NHL Betting Guide

Betting on the NHL is a lot of fun, and there are many ways of going about it. If you are new to sports betting, or haven’t bet on hockey before, there are a few things to keep in mind. BonusFinder US walks you through all the main things you need to know before placing a bet.

NHL Betting Online

If you’re new to NHL betting, BonusFinder US has got you covered.

NHL Betting Online

The National Hockey League is the 4th-most followed team sport in the U.S., and is very popular outside North America as well. The NHL has 32 teams split across four divisions, 82 regular season games per team that run from October until April, and lots of exciting events including the 16-team playoffs at the end of each season.

For bettors, ice hockey provides a unique opportunity to place bets on an extremely fast-paced game where the odds change rapidly and few teams find success with top-tier individual talent only. You can bet on virtually any event within a game, before or during, and every game day has a few surprises. Let’s check out how and where to bet on the NHL wisely.

Bet Types

Betting on the NHL has been made easy on all online sportsbooks, so all you need to do is pick a site and sign up before you can start betting. If you’re not familiar with the bet types available for online bettors, we recommend you check out the basics below before you start wagering.

Moneyline Bets

Moneyline is the most popular option for NHL betting and available for every game. It requires a player to pick an outright winner of the match. Let’s say you wager $100 on New York Rangers to beat Montreal Canadiens with the money line odds of +120. If the Rangers eventually win the match, whether it’s a regulation win or a win after the extra time or penalty shots, you’ll get $120. If you have not yet started betting on the NHL, a moneyline bet is a good place to start.

Spread Bets

Spread, or puck line, betting was created to level the playing field. If you’re familiar with baseball runlines, NHL puck lines works just like that. Since ice hockey is a relatively low scoring sport, the handicaps for the spreads are typically +/- 1.5 goals. To illustrate the idea better, let’s take a look at an example.

If the Philadelphia Flyers are the clear underdogs against the Pittsburgh Penguins, moneylines on an online betting site could look like this:

Flyers (+176)
Penguins (-260)

We could, however, see sports betting lines with handicapping on the same game that look like this:

Flyers +1.5 (-163)
Penguins -1.5 (+147)

This might be confusing at first since the favorite actually becomes the underdog and vice versa. The key difference is that the favorite must now win by two goals or more to cover; predicting the outcome this way is harder than just choosing the losers and winners.

Parlay Bet

Parlay bets include several wagers in one multi-leg bet. The top NHL betting sites allow you to customize your own parlay, but some have a few options ready for sports betting action. Parlays have great odds, but remember that every single wager must be correct in order for you to win the bet. Determine a good strategy before placing your stake, so you don’t end up losing a ton of money. Also, many books offer insurance on parlays, meaning you can still win something even if a leg loses.


Total bets let you decide whether combined goals scored by both teams in the game will go OVER or UNDER a predetermined number. Total goal lines are usually somewhere around 6, and you don’t need to know which team will score more; you’re just predicting the overall amount. It also doesn’t matter who wins the game for a total bet to win or lose. You can also place Grand Salami bets, which are the total number of goals for all games played on a particular day.

Player Props

In addition to standard win or total score bets, there are a wide array of player prop bets. You can bet for a specific player to score in the second period, how many shots he takes in the game, whether the goalie allows more than 2 goals in the first period, and so on. The extensive list of prop betting options on individual players is almost endless, and tons of options are also available for in-game betting on eligible games. Don’t forget the team props either; you can guess whether both teams score in the first period, is at least two goals scored, and the number of goals in the third period for the home team.

NHL Futures

Stanley Cup futures are usually long-term bets. If you want to predict who claims the Stanley Cup or if a specific team makes the playoffs, those are futures bets. You can also guess who wins the League Awards, such as the Jack Adams or the Hart Trophy. An NHL future is a difficult and risky bet, but it can give you a huge potential payout. This year, Colorado is the sportsbook favorite to win the Cup.

In-Play/Live Wagering

Live betting gives all types of NHL bettors exciting wagering options after the hockey game starts, since you can place wagers as the game progresses in real time. This way you can make decisions on the action you see rather than on pre-game stats. Keep in mind that the odds can change quickly! All sportsbooks offer various live betting options for NHL games, and for other sports too like the NFL and MLS.

Understanding the Odds

All betting sites offer very competitive odds for the National Hockey League, and most of the time they provide way better lines for sports than any brick-and-mortar sportsbook. If you want the absolute best odds for your bets, we recommend signing up on at least a few sportsbooks to compare the lines.

For moneylines, point spreads, and some other bets the plus sign indicates the outcome that is less likely, and the minus sign the one that’s more likely to happen. For hockey, point spread odds aren’t usually the same on both sides (unlike in football), and they can vary for totals as well.

The way to read odds is to think about betting $100. If the odds are +135, betting $100 earns you $135. If the odds are -220, you need to bet $220 to win $100. If you want to calculate your potential winnings with different sums, use our odds calculator.

Hockey Betting Tips

Hockey Betting Tips

Follow our betting tips to get started with NHL wagering.

Betting on the NHL action is not difficult, and you can find success even without major betting strategies. However, you should check out some NHL betting trends before you start betting. Keep in mind that sports betting in general is difficult, let alone making consistently winning bets; you can make money betting but you should do it for entertainment purposes only. Online bookmakers are good at their jobs, you know. You should never bet beyond your means and always keep tabs of your NHL bets, whether they’re winning or losing. Here are a few additional tips for online hockey betting you should follow:

  1. Home-ice advantage
    While there is a small difference between home and away team win rate, you shouldn’t rely strickly on home-ice advantage. So make sure to at least check out how the opponent has done in previous games before just automatically picking the home team as a winner.
  2. Statistics
    Even if you are a casual sports bettor, you should still check out some significant statistics. For serious bettors, advanced statistics like the players’ Corsi numbers and Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA) can shed a lot of light into a team’s performance, but even basic stats like last 10 games’ performance and the goalie’s savings percentage should give you an idea whether a team is hot or not. All losing and winning streaks are bound to end eventually, but they are indicative of a team’s ability to consistently win games.
  3. Pick your bets
    Don’t bet on everything. You aren’t likely to win all your bets, so it is more worthwhile to focus on a couple types of bets you can research and have good betting odds on to give yourself the best chance to get the max winnings. You should especially consider whether a prop bet is worth your time: it is unlikely that you guess correctly the final score, the first goal scorer, or how many points certain player gets in a game. An NHL futures bet might be a fun experiment or even a huge payday if the Stanley Cup odds are excellent for your chosen NHL team, but you probably shouldn’t spend too much time considering the options for futures bets.
  4. Moneylines vs Puckline Straight Wager
    If you think there is a clear favorite to win the game, it might be better to place a puck line bet for the frontrunner. You can get a bigger payout for your efforts in case the game is a blowout win for the favorites. The limited payouts for moneylines make it expensive to consistently bet on them, but of course moneylines might be better choices when betting on the underdog.
  5. Check around for NHL betting lines & odds
    You should sign up for at least a couple different online hockey betting sites so that you can compare the NHL odds before you place bets. It could make a difference whether to bet on the underdog or not, as different oddsmakers set different odds. Remember that hockey is a challenging sport to bet on and that there is always a chance for an upset. So to get the best possible returns, make sure to shop around for the best betting site.

Betting Mistakes to Avoid

Not checking the injuries! If Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid don't play, the Oilers have a huge disadvantage already. In addition, if the #1 goalie shoulders most of the load during the regular season, the odds go down the toilet should the #2 have to start the first game in the playoffs.

Creating parlays with more than four picks is unwise for casual bettors. Hockey is an eventful sport and upsets are very common, meaning your betting money will be dwindling quickly if you try to hit the big payouts constantly.

Not knowing what you're betting on. Seriously, make sure you understand what you're putting your money on. There are numerous props for players and teams, so you can get confused quickly if you don't keep tabs on what's going on.

NHL Facts for Bettors

The NHL regular season starts in October, and concludes around June. You can start placing futures bets well before the start of the season, but odds for individual games and props are posted on the day of the game. For the playoff series, you can start betting for each game a bit earlier.

Each team plays 82 games, meaning there are a ton of betting opportunities no matter who you root for. Half of the games are played at home and half away, with more games played within the division than against other teams. However, each team should meet each other at least twice. Home ice can be an advantage; the Bruins won 14 home games in a row to start the 2022-23 season. Still, the teams that qualify for the playoffs have win percentages far above .500, meaning they can win as visitors too.

Although the lineups tend to stay similar from game to game (unlike in baseball), injuries can mix up the bench. For example, Max Pacioretty was acquired by the Carolina Hurricanes from Vegas Golden Knights during the Summer, but he didn’t play at all in the first half of the regular season. That’s why props are released quite close to the game, to make sure you can bet on players who are actually playing.

Another key point in the regular season is the trade deadline in March. After that, the teams’ rosters are locked and players can’t be traded. The trade deadline always creates a ton of buzz in the press, and you can follow the latest developments on sports news sites like the Athletic. Once a team acquires a new player, their Stanley Cup odds can go down significantly if the trade is deemed good by the fans and the media.

In some states, you can also bet on the NHL draft, which takes place after the season concludes in June. This year there’s a sort of a race to the bottom, since the #1 prospect in the 2023 draft is Connor Bedard, who is already considered a generational talent. The order of the draft selection is determined by a lottery drawing for the non-playoff teams, and by the order which playoff teams drop out of the playoffs. In the lottery, the team with the least amount of points in the League gets the best odds for the #1 pick, and the team that placed 17th gets the lowest odds. Therefore, it’s not guaranteed that the worst team of the season gets to pick first, meaning some bettors like to wager on the selection order of the draft.

The Best Players Currently in the League

Connor McDavid is one of the best hockey players ever, with incredible skills and speed on the ice. However, he and his long-time teammate Leon Draisaitl haven’t been able to carry the Oilers all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, proving that hockey is the ultimate team sport. Many have speculated when Edmonton will split up this duo and trade Draisaitl, but thus far the front office has chosen to hold on to him, maybe at the expense of team balance. Both McDavid and Draisaitl are quite safe bets to score points, although they also have occasional off days.

Nathan MacKinnon is another superstar caliber forward and led the Avalanche to Stanley Cup victory in 2022 after several playoff disappointments. This season has been difficult for MacKinnon, who has suffered from several injuries, and for the Avs in general. You can always assume MacKinnon is ready to play but his scoring has been a bit on the low side this season, compared to his own standards.

The most recent Norris Trophy winners, Cale Makar and Adam Fox, represent the new defenseman: excellent skaters with top-notch puck handling skills. Both are leading their teams in defense and ranking high in points, meaning you should keep an eye out for their props.

Other talented players in the League include Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay), known for his innovative passing and questionable injuries; David Pastrnak (Boston), whose hard slapshots are the stuff of nightmares for goalies; Tage Thompson (Buffalo), who has blossomed into a bona fide star later in his career; and Erik Karlsson, a former Norris winner finally unleashed in San Jose. Also, don’t forget living legend Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh), new star Jason Robertson (Dallas), or top goalies like Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg) and Linus Ullmark (Boston).

Playoff Format

The current NHL playoff format was first introduced in 2014 with the reshuffled divisions. The top three teams from each division and two wild card teams from both conferences advance to the playoffs, meaning the first round has four match-ups on both sides. The team with the most points in the conference faces the team that placed 8th, and the team that won the other division and the overall 7th team in the conference form the second pairing. The other two matchups are played within the division, which has led to the same teams meeting frequently. Some fans would love to see a new format for the first round, but commissioner Gary Bettman isn’t interested in changing the playoffs.

In the second round, the remaining four teams in each conference are paired up based on regular season points (1st & 4th, 2nd & 3rd), and the winners advance to the conference finals. The winning teams from each conference meet in the Stanley Cup finals, often concluding in June. Each round is a best-of-seven and the format ensures that one team from the West and one from the East play for the Cup. The playoff games are played in a 2-2-1-1-1 sequence, meaning the team with more points in the regular season starts at home. After two games are played there, the teams move to the other city and play two games. If more games are needed, the teams travel back and forth playing one game in each city. In most cases, the games in each series are played every other day, or every two days.

Recent Stanley Cup Winners

The defending Stanley Cup champions are the Colorado Avalanche, who won the Cup after several years’ of being the top favorites in the odds. They defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in the finals, who were seeking a third Cup in a row. The Canadiens have won the most Cups (24), followed by the Maple Leafs (13) and the Red Wings (11).

Year Winner Opponent Series
2022 Colorado Avalanche Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2
2021 Tampa Bay Lightning Montréal Canadiens 4-1
2020 Tampa Bay Lightning Dallas Stars 4-2
2019 St Louis Blues Boston Bruins 4-3
2018 Washington Capitals Vegas Golden Knights 4-1
2017 Pittsburgh Penguins Nashville Predators 4-2
2016 Pittsburgh Penguins San Jose Sharks 4-2
2015 Chicago Blackhawks Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2
2014 Los Angeles Kings New York Rangers 4-1
2013 Chicago Blackhawks Boston Bruins 4-2
2012 Los Angeles Kings New Jersey Devils 4-2
NHL Betting Guide

Betting on the NHL is a lot of fun!

NHL Teams

Following the latest addition of Seattle Kraken in 2021, the National Hockey League has 32 teams divided evenly across four divisions and two conferences. The NHL has seven teams from Canada and the rest from the U.S. Each team plays 82 games per season, with the most match-ups against division rivals.

Metropolitan Division Atlantic Division Central Division Pacific Division
Carolina Hurricanes Boston Bruins Arizona Coyotes Anaheim Ducks
Columbus Blue Jackets Buffalo Sabres Chicago Blackhawks Calgary Flames
New Jersey Devils Detroit Red Wings Colorado Avalanche Edmonton Oilers
New York Islanders Florida Panthers Dallas Stars Los Angeles Kings
New York Rangers Montréal Canadiens Minnesota Wild San Jose Sharks
Philadelphia Flyers Ottawa Senators Nashville Predators Seattle Kraken
Pittsburgh Penguins Tampa Bay Lightning St Louis Blues Vancouver Canucks
Washington Capitals Toronto Maple Leafs Winnipeg Jets Vegas Golden Knights

Metropolitan Division

The Metropolitan Division is arguably the toughest division in the League, and the fight for 2022-2023 playoff spots is once again fierce. The division is filled to the brim with contenders, and only Columbus and Philadelphia seem like lost causes this season. Metro’s top dog in the past few years has been Carolina, but the team led by coach Rod Brind’Amour hasn’t been able to make it all the way yet.

Atlantic Division

The Atlantic Division has four of the Original Six teams (Boston, Detroit, Montreal, and Toronto). Unsurprisingly, these four teams also dominate the listing for Stanley Cup appearances. In 2022-2023, several teams for the Atlantic Division are considered frontrunners for the Cup, with Boston and Toronto leading the charge. Toronto’s lack of playoff prowess has become legendary across the hockey world, and Leafs fans are hoping this is the year they advance beyond the first round.

Central Division

The Central Division is very interesting this season. Colorado is once again the top candidate to win the Stanley Cup, but other teams of interest are Dallas and Winnipeg. Chicago made the baffling move of getting rid of their young talent, and Nashville’s identity has been confusing at best, disinterested at worst. Arizona’s arena mess has been another PR disaster for the League, but the Yotes are here to stay (for now).

Pacific Division

The Pacific Division has experienced the most change recently since both new expansions teams, Vegas and Seattle, were added to it. Some hockey fans consider the Pacific the least competitive division in the League, although Vegas, San Jose, Vancouver, and Los Angeles have all advanced to the Stanley Cup finals in the 2010s, with LA winning two Cups in 2012 and 2014. In the 2021-22 season, virtually all teams were disappointing aside from the Flames and the Oilers, so there’s nowhere to go but up this year.

States With Legal Sports Betting

Online sports betting is legal in several states across the U.S. Each state has a different number of regulated online sportsbooks, but you should find a good option no matter which state you live in. By clicking on the links below, you can see which sportsbooks are available in your state. Even more states have legalized retail betting, so there are plenty of options if you wish to bet on the NHL.

Arizona Sports Betting
Arkansas Sports Betting
Colorado Sports Betting
Connecticut Sports Betting
Illinois Sports Betting
Indiana Sports Betting
Iowa Sports Betting
Kansas Sports Betting
Louisiana Sports Betting
Maryland Sports Betting
Massachusetts Sports Betting (Launching Soon)
Michigan Sports Betting
New Jersey Sports Betting
New York Sports Betting
Ohio Sports Betting
Pennsylvania Sports Betting
Tennessee Sports Betting
Virginia Sports Betting
West Virginia Sports Betting
Wyoming Sports Betting


1️⃣ Where can I bet on NHL games?

NHL fans can bet on regular season games and the Stanley Cup playoffs in states where online NHL betting is legal: AZ, AR, CO, CT, DC, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MD, MI, NJ, NH, NY, OH, OR, PA, TN, VA, WV, and WY. If you live in a state with no online betting sites, you can consider participating in daily fantasy sports or visiting retails books to place an NHL bet.

2️⃣ How does NHL betting work?

You can bet on the winner of the game, parlays, prop bets, etc; there's no best way to bet. You just pick a few types of hockey bets you are most interested in and place your wagers! You don't need to be a betting odds expert to bet on the NHL, as ice hockey is a difficult game to predict and you always have a chance to win, especially when betting live in-game.

3️⃣ Who is the favorite to win the Stanley Cup?

Colorado, Boston, and Tampa Bay are perennial favorites, but this year the New Jersey Devils and Seattle Kraken have entered the playoff fray with a strong showing in the regular season. Once the first round begins, we are much wiser on who could be the Stanley Cup winner in 2023.


Riku is the Editor in Chief at BonusFinder and is a global expert in casino, sports betting and poker.