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A guide on how to bet on the NHL and AHL
Mar 29, 2022, 5:55:00 AM

A guide on how to bet on the NHL and AHL

There are two major ice hockey leagues that people can check out and these are the NHL and the AHL. Betting on these two leagues have become popular since ice hockey is recognised as a top sport. provides you with an AHL and NHL betting guide to help you.

For people who are looking for a sport that is not only exciting but also fun to bet on, ice hockey can be the right choice. It is one of the most high-skill sports in the world because not only do you have to control a small puck with a slim stick, but you also have to be elite at ice skating. It is one of the most challenging sports out there and seeing the highest-level players perform in the NHL or AHL is amazing to witness. Let’s look into their history which can set a precedent for your sports betting activities in the future.

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The NHL’s history

The NHL has been around since 1917 which started in Canada hence why there is a National in the National Hockey League despite its status as a North American league rather than a single-country competition. There were six teams initially which further strengthened the league’s status. Here are the teams that are still in the league today.

    •   Montreal Canadiens - Established back in 1909 before the NHL’s inception, they are the longest continuously operating pro ice hockey team. The Canadiens are colloquially known as the Habs as they’re known as Les Habitants in the city. The squad has had a longer history than any pro sports team in North America apart from some baseball teams and the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.

    •   Toronto Maple Leafs - Founded in 1917 alongside the NHL’s inception, the Maple Leafs were one of the strongest teams in the first few decades of the league. They had a dynasty back in the late 1940s and early 1950s and one in the mid-1960s as well. However, that was the last time they won as they have the longest active drought between championships.

    •   Boston Bruins - The Bruins were the first team from the United States as they were launched back in 1924. They are one of the most successful teams in history and they have become cultural icons in Boston alongside their beloved Celtics from the NBA.

    •   Chicago Blackhawks - Founded in 1926, the Chicago Blackhawks have been a consistent top team in NHL history as they always thrive under pressure. They have passionate fans that expect a lot from them in every game they play. In terms of fan base and impact, the Blackhawks are huge in their city.

    •   Detroit Red Wings - Established at the same time as the Blackhawks, the Red Wings have always been one of the strongest teams in the NHL. Detroit was even dubbed ‘Hockeytown’ for a long while because they love to use the Red Wings as a prime example of American ice hockey as a top sport.

    •   New York Rangers - Last but not least, the Rangers organisation was launched at the same time as Detroit and Chicago in 1926. They were the first US team to win the Stanley Cup and they have been successful in spurts since then. They are the least successful team out of the Original Six but they find ways to compete hence their longevity.

The Canadiens are the most successful team in NHL history by far with 23 regular titles and a pre-NHL era championship. The Toronto Maple Leafs are the closest with nine fewer titles than Montreal. However, you should not rely on these accolades for your NHL betting strategy because the league changes every year.

The AHL’s history

The AHL or American Hockey League is known as the primary development league for the NHL. The league initially started as the IHL (International Hockey League) and the C-AHL (Canadian Amateur Hockey League) merged in 1938 to create the AHL. 

In the 2010s, every team in the AHL had an affiliation with one NHL team. In some cases, some NHL teams do not have a partner AHL squad which means that if players are assigned down to the AHL, they will be signed to a team affiliated with other NHL teams.

As of the 2022 season, AHL hockey has 31 teams in the league with 26 located in the United States while the five other teams are in Canada. These teams are mostly composed of amateur players that need to be at least 18 before they join. There is also an AHL rule that forces teams to sign only up to five NHL players to their team. 

There have been many successful AHL hockey teams in the league’s history. Here are some of the top teams that you can expect to see in the AHL.

    •   Hershey Bears - The winningest and most prolific team in terms of Calder Cup wins. They have 11 under their belt and they have 12 runner-up finishes which show their consistency at the top of the AHL.

    •   Rochester Americans - Throughout the AHL’s history, the Rochester Americans are not the top team right behind the Bears. The Cleveland Barons and Springfield Indians are also there but they are now both defunct. The Rochester squad themselves have six titles to their name and 10 runner-up finishes.

    •   Chicago Wolves - After the Americans, the Chicago Wolves are the most successful team that is still active. There have been many teams that have come and went but the Wolves remain a consistent squad.

Do not look at this as a pure developmental league because the AHL has some stars who are just waiting for their opportunity. If they shine, they will get called up to the NHL by the affiliated team where they can become stars in the best hockey league in the world.

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The differences between the AHL and NHL

In the NHL vs AHL debate, the former will always win because they’re stacked with superior talent. It is obvious considering the latter’s status as a developmental league but they still put on amazing games.

Looking at other NHL vs AHL differences, you can see that the former usually plays in bigger arenas. This is largely due to the number of fans that are interested in watching the games live. If you compare a team like the Leafs against the Hershey Bears, you will see more fans watching the NHL team because they have a bigger fan base and they’re proven at the top tier of ice hockey.

Another big factor in the NHL AHL differences is the salary for each player since the league draws more people to watch the games on both the arena and on TV. That kind of revenue makes the NHL more lucrative but the AHL still pays athletes well but is not as big as the NHL yet. The market is bigger even if you compare AHL hockey standings to what you see almost every day on TV. With that, let’s dive into the betting world for these two leagues.

Odds will play a big factor in your bets

Betting on ice hockey games might seem challenging at first. NHL betting odds and AHL betting odds will help you win your bets but not in the way that you might think. Some bettors believe that the odds are an easy way to win bets because they can tell the favourite and the underdog.

However, that is not the case because ice hockey varies in every game. Even the best players in the world have bad performances at times. That should give you an idea that looking into a game before you make your bet will be good for your overall rewards. 

When you are making bets on both of these ice hockey leagues, you should use the odds as a tool and not the primary basis behind your bets.

This is not only exclusive to hockey because you should also employ this if you’re making bets in other sports. The idea behind this is to know the context of those numbers because it will help you clear up any of the doubts for your bets. If you know why those numbers are skewed towards a team, you can find a gap that you can take advantage of to win your bets.. 

Knowing the teams will be worth it

If you want to partake in NHL betting, you should be aware of the participating teams. This will be the key to your success because if you know who is playing and have a good idea about how they will fare, you will most likely win your bet if you play it right. There are 32 teams in the NHL and 31 in the AHL which means that it will take an extended period but you can just spend a few minutes looking into how a team works and what they use to thrive. 

    •   Team rosters are important

If you look into a roster, you will most likely see their trades and free-agent signings in the offseason. This is crucial because when a top star joins a team, you should expect that the team will benefit. However, you should look at the surrounding pieces because they might fit him better than his previous team.

Gauging the fit is important for bettors and that can be learned when you look into what the rosters look like. If a star player is on a certain team, you should look into how they match up to the opponent’s roster because that player might be too much for them to handle. 

Trades, free-agent signings and call-ups from the AHL is the key to success when looking at NHL rosters. On the other hand, the AHL will be different because you will have to monitor the fresh faces and assignments from the NHL. This will be better if you watch the games because the eye test will not fail you.

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    •   Find out about their playstyles

Playstyles will be important as well and it’s connected to the rosters. Some teams will be dictated by the players themselves but you should also observe how coaches want their personnel to perform. You should look at teams if they play more of a defensive style or they are just uber-aggressive. 

When you have a good idea about how teams play, you will be better prepared for your bets. This is largely due to the stylistic matchups that will happen during the games.

Certain players will dictate results

In almost every sport, star players are important when it comes to a team’s success. This is true in ice hockey as well as both the NHL and AHL have top players who can change the results because they played. If you are aware of the top stars, you will be a stronger bettor because you know the top people who can affect the result and betting markets. 

You can coincide this knowledge with the NHL betting bonuses because you will emerge victorious if you do so. Players like Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon are the top stars of recent NHL history and you can expect more bettors to be happy with how that can turn out. 

This is also true for the AHL because NHL players who are assigned to an AHL team are usually the top performers. Veterans will have an experience advantage over the rest of the AHL stars which is why it’s important to note because they can take over games and be the main determining factor. 

Of course, gauging a star can take a long while because there are young players who can turn into stars. There can be budding stars that you don’t know about. You should do your best to find the biggest stars and the young players with booming potential. This will be the key to success as they will dictate the results. 

Stay updated with the latest news

Hockey always has constant news pouring in which will play a huge role in your betting journey. Injuries, roster moves, and other news will be a crucial factor behind the teams’ performances.

If you keep checking the news, you will see that there are reports that you once thought as minuscule emerging as big parts of the betting world. Injuries are probably the most recurring reports that will affect your bets because ice hockey is a physical game. It can come with slipping on ice, collisions, or even fights. If you are looking at the injury report regularly, you can immediately tell if a bet is good or not.

Trades are also huge in the NHL because if a blockbuster trade happens, it does not only affect the two teams involved. Teams in the same division will have to deal with the teams that made the trade and usually, they have a good period right after the moves which do not bode well for fellow division members.

If you are keeping step with the news, you will be an improved bettor because you pull out all of the stops that you need so you can emerge victorious with your bet. Remember that you can make your AHL hockey predictions easily but you can also maximize your chances of winning those bets by looking at many details. 

The best betting markets for both leagues

There is a wide variety of markets that you can bet on in ice hockey. Since you’re on, you will see most of these markets because there are many options that you can choose from. This will help you succeed with most NHL and AHL betting lines as you can see specialized bets that you will be better at. 

    •   First team to score

As the name suggests, this betting market is about what team will score first. This might sound arbitrary at first but you can expect this from how the teams play. If you are betting on an aggressive team, that is a smart bet because they will typically have the tactics to attack from the jump. 

    •   First player to score

This is similar to the previous market because this deals with which player will score first. This will actually be paired with the first team to score since they are connected to the same goal. This can become predictable if you know the personnel that are playing in the match. This is largely due to the number of players who can score from the jump with their supreme speed and power. 

    •   Over/under (total score)

This is probably one of the most popular markets on any sports betting platform. The over/under has been big for a long time and the main factor behind it is the total score between the two teams. In the hockey world, there will usually be a given range for the number of goals to be scored and bettors will make wagers whether the teams will hit under or over that mark.

    •   Team to score x amount of goals

In this market, you will have to bet on how many goals can one team score. As a bettor, you will need solid foresight with this market because you need to anticipate how a team can score goals. This will depend on the tendency of a team to put the puck in the net but this will be easier to gauge if you’re aware of a team’s goal-scoring rate.

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The NHL vs AHL debate

At first, bettors may have trouble dealing with deciding on what league to bet on. They should know that it will be subjective but for the most part, the NHL is much better because of its plethora of markets but that shouldn’t leave the AHL out of the discussion.

Some fans like to partake in this debate because they want to feel superior about their hockey knowledge. It is established that the NHL is built with higher quality teams and players but the AHL will always be there to provide high-level hockey as well despite its lack of popularity against the top tier.

The latter is a developmental league but it can provide you with fantastic entertainment too. It is one of the best leagues to watch and bet on because you can see ice hockey competition at its most pure state. People will talk about the differences between NHL and AHL but they are both a celebration of a stellar sport.

It will not be good to stay on the NHL or AHL debate because you should expect that these two leagues will continue to showcase exciting games that are worthy to bet on.

Betting on hockey is fun

Betting on ice hockey whether it’s the AHL or NHL, is one of the best experiences you can have in sports. You should be happy that both the leagues are high-quality ice hockey competitions. As you progress on your betting journey, have fun and enjoy your time here at!

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Words: Cholo Martin

Image: Alamy


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