Betting the NHL | Juice Explained


The NHL is an ever growing sport to bet on and there is a reason for this; value. The “sharp” players have been keen to this for a very long time and they will tell you there are two ways to make money betting sports: 1. The NHL and 2. MLB.

Both of these sports have long seasons, and in both, the underdogs win and win often.

Sure, the NFL was made for TV and the NBA the same. The two sports are certainly entertaining to watch and great fun to keep up with, however, they are inconsistent to bet on, and really, staying afloat is a task.

Never take your eye off the ball

In sports gambling, you must be winning close to 53% of the time in order to beat the juice. Maybe some of you are not familiar with the term “juice” or what is often referred to as “Vig”. Juice is simply the commission that is added on to a bet by the bookmaker (the bookie, the sportsbook).

Be a smarter bettor – make better decisions and win more money

Bookies, bookmakers, sportsbooks — these folks offer bets to the public or in some cases, to a specific group of sports gamblers or even their friends, but remember, these are not bets between friends, with a handshake. If this were the case, there would be no business whatsoever for the bookies or anyone that offers bets.

If a bookmaker is offering the NY Rangers at -110, this means that you must lay $110 in order to win $100, or for every $1.10 that you lay, you win $1.00. The bookmaker is charging juice because he is offering this bet to the public (more than one person).

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Again, this is not a bet with a handshake between friends. If this were a friendly bet between friends, who in their right mind would charge juice, better yet, who in their right mind would pay the juice? Bookies offer bets to the public fully knowing they are putting their money at risk and that on any given night, they can be beaten. Because of this, they charge juice. The favorite is given a – (minus) number and the underdog is set with a + (plus) number.

To you the gambler, juice seems like a way for the bookmaker to beat you. This concept is a misnomer. If you bet the Rangers at -110 and lay $110– and win– this simply means that you spent $10 more than even money.

A win is a win, no matter how you slice it. A win, is a win, is a win! The only way the bookmaker made any money on the bet is if he had cross action. Some bookmakers charge a dime, some charge .20 cents and even as high as .30 cents, most charge .20 cents. The + (plus) number in this same game would be +130, for everybody that bet the underdog; the bookie just made their juice back. Bookies always depend on cross action in order to make profits.

The last thing that a bookie wants is for many bettors to play the same side on one game. This can kill small bookmakers and as a result, the bookie may lay-off… (bet the opposite side with a bookie of their own).

Why is the NHL a great bet?

It’s a great question and one that we have an answer for! The NHL is a long game with three, 20-minute periods, and it’s a tough game. Not only are these guys playing hockey, they are ice-skating while doing it.

The game takes a toll on the toughest of the tough and the best of the best lose; the favorites lose often. We are not saying the best teams lose often, but the favorites. The Tampa Bay Lightning are 33-8 at the time of this writing and they are a great bet. They will be the favorite in nearly every game they play and they always present value, they are that good. There are other exceptions to the underdog rule, such as Toronto, they are also a great favorite to be on.

Our hockey betting page is one of our most popular pages, be sure to bookmark it today.

Take a look at the week ending December 30th, 2018. These are the betting trends against the spread:

NHL ATS Trends:

Road Teams: 292-290 / 50.17%

Home Teams: 290-292 / 49.83%

Favorites: 214-368 / 36.77%

Underdogs: 368-214 / 63.23%

Road Favorites: 41-121 / 27.11%

Road Underdogs: 247-169 / 59.38%

Home Favorites: 169-247 / 40.62%

Home Underdogs 121-45 / 72.89%

NHL Over & Under Trends:

Overtime Games: 77 Overs- 58.78% | 54 Unders- 41.22%

Regular Time Games: 200 Overs- 47.73% | 219 Unders- 52.27%

Total Games: 277 Overs- 50.36% | Unders- 273- 49.64%

As you can see, the underdogs are big winners and especially the underdogs at home. There isn’t another sport where the home underdog wins 72% of the time, and it’s not even kind of close! There is most definitely value to be found playing the NHL underdogs.

Article by Brad

Posted January 9, 2019