This article is a bit more advanced and covers the various NHL betting systems you can use for bankroll management.
If you’re just getting started in online NHL betting, we recommend you check out our NHL Betting Guide to learn about odds, the different types of NHL bets and other basic fundamentals.
Then when you’re ready to start making NHL bets, be sure to come back and check this article out as well, because understanding NHL betting systems is really important.
Still here? Alright, we’ll assume you’re familiar with online NHL betting and are looking for some help making some money.
Why NHL Betting Systems Are Critical To Success
Basically guys, if you’re serious about making money doing hockey betting, you need to stick to a betting system or you’ll go broke.
Back when we first got started in hockey betting, we didn’t really have a strategy. We just bet what we had in our wallets, and sometimes the amount we bet depended on whether we won or lost the previous few days.
It didn’t work out that well. Even though we were both pretty good at picking winners, we’d occasionally lose one of my bigger bets and it would wipe out any recent profits we’d made. (We were also playing Proline, a provincial sports lottery in Canada that pays inferior odds and requires parlays, so we were fighting an uphill battle to begin with.)
When we switched from Proline to online NHL betting, we could start betting one game at a time. At that point, we realized you have to have a bankroll management strategy in order to A) prevent yourself from losing all our money, and B) try to make a profit.
Because not every weekend in sports betting is like this (just watch the first 30 seconds, before Al Pacino turns into a greedy asshole):
There are several NHL betting systems out there to choose from. What money management strategy you go with depends on what your goals are in sports betting, how aggressive or conservative you are, whether you are willing to add to your bankroll if you lose all your money, how much money you are betting, etc.
Here are a few popular NHL betting systems, and what we think about each of them.
This approach means you risk your entire bankroll on every bet. If you start with $100 and win $100 on your first bet, you then risk $200 on the next. Win that one, you risk $400 on the next, and so on.
Obviously, you could grow your bankroll REALLY quickly if you could double it up on every bet, even if you just do it a few times. But all it takes is for a bad bounce off a skate in overtime, and then alll your money is gone. Then what?
If you’re willing to reload at your sportsbook, especially if it has a good reload bonus like BetOnline, you could try this approach to quickly build your bankroll. It’s also tempting to go all-in when you lose a few bets in a row and you’re trying to get back to even.
This is not among the NHL betting systems you should consider using because if you use it once, you’ll probably do it again. Eventually, it will cost you. Everything.
The Martingale system is sort of similar to the all-in approach, except you get more aggressive when you lose bets instead of when you win them.
With the Martingale betting system, you basically double your wager following every loss. That way, if you lose 3 bets in a row, you could get back to even by winning your 4th bet. If you lost 7 bets in a row, you could get back to even by winning your 8th bet, and so on.
The Martingale system sounds great, since there’s no way you will lose every bet for the rest of your life. You’ll eventually win a bet and cover all your losses, right? Well, yeah, but you need to have enough money to be able to catch up in case you lose 10 in a row – which will probably happen eventually.
NHL betting can be like the roulette wheel. Even if there’s close to a 50/50 chance the ball will land on black, you’ll sometimes see it land on red 10 straight times. Streaks happen, both good and bad.
Here’s what happens if you lose 10 bets in a row using the Martingale system, assuming you are making bets at even odds:
- Bet 1: lose $10
- Bet 2: lose $20
- Bet 3: lose $40
- Bet 4: lose $80
- Bet 5: lose $160
- Bet 6: lose $320
- Bet 7: lose $640
- Bet 8: lose $1280
- Bet 9: lose $2560
- Bet 10: lose $5120
At this point, you’d now need to bet $11,240 on your 11th bet, just to get back to EVEN. And you started by betting $10. Holy crap, that’s scary. If we had $11,000 in our bankroll, we wouldn’t have been betting $10 to start!
We think it’s pretty obvious we don’t consider the Martingale approach as one of the best NHL betting systems. It might work for a while, but you’ll eventually go bust.
Think of this NHL betting system as Martingale Light. You still increase your wager sizes after you lose a bet, but you don’t do it as aggressively.
With the Fibonacci, you try to win what you lost on your previous two bets. As soon as you win a bet, you go back to your original bet size.
Instead of risking $10-$20-$40-$80-$160-$320-$640 in the Martingale system, you would be risking $10-$10-$20-$30-$50-$80-$130-$210-$340 with Fibonacci. See the pattern?
If you’re confident you can avoid long losing streaks, you could use the Fibonacci to try to catch up whenever you have a few losing bets. You won’t risk going to huge bets as quickly as you would using the Martingale.
One of the downsides, other than that a long losing streak could wipe you out, is that even if you won your 5th bet after losing 4 in a row, you’d still be down money. With the Martingale, you’d be back to square one.
We’re not comfortable using the Fibonacci system personally, but we’d definitely rank it ahead of the Martingale.
4. Kelly Criterion
This is possibly the most popular of all NHL betting systems for professional bettors, but it’s pretty complicated.
Basically, the Kelly Criterion means basing the size of your bet on the edge (how much advantage you think you have) you have on the bet. This way, you’d risk (and hopefully win) the bets you feel the strongest about, while you wouldn’t risk as much on bets you felt you had a small edge on.
Before you can make bets based on the Kelly Criterion, you need to be able to estimate what your probability is of winning a bet. If you feel confident that you can accurately predict the Leafs have a 55% chance of winning tonight, you can use the Kelly Criterion. If you’re not sure whether they have a 52% chance, 55% chance or 60% chance, you can’t.
That’s because there’s an exact formula for Kelly Criterion. It’s: (Odds x Probability of Winning – Probability of Failure) / 1.
So if you’re betting on the Leafs at +100 odds and you believe they have a 55% chance of winning, your formula looks like this: (1 x 0.55 – 0.45) / 1 = 0.1. That means you should bet 10% of your bankroll on the Leafs.
If the Leafs are paying +110 odds and you still feel they have a 55% chance of winning, your bet would be bigger because your edge is bigger. The formula would be: (1.1 x 0.55 – 0.45) / 1 = 0.155, which means you should bet 15% of your bankroll.
Unless you’re an expert and believe you can estimate the chances of teams winning a game within 1-2%, we don’t suggest using Kelly Criterion. It could get you in some trouble because it’s pretty aggressive. We’re much more comfortable betting 1-2% of our bankroll instead of having 15% out there on one bet.
5. Flat Betting
Flat betting is our pick as the best of the best NHL betting systems.
Flat betting means that every bet size is the same. You can do this in a few different ways:
- risking the same amount on every wager (betting $100 on a +200 underdog and betting $100 on a -200 favourite)
- betting to win the same amount on every wager (betting $50 on a +200 underdog and betting $200 on a -200 favourite, since both would win you $100)
- risking the same amount on underdogs that you try to win on favourites (betting $100 on a +200 underdog, betting $200 on a -200 favourite)
The amount you risk or try to win is based on a percentage of your starting bankroll, which is commonly known as a betting unit. A betting unit for us is 1% of our bankroll, but we’re a bit conservative because we’re got a pretty significant bankroll that we try to protect. If you only have $100 in your bankroll, you probably want to be more aggressive than just betting $1 per game.
The thing we like about flat betting is that it keeps you disciplined. It’s tempting to press your luck when you are on a hot streak, or to try and play catch-up when you’ve lost a few bets in a row.
If you consistently pick more winners than losers, you will make money over time using a flat betting system. It takes patience, though.
Note: Your betting bankroll should be money that you’ve specifically allocated for wagering, and an amount that would not drastically affect your life if you were to lose it. Never risk money that you need for day-to-day living expenses.