watch will have even higher stakes.
How to Bet on the NHL
Before you place any money down, you should understand betting terminology and what odds mean. The second you open up a sportsbook app, it will bombard you with numbers and odds. If you comprehend these numbers, you can wager with confidence and hopefully win some money.
Moneyline bets are the easiest to understand for new gamblers. When you place a moneyline wager, you are predicting that a specific outcome will occur. There are no safety nets or other conditions. The trick to understanding moneylines is to understand how the sportsbooks list a team’s odds.
To better understand moneyline odds, we will use an imaginary example. In this situation, the Pittsburgh Penguins are finishing off a road trip against the streaking Carolina Hurricanes. The Penguins have struggled as of late, and the casino pegs them as the underdog in this matchup.
On the Penguins’ side, the casino lists the team’s moneyline as +160, indicating they are not as likely to win. +160 means you will win $160 with a $100 bet if the Penguins pull off the upset. You can bet any amount of money, and the payout will change proportionally.
For the favored Hurricanes, you will see the moneyline as -143. Any moneyline with a minus sign indicates the casino believes the team to be the favorite, and in this case, you will need to wager $143 to win back $100.
Due to the low-scoring nature of hockey and the high variability in outcomes, called puck luck by fans, lines will often not be as varied as in a sport like professional basketball. Even in matchups between high-powered teams and those in a rebuild, the teams will score only a few goals.
If you are not comfortable with calculating how the moneyline changes based on your wager, consider using a bet calculator, so you know exactly what you stand to win.
Every sport has a point spread you can bet on, but the spread works a bit differently in hockey. In a sport like association basketball, the point spread moves spending on how favored a team is. The casinos may favor a strong squad like Cleveland by 10.5 points against a weaker club like Orlando. This allows these wagers to roughly have a 1:1 return on investment for bettors. With the low scores of NHL games, this type of spread is not tenable.
In hockey, gamblers often call the spread the puck line, and it typically sits at 1.5 goals. The casino writes the favored team’s puck line as -1.5 and the underdog as +1.5. The return on investment is where the puck line differentiates itself from other point spreads, as you will often win back more or less than your initial wager. We will look at an example to simplify this concept.
The Philadelphia Flyers are starting a homestand and are taking on the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets. The sportsbooks favor the Flyers, and they have a puck line of -1.5. The Flyers are not setting the world on fire though. So, many voices inside the casino think this game will be decided by one goal.
Despite being favored, if you take the Flyers with the puck line, you will see the odds as +190, meaning you receive $190 if you bet $100 and win. Normally you expect a favored team to have odds beginning with a minus sign.
On the opposite side of the equation are the Blue Jackets, and if you take their puck line of +1.5, the casino will give you odds of -250. -250 means you must wager $250 to win back $100.
If you are not comfortable with wagering on the outcome of a single game but still want to join in on the gambling action, consider making future wagers. Futures are bets concerning the whole of a season, whether it is about a team or a player.
If you feel like this is the Flyers’ year to raise the Stanley Cup, you can place money on that outcome at the start of the season. Or you may make a more modest wager on the number of goals a team will score or if a team will hit a set number of wins throughout the season.
For player futures, you can wager on a player winning an award or accumulating a certain amount of points during the regular season. If you believe Sidney Crosby has one last run at the Hart Trophy for MVP left in him, you can place some money down on that outcome.
A parlay is a combination of several bets into a single wager. If the individual wagers are all correct, you receive an increased payout, but if even one leg of the bet fails, you lose your initial wager. Parlays are high-risk, high-reward gambles.
Some of the most enjoyable wagers during a game are prop bets: PA residents have several options for choosing a prop bet. These wagers typically involve a player scoring a goal or accumulating enough shots on goal.
Where to Bet on NHL Games Online in Pennsylvania
Now that you understand the basics of NHL betting, we can look at some of the primary locations to lay your money down.
When it comes to betting in Pennsylvania, why not use a sportsbook with ties to the state? BetRivers is the official app of the Rivers casino in Pittsburgh, home to the Penguins. They offer generous bonus odds on NHL games and remain one of the best places to wager on the NHL. When you are looking for NHL games to bet on in PA, BetRivers should be one of the first stops.
FanDuel remains one of the biggest sportsbooks in Pennsylvania, and its offerings for the NHL are excellent. The company began as a daily fantasy site before opening up a sportsbook.
An Australian company full of interesting gimmicks, PointsBet allows you to partake in its innovative Points Betting system. With Points Betting, the more you predict correctly, the more you win, but the inverse remains true.
If you want to wager money at a casino with ties to Las Vegas, the BetMGM app is an excellent place to look. BetMGM is the official app of the MGM Grand casino, and it often offers deals and bonuses for new players.
List of Online Sportsbooks in PA
- Caesars Sportsbook
- Barstool Sportsbook
Is It Legal to Bet on Hockey in Pennsylvania?
Yes! Pennsylvania allowed its residents to virtually gamble since 2017, when Gov. Tom Wolf signed House Bill 271. The bill allowed online sportsbooks to open up in the Keystone State.
Pennsylvania law dictates you must be 21 years old and reside in Pennsylvania to gamble on sports. When signing up for a sportsbook app, the company will ask you to confirm your identity with an address and social security number.
NHL Gambling Advice
If you are new to gambling or want a few pieces of advice, we will help you better understand how to win more and minimize risk.
First, you should set a budget for gambling and always stick with it. There is no easier way to clean out your bankroll than by wagering over budget on things you believe are sure to hit. There is no such thing as certainty in sports betting, and no wager is worth going over budget.
Information is the king in the world of gambling, and you need to arm yourself with as much data as possible before making a wager. Research the trends of the two teams, potential absences from injury, or historical context. If a betting line seems too good to be true, you may want to ensure you have not overlooked a crucial detail.
Do not go overboard making multi-leg parlays that have a low chance of hitting. While you may want to try and hit a long shot with high odds, it is unlikely to happen and can severely drain your bankroll.
Stick to moneylines when you are a beginner, as puck lines are tricky to navigate and predict correctly. Once you have more familiarity with betting on hockey, you can try a puck line.
Conclusion: Bet on NHL Games Online in Pennsylvania
While hockey is an already tense and enthralling sport, a few responsible wagers on the course of a game can turn it up to the next level. If you want to put some skin in the game this NHL season, consider visiting any sportsbook and signing up today.