I love hockey. You love hockey. Everybody in Canada loves hockey. But you know what else people who love hockey have in common? They like to bet on NHL hockey games. Unfortunately, betting doesn’t usually mean winning (hence, the reason you arrived on this site).
So, you’re here to learn how to make more money betting on hockey. But before you can win money, we need to take a step backward and help you stop losing money betting on NHL hockey games. And make no mistake, the majority of people who bet on hockey are losing money. What’s worse, in Canada – more specifically, Ontario – there’s a reason such an extremely well-informed hockey region loses so much money: Pro-Line.
That’s right, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation significantly contributes to the losses accrued by the hockey betting public. Look, people are always going to lose money betting on sports, and I’m not saying there should be more hockey-betting winners than losers in Canada. What I am saying is betting on the NHL via Pro-Line is equivalent to seeking out action with the absolute worst odds you can possibly find.
You don’t even have to take my words for it – here’s concrete proof betting on the NHL with Pro-Line is an unbeatable proposition:
The above is a screenshot of Pro-Line’s site for NHL action on Monday, February 8th, 2016. There are four games on the slate, and I’ve created a Pro-Line event for a straight bet on UNDER 5 goals in the Pittsburgh/Anaheim game. This bet pays 1.7-1, so on a wager of $100, the payout is $70. Now here’s the same bet, except using a popular online sportsbook:
The same play pays $110 on a $100 wager (which is $40 more than our Pro-Line bet). To put it simply, Pro-Line offers terrible odds, partly because they can’t move the lines once they set them (which is fair because most books move their lines right up until the event). Keeping in mind that we’re betting on the exact same outcome, we need to win this bet 59% of the time to breakeven on Pro-Line; on the popular online sportsbook, the breakeven line falls to 47%. The 12% difference in the expected winrate of this one example alone should scare you out of ever betting on Pro-Line again. In the sports betting world, winning on almost 60% of your bets is very good, and betting solely on Pro-Line you would just breakeven.
The example is impossible though, because poor odds aren’t the only heinous aspect of betting on Pro-Line – there is something far, far worse. When betting on Pro-Line, you must select a minimum of three events. That’s right, every ticket is essentially a three-event parlay. To win a parlay, you must get all events correct or else the ticket loses. To even extend this example to something that makes sense in Pro-Line’s parlay-only world, we need to pick three events. Let’s look at an actual Pro-Line ticket we could play versus the same parlay on a popular online sportsbook; maybe, by some miracle, Pro-Line is a better place to book a parlay.
Here’s what a three O/U parlay looks like on Pro-Line:
If we take the UNDER in the Pittsburgh/Anaheim, Tampa Bay/Ottawa and Florida/Detroit games, a $100 bet on Pro-Line would pay $348. You’re thinking, “Hey, that’s not bad! Goals are hard to come by in the NHL!” While NHL’s scoring problem is definitely real, Pro-Line is once again offering us extremely poor odds.
Here’s what the same three event parlay looks like on a popular online sportsbook:
Again, placing the exact same bet on a popular online sportsbook pays significantly better – $282.8 more – than Pro-Line. To breakeven with these exact odds on Pro-Line, you’d need to be correct with your three-event parlays 22% of the time, versus 13% of the time on the popular online sportsbook.
We can calculate a rough expected winrate for this parlay based on the middled lines (the moneyline minus the juice) from the popular online sportsbook, which is 11.8%. Basically, this is a sucker bet that you’ll lose no matter where you place it, but in these two specific circumstances, you’d lose a lot more placing bets with similar odds on Pro-Line than you would on a popular online sportsbook.
There are apparently two lessons to learn here:
#1 – Don’t waste your money betting on Pro-Line
#2 – Don’t waste your money betting parlays
As an alternative to betting on Pro-Line (and likely losing money) we submit to you our guide to NHL futures and prop bets, which if you’re a smart and educated bettor, are much more beatable – and fun!
Note: You can read our disclaimer, if you need to.