NHL Betting

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Bet on the NHL


Stanley Cup Odds: NHL Betting Preview

A lot of things have changed since the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup. We have the internet, cell phones, and we even put people on the moon. As most hockey fans know, Toronto hasn’t won the Cup since 1967. Those four numbers hang over the head of every Leafs fan, just like “1940” used to haunt the New York Rangers before they finally won it again in 1994.

Is it Toronto’s turn yet? The 2017-18 Maple Leafs were legitimate title contenders, breaking the 100-point mark in the standings for the first time since the Ken Dryden-Pat Quinn regime. And the NHL Stanley Cup odds at press time have Toronto sitting pretty at +650, after they pulled off one of the biggest acquisitions in team history by signing John Tavares from the New York Islanders.


NHL Odds Breakdown

Winning the Cup is a lot harder today than it was during the Original Six era. The Leafs may have the shortest odds to win the Stanley Cup, but it won’t be easy. There are at least 10 teams in the league with a fighting chance of winning the Cup. Here’s a closer look at the Maple Leafs and the other top five favorites (including ties) on the NHL betting lines.


Toronto Maple Leafs: +650 NHL Odds 

The Leafs hit the lottery jackpot in 2016 when they won the No. 1 pick and used it on center Auston Matthews. Now they have another former No. 1 pick, after signing center John Tavares (2009) away from the New York Islanders during the offseason. Tavares scored 37 goals for the Islanders last season, but will he duplicate too much of Matthews’ skill set? The Leafs may have to bolster their defense to beat the NHL Vegas odds now that expectations are this high.


Tampa Bay Lightning: +800 NHL Odds 

After finishing on top of the Eastern Conference last season, the Lightning hope they have what it takes to win that elusive Cup – even if GM Steve Yzerman has passed the reins on to Julien BriseBois. Yzerman will hang around for now in an advisory role; he assembled a quality team in Tampa, but their window of opportunity might not be open long with so many players becoming free agents next year. 


Winnipeg Jets: +850 NHL Odds 

The Jets are on the right track. Last season was by far their best since the Atlanta Thrashers took the ice in 1999, but they might take a stride backwards this year after center Paul Statsny, their key deadline-day acquisition, took his talents to Las Vegas. Keeping free agents in Winnipeg has never been easy.


Washington Capitals: +1100 NHL Odds 

The defending Stanley Cup champions aren’t even on the Stanley Cup odds podium. Last year’s victory was something of an upset, given how poorly they performed compared to 2016-17. They’ve also got a rookie head coach in Todd Reirden taking over for Barry Trotz (now with the Islanders). And the Caps are taking their chances with Braden Holtby after trading back-up netminder Philipp Grubauer to the Colorado Avalanche.


Vegas Golden Knights: +1100 NHL Odds 

After enjoying the greatest expansion season in the modern era, Las Vegas are tied with Washington on the NHL betting list despite losing the Stanley Cup Final in five games. They’re not resting on their laurels. Stastny lifted the Jets into the playoffs when he arrived in late February; if he can provide the same spark for Vegas, the Cup could be theirs.


Nashville Predators: + 1100 NHL Odds 

The Predators were a hot pick last season after reaching the 2016-17 Stanley Cup Final, and they’re still one of the top contenders on the NHL odds board after winning the Presidents’ Trophy – and, following one of hockey’s deepest traditions, crashing out of the playoffs in the early rounds. Nashville’s Cup chances this year all depend on what frame of mind goaltender Pekka Rinne is in when April rolls around.


Boston Bruins: + 1100 NHL Odds 

You can say much the same for the Bruins and their Finnish goalie, Tuukka Rask. If Rask should stumble again this season, they won’t have back-up Anton Khudobin to pick up the pieces; he signed a free-agent deal with the Dallas Stars. Jaroslav Halak will be the No. 2 netminder in Beantown this season, after a rough year with the Islanders. At least the Bruins should have an easy path to the playoffs alongside Toronto and Tampa Bay in the top-heavy Atlantic Division.


Bet on the NHL


How to Bet on NHL Hockey: NHL Betting Explained

The National Hockey League has been around for over 100 years. But the Stanley Cup is even older than that. The greatest trophy in North American sports was created in 1892, and in many ways, it transcends the NHL itself. Children across the world dream about winning the Stanley Cup, and seeing their names engraved on the silver chalice – right next to Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby.

NHL betting has been around since that first game on December 19, 1917 between Toronto and the Montreal Wanderers. However, it wasn’t until the internet came along that betting on hockey turned into the global juggernaut that it is today. This NHL betting guide will show you everything you need to get in the game; we’ll explain how to bet on NHL hockey, from the simple straight bets to the more exotic wagers available at Bovada Sportsbook.


NHL Puck Line Betting: What Is an NHL Puck Line Bet?

Spread betting was invented by Charles K. McNeil, a Chicago gambler and former math teacher who started his own bookmaking business in the 1940s. By forcing the favorite in a game to win by a certain margin, the point spread turns a wager into something closer to a binary “50/50” outcome, making it easier for bettors to understand. Since the NHL keeps score by goals instead of points, the puck line (aka the Canadian line) is used when betting on hockey.

Understanding NHL Puck Line Betting 

When the NHL puck line odds are set, the favored team is usually given a spread of 1.5 goals, although 0.5 goals or even two goals can be used as well. Here’s the puck line from Game 6 of the exciting 2017 Stanley Cup Final between the Nashville Predators and Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins:

Pittsburgh Penguins    +1.5 (–255)
Nashville Predators     –1.5 (+215)

Nashville, as the home team, is listed at the bottom. The negative sign next to their spread indicates that the Predators were favored to win Game 6. The number in parentheses refers to their payout; had Nashville won by at least two goals, they would have paid $215 for every $100 bet (smaller and larger bets are allowed). The Penguins, as road underdogs, could have lost by one goal and still paid out $100 for every $255 wagered, but they won 2-0 to claim the Stanley Cup for the second straight year.


NHL Moneyline Betting: What Is an NHL Moneyline Bet?

Betting on the NHL moneyline is the original way to do business on the ice – and very easy to understand if you’ve already figured out the puck line. There’s no spread attached to the favorites; you’re betting on which team will win the game straight-up. NHL moneyline odds are expressed using the American odds format, and they work exactly the same way as the numbers you see in the parentheses from the above example. This is the moneyline from Game 6 of the 2017 Final, as it appeared when the NHL odds first hit the board:

Pittsburgh Penguins    +120
Nashville Predators     –140

As before, the Predators are the home favorites, listed at the bottom and indicated by the negative sign. A $140 bet on Nashville would have paid $100 had they won, while a $100 bet on the underdog Penguins would have earned you $120. This is an example of a 20-cent line, referring to the difference in odds between the two teams. When bigger favorites are involved, you’ll typically see moneylines of 40 cents or more.

Keep in mind when you’re betting on the NHL that the puck line and moneyline odds can and will be adjusted after the opening lines are posted. If one team is pulling in most of the action, the odds will usually shift to make the other team a more desirable bet. The odds at the time you place your wager will be the odds used to calculate your payout. You can occasionally find a better price on your chosen team by taking either the puck line or the moneyline; for Game 6, after the Penguins drew most of the early moneyline action, the odds for each team were moved to –110 by the time the lines had closed. The puck line, on the other hand, was the same at the close as it was at the open. Keeping track of these changes will help you find the best value on the board.


NHL Game Total (Over/Under) Betting: What Is an NHL Totals Bet?

The third and last of the straight wagers is the total, often referred to as the over/under. With NHL game total betting, instead of picking one team or the other to win, you’re betting on whether they’ll combine to score Over or Under the number of goals in the total. This number is usually set at 5.5 goals, although you may see higher or lower totals depending on the teams involved. Here’s how the total looked for our Penguins-Predators matchup:

Pittsburgh Penguins    5.5 (+105)o
Nashville Predators     5.5 (–125)u

The names of the two teams aren’t important with this wager, since they’re working in tandem to score goals. But it’s important to remember that the top half represents the price on the Over; Bovada Sportsbook provides the lowercase “o” to help clear up any confusion, as well as the lowercase “u” to represent the Under at the bottom. As with the puck line, the numbers in parentheses are the American odds for either side. A $100 bet on the Over would have paid out $105 had the Pens and Preds combined for at least six goals, but since Pittsburgh won 2-0, the Under paid $100 for every $125 wagered.


NHL Futures Betting: What Is an NHL Futures Bet?

The three straight wagers we’ve mentioned make up the bulk of NHL betting, but there’s plenty more where that came from. While you can only place these straight bets in-season, you can bet on the NHL any time of year by placing a futures bet – where you wager on the outcome of an event that won’t be resolved until sometime in the future. NHL futures odds are available virtually 24/7 on who will win the next Stanley Cup, even during the offseason. You might also find odds on who will win each of the league’s two conferences (Eastern and Western), or each of the four divisions (Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central and Pacific).

Once the season officially ends and someone skates away with the Cup – sometimes even before that – the odds for who will win the following season will be posted on the NHL futures market. Each team will have a price, listed using American odds; as the season rolls on and teams are eliminated from contention, they’re taken off the market. The Penguins were the defending Stanley Cup champions heading into the 2016-17 regular season, so they were listed as +800 favorites during the preseason, while the Predators were available at +1800 to win their first-ever Cup.


NHL Prop Betting: What Is an NHL Prop Bet?

Proposition bets have exploded in popularity thanks to the internet. These side bets involve outcomes other than the result of a game or a season; you can find NHL prop bets under the following categories at Bovada Sportsbook:

NHL Game Props

In addition to the three straight bets, every game on the schedule will feature a number of props, like which of the two teams will score first, or whether the game will go into overtime.

NHL Player Props

Each NHL game will also have player props added to the list of betting options. You can bet on whether a certain player will score during the game, whether one player will finish with more points than another player, and so on.

NHL Team Props

When you bet on NHL team props, you’re betting on the outcome (or non-outcome) of a single team’s performance – usually over the course of the season. The most popular team props are the regular season points totals, which are posted during the offseason; NHL teams earn two points for a win, and one for a tie or an overtime/shootout loss.

NHL Season Props

This is where you can bet on other events that will unfold over the course of the season. For example, you can bet on who will win the Hart Trophy as league MVP, or the Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in points scored (goals and assists).

NHL Specials

If an NHL prop doesn’t quite fit the above categories, it ends up in the Specials bucket. You can bet on things like whether a certain player will be moved at the trade deadline, or whether a city will be awarded an expansion franchise.


NHL Parlay Betting: What is an NHL Parlay Bet?

When you’re making a number of NHL bets at the same time, you have the option of combining those bets in a single parlay, and getting paid exponentially higher if all your picks come true. These payouts increase as you put more teams in your parlay; in this case, “teams” refers to totals as well as puck line or moneyline picks. Some NHL futures and props may also be allowed in your combo. You can have anywhere between 2 and 12 teams in a single NHL parlay.

How are NHL Parlay Bets Calculated?

It can be a little tricky to work out your potential payout with NHL parlays, but don’t worry – Bovada will do the math for you automatically as you enter your chosen parlay teams on your Bet Slip. If you want to do it by hand, take the American odds for each team in your parlay, convert them to decimal odds, and multiply them together. You can find odds converters and parlay calculators online to help you do this.

For example, let’s say you wanted to make the following 2-team parlay for Game 6 of the 2017 Cup Final:

Penguins +120
Under 5.5 (–125)

Here’s how that parlay looks when converted from American odds to decimal odds:

Penguins 2.20
Under 5.5 (1.80)

Multiply 2.20 and 1.80 together, and you get your potential payout of 3.96 times your original wager. That’s nearly twice as much as you would have gotten paid by betting the Penguins and the Under separately. Of course, when you’re betting on NHL parlays, you have to get every pick right to get paid, so they’re a riskier bet than simply making a series of straight bets. But if you successfully pick an entire 12-team parlay, you can win well over 2,000 times your bet, up to the maximum payout of $100,000 at Bovada Sportsbook.


NHL Live Betting

Live betting on the NHL has grown by leaps and bounds since it was introduced just a few short years ago. When a game is in progress, you’ll see the “LIVE MODE” button for that matchup on the NHL odds board. Clicking or tapping on that button will open that game’s Live Betting page, where you’ll find puck line, moneyline and total odds updated in real time, as well as prop bets like which team will score next. With so many betting options, you’ll never have to worry about missing out. You can even use you mobile and bet on the game while you’re watching at the bar, or maybe at the arena itself.

If you want to learn more about how to bet on the NHL, you’ll find all these different bets explained in more detail on our Sports FAQ pages in the Help section. Don’t forget about our growing archive of NHL articles, where we’ll keep you up to date on the most important developments in NHL betting, and even provide some helpful tips along the way. But for now, you have everything you need to get started betting on the world’s coolest sport. Open your account today at Bovada Sportsbook if you haven’t already, and don’t forget to keep your stick on the ice.


*Odds as of September 18, 2018