How To Bet on NHL?
For hockey betting fans, there is no greater spectacle than the NHL. The top ice hockey league in the world is also big in betting. With over a thousand games in a season, the NHL offers bettors every possible opportunity to win big.
If you are looking for a guide to help you getting into NHL betting, then this one has everything you need to know. From NHL betting lines and NHL betting odds to the top NHL betting markets, we will help you understand everything about how to bet on the NHL.
The NHL was born from a split in the National Hockey Association, a Canadian league created in 1909. Following an internal disagreement, the Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Wanderers and Toronto Arenas left the NHA in November 1917 and established the National Hockey League (NHL) in December of the same year.
NHL teams compete for the Stanley Cup, which was created well before, in 1893. Originally awarded to the top amateur team in Canada, the Cup became the top award for professional hockey in 1908.
At first, the Stanley Cup holder could be challenged at any time. In 1914, the format changed, and the Cup became an annual competition between the NHA and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) champion. From 1918 onwards, the NHL replaced the PCHA. In 1922, the Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL) joined the other two, making the Stanley Cup a three-team bracket. Three years later, the PCHA and the WCHL merged to establish the Western Hockey League (WHL). The WHL, however, was short-lived, and folded in 1926. With that, the Stanley Cup effectively became the NHL championship.
Following a recent expansion that added the Las Vegas Golden Knights in 2017 and the Seattle Kraken in 2021, the NHL became a 32-team league. The franchises are split into two conferences, Eastern and Western, each with two divisions.
Teams play a total of 82 regular season games. Eight from each conference advance to the playoffs, which are played in best-of-seven series. The top 3 teams from each division secure an automatic spot, with the remaining two spots filled by the top-ranked wild card teams, regardless of the division standings. At the end of the regular season, the team with the best overall record wins the President Trophy.
The teams are then split into two brackets consisting of the top 3 teams from the division plus a wild card. For the conference semifinals, the bracket is reseeded based on the overall conference standings. The Eastern and Western conference champions advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, and the team with the better overall record gets the home-ice advantage.
NHL Betting Explained
As you can see, the NHL season is very long. The regular season starts in October, and ends in late April. Playoffs begin in May, with the Stanley Cup Finals happening in June. That makes for eight months of play and thousands of matches to wager on. Here are the top NHL betting markets:
- Moneyline Bet: wagering on the match winner. Simple and straightforward, moneyline is the most common betting market in the NHL.
- Win-Draw-Win Bet: wagering on the outcome of a bet at the end of regulation. While the moneyline bet takes the overtime and shootout into account, that’s not the case for a win-draw-win bet. That’s why, unlike the moneyline, a draw is possible in these bets.
- Over/Under: a popular betting market in which bettors wager on the combined goals of both teams going over or under the NHL betting line provided by the bookmaker.
- Spread: also known as puck line or Canadian line, it’s the NHL’s equivalent of the point spread. Each team is given a handicap, which is negative for the favorite and positive for the underdog. The favorite must win the match by a margin large enough to cover the negative spread, while the underdog can afford to lose as long as the margin stays below the spread. If the underdog wins the game by any score, it covers the spread.
- Future Bet: a future bet, just as the name implies, means wagering on a future possibility. Some examples include betting on the Stanley Cup champion, the conference champions, the division champions, the President Trophy winner, the Art Ross Trophy winner, the Rocket Richard Trophy winner, and so on.
- Prop Bet: a bet not necessarily tied to the score. In NHL betting, these include: how many goals a player will score, how many assists a player will get, how many shots on goal a player will take, how many penalty minutes a team will rack up, among other options.
- Parlay Bet: in a parlay, punters combine multiple bets into a single one, multiplying their individual payouts into a bigger one. Of course, that comes at a price: a parlay needs every single individual bet, or leg, to win. It only takes one losing leg for the parlay to lose.
NHL Betting Tips
- Following the news and injury reports is vital in sports betting, and it’s no different for hockey. The NHL is a very physical league and the season is long, so it’s not unusual for star players to miss time during the year. Monitoring their status before every game is extremely important, as an injury to an important player can move the NHL betting lines and shift the NHL betting odds around.
- Pay attention to NHL betting trends as well. This will allow you to explore all different betting markets available for each game. Even a game that doesn’t offer any attractive NHL betting odds at first glance can have a few hidden gems.
- Expect hot and cold streaks to happen. Again, it’s a long season, and it’s perfectly normal for every team, even the best ones, to experience a drop at some point. Inconsistency is always a risk in sports, and that’s especially true over 82 games.
NHL Betting Examples
- For the season opener, the Nashville Predators were the favorites at -195 for the season opener against the San Jose Sharks. The Predators won the match. With these NHL betting odds, you would need to wager $195 on the Predators to win $100.
- For that same game, the Predators were favorites with an NHL betting line of -1.5 at NHL betting odds of +135. Since the game ended with a 4-1 score in Nashville’s favor, the team covered the spread. A $100 bet on the Predators covering the spread paid $135.
- The Colorado Avalanche were the favorites to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions in 2022-23. The Avs were given +400 odds to successfully defend their title, and a $100 bet would pay $400.
Pros vs Cons of NHL Betting
- Thousands of games to bet in a single season, and matches happening every night. There are always going to be valuable NHL betting odds available.
- Wide variety of betting markets to choose from. Aside from the great number of games, the NHL presents bettors with lots of options, from moneyline bets to props.
- Take care not to run out of funds. The downside to having thousands of games to bet on is that you can empty your bankroll without realizing if you don’t keep things under control.
- In an 82-game season, it’s only natural for teams to have their ups-and-downs. Upsets happen every night, but predicting them obviously isn’t easy.
Whether you are an ice hockey fan or not, NHL betting is a great opportunity to make a decent profit. There are matches taking place every night, and each game comes with a decent selection of betting markets to choose from. It takes some commitment, as tracking information from 32 teams requires work. But if you are willing to put in the effort, then there will be lots of chances to win big.
If you want, you can also check out our How To Bet on MLB? section to widen your betting opportunities and get the most out of other sports!