The National Hockey League (NHL) is a terrific betting sport, and an obsession for hardcore fans in the United States and Canada.
Teams play 82 games each during the regular season – 41 at home and 41 on the road. There are 1,271 games scheduled for each season total – plenty of opportunity to put your dollars down!
The regular season runs from October to April, and the post-season ends in June with the Stanley Cup finals – a seven-game series.
Is betting on the NHL legal?
Absolutely, you can bet on the NHL anywhere where sports betting is legal.
Since the act prohibiting sports betting outside of Nevada was struck down in 2018, individual states can decide themselves whether to roll out legislation.
Many states already allow sports betting. Some have only land-based sportsbooks, others allow online and mobile wagering.
The situation is changing day by day so check out our state-by-state guides to get a handle on where and how you can bet.
NHL lines give odds on the most popular NHL bets. These include money lines, puck line and totals.
Lines are posted a few days before games, and as ever Vegas lines are well worth checking out. Lines can move, especially when there are injuries to star players.
NHL money line
The money line is the simplest NHL bet. You just bet on a team to win – nothing more, nothing less.
Sportsbooks offer odds on each team to win – normally the favorite has a minus number and the underdog a positive number.
Example: Boston is playing Los Angeles. Bruins are -130, Kings are +300
- You bet Boston and it wins, you make $30 for every $100 you put down
- You bet Los Angeles and it wins, you make $300 for every $100 staked
NHL puck line
Like the point spread in football, the puck line tells you how much a favorite is expected to beat the underdog by. Favorite has a handicap, the underdog gets a start…
The puck line is normally set at 1.5 (it can vary if the matchup is really one-sided).
Example: Toronto is playing Dallas. Toronto is -1.5 and Dallas is +1.5
- You bet Toronto, it must win by 2 goals or more to cover
- You bet Dallas, it can’t lose by more than 1 goal to cover the line
While the puck line is normally 1.5, the odds for the two teams are often different.
Example: Toronto (-1.5) has odds of -150. Dallas (+1.5) has odds of +220
- You bet Toronto and it covers, you make $50 for every $100 you put down
- You bet Dallas and it covers, you make $220 for every $100 you put down
Betting on NHL totals is like football’s over/under. So you bet on how many goals are expected in the game. You can bet on over or under the line.
Example: Vancouver is playing Pittsburgh, the totals line is 5.5. Vancouver wins 4-1.
- If you bet the over you lost – you needed more than 5.5 total goals
- If you bet the under you won – the game produced less than 5.5 goals
If you bet NHL totals, you need to know which teams are strong offensively and defensively. The stats will give you a pretty good idea of whether a matchup ends up as a goalfest….or not.
NHL prop bets
Prop (proposition) bets are a really fun way to bet on NHL games. Side wagers which relate to just about anything, apart from the result of the game.
You can bet a player to score a goal, or to score a point (goal or assist). You can also bet a player to score the first or last goal. Goalies aren’t forgotten either – you can bet their number of saves.
There are a stack of options for prop bets – check out the various sportsbooks to see what they carry.
NHL public betting
If you’re not sure what to be on, NHL public betting can give you a pretty good steer.
Public betting shows you how many bets have been placed on each team. It also tells you how much cold hard cash has been bet on each team – a terrific guide to where the savvy sharps are heading. Great intel, use it to your advantage!
You might have to wait a little to win, but you can bet on stuff which might not happen for months yet. Welcome to futures.
If you are in love with a particular team to win the Stanley Cup when the season is beginning, put your money down in the hope they’ll win a championship.
You can get pretty big odds when betting on futures, which can mean big payouts. You need plenty of luck though, and you’ll need to wait a while to collect.
You might be 100 percent convinced you know a winning bet, but if you’re not, you should check out some NHL picks.
These are often free and expert, and can help you to win you some serious money if they’re good.
Most experts post their record for the season so far – a nice shop window to work out if you want to trust their advice. Check out all the options before you decide to put your money down.
NHL live in-play betting
Live in-play betting is becoming more popular all the time – a great way to add excitement to watching games.
NHL betting has a nice slate of in-play options ranging from puck lines to totals. The live odds are literally changing all the time based on the state of the game. So you need to be really sharp to capitalize when you think there’s a great betting opp.
Again, check out the various sportsbooks to see what in-play lines they carry.
Does overtime count in NHL bets?
Overtime does count for most NHL bets, but there are some exceptions. Always check out your sportsbook’s rules before betting.
If an NHL game goes to a shootout the general rule is that the winning team is credited with one goal.
Best NHL betting: Which sportsbooks should I bet with?
Our online bookmaker guides and reviews give you the skinny on who you should be betting with. Big decisions with big benefits for you.
We also tell you what terrific sign-up offers sportsbooks are carrying right now – these can be off the charts. There are great bonuses to be had, so shop around before you make your choice.
And remember, you can sign up with multiple online bookmakers. Make the most of these great sign-up offers. And then shop round for the best odds.