Last Updated on 09/23/2022
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
If you are looking for a one-stop guide to finding the best hockey odds, you’ve come to the right place. Here at TheGruelingTruth.com we have compiled this page to tell you all you need to know.
If you are looking for the best hockey odds NHL or worldwide, then you’ll need to know what to do so you never miss out on a value bet. This will apply to all hockey markets you are likely to find at a sportsbook, including hockey spreads.
If you are used to using the same sportsbook every time you place a bet, it might not occur to you that you might not be getting the best betting odds available. If you don’t look anywhere else you may not know that you could have made so much more from each of your winning bets by just looking around.
Or, if you are new to hockey betting you might think that all the sportsbooks have ‘pretty much’ the same odds. But if you did take time to look around, you might well find that odds vary a bit more than you thought, and that those small differences can make a big difference over time.
There is of course, the issue that looking around different sportsbooks can take time, and the small difference in odds might not be worth all the hassle. But, if you add up what you could have made over the course of a month if you bet regularly, or maybe a longer period if you don’t – you could find that you missed out on a tidy sum.
As you would expect, sportsbooks invest a lot of effort in determining the hockey odds you see when you log into your account. There are a great number of factors that contribute to the figures you see, and for obvious reasons, much of the tsunami of data that is available is crunched by computers, with minimal human input.
These will work out what the relative probability is, given all of the factors, of various results occurring in a market, and that so all eventualities balance each other out. This complicated business is also known as making a book, and why the term bookmaker is used at the top of this section. These calculations have to be precise, because errors can cost the sportsbook dearly.
There are a number of reasons why the hockey odds you see at ‘sportsbook A’ won’t match the hockey odds you see at ‘sportsbook B’, but the most common is when the ‘book’ we mentioned above becomes unbalanced. To use a quick example, imagine a team near the top of the standings is playing one near the bottom. You would expect the higher ranked team to have lower odds of winning and attract the greatest number of bets (as people tend to bet on favorites for obvious reasons).
If for some reason, a large number of bets started to come in for the underdog, the sportsbook would have to lower their odds to make the bet less attractive to bettors. If this has happened at one sportsbook but not others, then the odds for the same market would be different at each one.
It’s not just the odds that can vary between sportsbooks, but the format you can view them in. This is why when you see a horse racing operator, or a sportsbook that operates in a different country, what you are seeing might not make any sense. You can sometimes switch between these formats by changing the settings on your sportsbook, but if you can’t, you can use a betting odds converter instead.
Here is a quick explanation of the different odds formats:
Decimal odds look quite simple to use, and this is why they are used as the default across a great number of international operators. The odds are represented by a number, and the higher the number, the higher the odds so it’s easy to see at a glance who is more likely to win. So, in decimal odds a big favorite might have odds of 1.75 (1 being the lowest possible) and an underdog might sit at 8.4.
Returns are easy to work out as the odds -1 will give you your potential win per dollar. So, if you were, in this case, to bet $1 on the underdog, you would win $7.40 plus your dollar stake back.
Fractional odds are more commonplace in the UK and are often used in horse racing. They are expressed in two different ways that both mean exactly the same, for instance 3-1 is identical to 3/1. So for every $1 you bet, if you win you’d receive $3 back plus your $1 stake. If you think that they look simpler to understand than decimal odds, you would only be right up to a point. While odds like 3/1 or even 100/1 might look simple, but it gets more complicated, and when you see odds like 15/2 and 13/8, it can be more difficult to work out which odds are best.
These are default odds displayed at most US sportsbooks so might not need any explanation to experienced bettors, so here is a brief overview for those who might be new. American odds are a simple representation of how much you would have to wager to win $100. The favorite will normally be indicated by a minus sign, and the underdog by a plus. So, if the favorite had odds of -150 a successful bet of $150 would win you $100 (plus your stake returned of course). For an underdog, at +200, a successful $100 bet would get you $200.
As a final note, while you can convert decimal and fractional odds to American odds yourself (and vice versa), it is much easier to use one of the online calculators used for this purpose.
Expected value is something that is often used by people who use specific betting strategies, but can also be useful to occasional bettors to work out if they are getting a ‘value’ bet. You can use a betting odds calculator to do this if you find the matth a little daunting. The short version is that it works out what the ‘value’ would be if you placed a bet time and time again, and the easy way to illustrate it is using a coin toss analogy, because the odds of it coming down heads is 50% and the same for tails.
If you could win $150 each time it came down tails, and $100 when it came down heads and you knew that either result had a 50% chance, then clearly tails would be a better bet. Also with this data, you work out that over a number of bets, your average profit for continuously betting on tails compared to heads would be $25, so the estimated value would be +$25
There are, no doubt, many reasons why you love your current sportsbook, and there is a very comfortable feeling about going to the same place each time you place a bet. However, you might feel a little less comfortable when you realize that doing this every time might not be as profitable as comparing odds before you bet.
As we mentioned earlier, small differences over a number of successful bets can really make a big difference when you add things up at the end of a year, so shopping around might help you make a little more each time you bet, or make a big win even bigger!
As with all things though, there are exceptions to the rule. These are few and far between, as shopping around for the best odds is nearly always the best tactic but taking the odds you’re given is sometimes the best option when it’s part of a bonus or a loyalty program.
With a bonus, you might have to turn over your balance a certain number of times, so betting elsewhere isn’t a good idea, and there could, of course, be the occasions where you are placing a bet to get a reward like a free bet. With a VIP program, you might find that the rewards you get for staying loyal more than make up for the better odds you might find elsewhere.
You may think it’s a bad idea to go shopping for the best hockey odds while the game is in play, as hockey is pretty much the dictionary definition of a fast-moving sport. While most of the time the odds would be moving too fast for you to make a rational move, during breaks or while a player is injured, the odds are likely to stabilize long enough for you to get a snapshot across a couple of sportsbooks to see how they compare.
After reading this guide, you should be in no doubt that you are better off looking for the best odds rather than sticking with the same operator time after time. While your usual bookmaker might seem familiar and you can place bets quickly and easily because you know where everything is, they might not have the best odds, which means you could be leaving money on the table.
There are a very few selected occasions where not looking for odds is the best plan. But, every other time, whether you are sitting in a bar or at home watching the game live, or before that match on your laptop, you are likely to get more from a successful wager by shopping around for the best hockey odds.
Finding the best hockey odds might look time consuming, and it is easy to think you might be better off sticking with the same sportsbook all of the time, but that is not necessarily the case. To find out what you could be missing out on, check out our free guide.
You might think that all sportsbooks have the same odds, but this will not be true across every sport and every market. Check out our online reviews and our in-depth hockey odds guide to find out what you need to know.
Operators offer a number of different incentives to VIP members, and these can include free bets, cashback or special promotions involving special football, baseball or hockey odds. To find out more about what each sportsbook offers it’s loyal members, check out our latest reviews.
Hockey odds can sometimes move as fast before the game as they do during it, and to make an informed wager, you will need the most up to date hockey odds. To make sure you know where to find them, read our free online guide which will have all of the information you need.
The odds you see each time you look at a sportsbook are not the same as you might see in another country, as American odds are not used all over the world. Other formats include decimal and fractional odds, and for a brief overview of how they work, check out our online guide to finding the best hockey odds.