The National Hockey League is home to the best brand of hockey on the planet, as players from all over the world compete on 31 teams in the United States and Canada.
When it comes to betting on ice hockey, the first thing you’ll want to do when learning how to bet on the NHL is to learn how the NHL odds work.
When you hear us or your favorite sportscaster talking about the NHL odds, we are referring to the numbers next to the team that reflects how likely a team is to win a game. Or, in the case of specials or totals, how likely it is a particular occurrence will happen.
In the case of American odds, your NHL odds will be framed as a positive or negative number. You might see the Montreal Canadiens listed as -140 favorites against the Toronto Maple Leafs at +300.
These odds will reflect how much you would win on a $100 wager or how much you would have to bet to win $100. The positive number indicates an underdog, which means you would win $300 on a $100 wager on the Leafs, and the negative number reflects a favorite which means you would have to bet $140 to win $100.
In the case of Decimal odds, we will use the same example, but the odds will look like this:
You can calculate your probability of winning and your potential winnings easily with decimal odds, though American odds tend to be more popular in North America.
If you want to figure out how much you would win by betting on the Leafs, you would multiply the odds by your stake. So, a $10 wager on 4.0 odds would be $40.
If you feel that Fractional odds make the most sense to you, you could choose to have your odds displayed fractionally – which is simple and easy to understand as well. The denominator represents your stake and the numerator represents your winnings. If you want to bet on the Leafs still, the fractional odds would be 3/1. For every $1 wagered, you win $3. So, if you bet $10, (3 x 10) = $30 (plus your initial stake will be included in your winnings for $40 total).
Now that you have an idea of how the odds work and how to determine your potential winnings based on the NHL odds, we can go over the basic betting types to prepare you for betting on the NHL.
Moneyline betting is by far the most popular NHL bet you can place, as it’s the most straightforward and simple to understand. You might even make pseudo-moneyline wagers with friends in your spare time. All you have to do to choose which team you believe will win the game. Just pick team one or team two – it’s that simple.
If you look at the above odds, we already outlined how a moneyline works in our example with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens.
The Canadiens are favored to win the game, so a $140 wager on them would pay out $240 total ($140 plus your $100 in winnings). The Leafs are underdogs, and a $100 wager on them would pay out $400 ($300 plus your initial stake of $100).
When it comes to betting on NHL puckline wagers, it can be a little more complicated than moneyline wagers. If you bet on other sports, you might recall point spread betting – this is exactly the same thing, it just goes by a different name because hockey spreads don’t track points, they track goals.
Puckline wagers are usually common bets to place when teams playing one another are heavily lopsided. This method of ice hockey betting gives the favored team a head start before the game even begins. If a team is a big underdog, like the Leafs in the example above, you might see a puckline that looks like this:
This means that the oddsmakers are expecting the Canadiens to beat the Leafs by more than 4 goals. If you bet on the Canadiens at -3.5, they have to beat the Leafs by four or more. If you bet on the Leafs, they can win the game outright or lose by less than 3 goals for your bet to win.
Betting on NHL totals is an easy method if you aren’t totally familiar with the players or teams that are playing. This method doesn’t force you to choose a particular scoring differential or pick a team to win. Your sportsbook will set a line based on their statistical analysis, and you will have to decide if both teams collectively will score more or less than that number of goals.
If you have the above game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs and the total is set at 5.5, that means the oddsmakers believe the score will roughly be around that number. If you choose the over, both teams will need to score more than six points for you to win your bet. If you choose the under, the teams collectively cannot score more than five goals. A score of 3-2 would be ideal for that bet.
Betting on the NHL Futures is a fun way to get in on the action early and set up your ice hockey betting strategy that will help you make predictions for the upcoming season. You can bet on NHL conference futures, NHL divisional futures, or NHL Stanley Cup futures at any time throughout the season, but the earlier you make your picks, the earlier you can snag the best odds. The more likely a team is to make the playoffs, the lower their odds will get.
The risk when betting on futures is high, so even if you bet a heavy favorite, you would be able to still cash in on some great odds. The NHL futures odds are frequently released as soon as the Stanley Cup Finals wrap up, to get an early start on the following year. The odds will fluctuate and change as the season moves on, but if you get your bet in early, you lock in those odds.
If you predict a miracle and pick a huge underdog team, and they end up making the playoffs on a winning streak and sail to the Stanley Cup Finals and win it all – you could be looking at a huge payout. Most recently, the St Louis Blues did just that in 2019. The Blues started the season listed at 250-1, which meant no one had any faith in them to make it to the finals – except one bettor who placed a $400 wager on them – netting $100,000 at the end of the season.
These hugely rewarding wagers can be made each and every season – you might predict a winner and pocket some real cash this NHL season!
Prop betting is a really fun way to place a couple of wagers on a game where you just aren’t feeling any of the main betting types. Prop bets are unique instances that might occur in a game. They are usually framed as yes or no questions or over/under on specific totals like the total number of goals by a player, or total penalty minutes for a team or player.
If you know Connor McDavid is good for a few goals and you aren’t sure if the Oilers are actually going to win, or if the value just isn’t there – you can bet an over/under on McDavid’s goal total.
There are so many different options available for props, each NHL game has over 50 different prop bets you can take advantage of, depending on which sportsbook you choose. Many of the top betting sites we review offer a huge variety of props to keep the interest high.
Now that we’ve tackled the ‘how’, let’s look at where you can bet on the NHL in the USA. First, you will want to identify the top online NHL betting sites in the USA, which will include reading a few sportsbook reviews. Our betting site reviews are incredibly thorough and include every criterion you could imagine – from deposit options, bonuses, and customer service to mobile compatibility and odds selection.
Let’s go over the most important criteria you should look for in an online NHL betting site.
Finding an online sportsbook that offers a variety of NHL betting odds should be a simple task as many of the top online sportsbooks offer all major professional sports. However, some sportsbooks are better than others in terms of their offering, so one sportsbook may have more NHL props or specials than another. Ensuring the sportsbook has the options that you want to bet on, as well as competitive odds that will result in a bigger payout should be a top priority.
Lucky for you, we only recommend the best US betting sites. The sportsbooks we recommend can have over 50 prop options and specials per game, on top of your regular moneylines, point spreads and totals.
Since we live on our phones more than ever, we are always looking for sportsbooks that have dedicated apps or mobile-friendly sites. We give extra points to the sportsbooks that offer a seamless mobile experience – so you never have to worry about getting to your laptop or placing your wagers before you head out for the day. Betting on the NHL on the go, from your smartphone is a huge bonus, especially if you need to quickly cash out a bet or place a new wager.
Everyone likes to take advantage of a good deal – and when you’re betting on the NHL, you have countless opportunities to place a wager. So, why not take advantage of sportsbook free bets or bonuses to help build your bankroll and bet on a few more games?
The sportsbooks we recommend offer some amazing bonuses, promotions, loyalty programs and even the occasional free bet! We always recommend reading the fine print for rollover requirements; however, NHL free bets are extremely beneficial for your wallet.
This one is obvious, as we would never recommend a sportsbook that isn’t safe or secure. When you are looking for a new sportsbook, you should always ensure they have SSL encryption, which protects your personal information – especially when dealing with your hard-earned money!
All sportsbooks listed on Gambling.com are SSL secure and encrypted.
You can place a bet on many different outcomes of an NHL game. When it comes to NHL betting you can bet on the winner of the game, the point differential and the total number of goals scored by both teams.
NHL betting lines are easy to understand - depending which betting option you choose and which odds format you would like to place your NHL wagers in, you can quickly calculate potential winnings and probability of winning.
You can bet on NHL games from the comfort of your own home thanks to online sports betting! You can sign up for your favorite online sports betting site to bet on NHL games, or you can use your local lottery service to create parlay tickets.
"Two decades covering sports and the evolution of online betting. My experience as a handicapper uniquely qualifies me to evaluate which operator is best."
Reviewer since August 2019