The most traditional and generally the most popular form of wagering on the NHL is playing the moneyline. Each sportsbook establishes a moneyline prior to the game. A negative moneyline is assigned to the favored team and a positive moneyline established for the underdog.
Let’s say for instance that the Pittsburgh Penguins are home to play the Washington Capitals. Sidney Crosby and the Penguins are on a roll. They’ve won five in a row and have been utterly dominant of late, so the sportsbook has set a moneyline of -180 on the Penguins to win the game, giving them status as favorites.
What does this number mean? In sports betting, the moneyline is based on a wager of $100. When a team is listed with a moneyline of -180, that means in order to return a profit of $100 on your wager, you’d be required to bet $180 on the Penguins to beat the Capitals.
On the other hand, let’s suppose the Capitals have encountered a rough patch. Alex Ovechkin and the guys are struggling, with one win in their last four games. They are playing their third road game in four days, and a flu bug is working its way through the roster. The sportsbook therefore doesn’t like the chances of the Capitals beating a rested, healthy Penguins club and has set Washington’s moneyline at +210, making the Capitals the underdog.
In this case, the +210 number means that if you believe Washington can overcome the odds and win, and you bet $100 on them to do so, a Capitals victory would return a profit of $210 on your wager.
The moneyline is not a static number and will change as money is wagered on the market. If significant funds were to be laid on the Penguins, then Pittsburgh’s odds would increase, while Washington’s odds to win grew longer. If you don’t like the moneyline odds when they are first posted, you can choose to wait to wager until closer to game time. But if you think the sportsbook is given better odds than it should, jump on that bet before an adjustment takes place.
Establishing how the moneyline works frees you up to place that first moneyline wager. One sportsbook where you’ll find some of the best moneyline odds in the business is at 888Sport.