NHL Betting Odds

The 2021-22 NHL Season ended with the Colorado Avalanche knocking off the Tampa Bay Lightning and raising the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2001.

The Lightning was playing in their third straight Stanley Cup finals. With two Cup victories and three consecutive finals appearances, history will remember this Tampa team well.

The Avalanche, who opened last year as +XXX to win it all, is once again the betting favorite to be the last team standing this year. 

With heavy favorites having won the last three Stanley Cups, is this the year where betting on an underdog pays off?

NHL Betting Odds Explained

As sports betting continues to legalize and gain popularity across North America, placing your favorite NHL bets has never been more accessible.

Like all the major sports leagues, the NHL has many betting options for bettors to play.

Whether you are a traditionalist who enjoys betting moneylines and pucklines, or a fantasy fan who dabbles in player props, all major online sportsbooks have your NHL betting needs covered.

Moneyline Betting

Betting on NHL moneylines has traditionally been the most popular way to place a hockey bet.

When we are talking about moneylines, we are referring to odds that make one team a favorite and one team an underdog.

Moneyline Betting Example

  • New York Rangers Odds: +115
  • Tampa Bay Lightning Odds: -125

In our example above, we can see that the visiting New York Rangers are a +115 underdog. The plus (+) sign represents which team is the underdog. Calculating plus(+) money odds is very easy.

At +115, that tells us a $100 bettor would win $115 in profit if the Rangers upset Tampa Bay on the road.

The -125 odds for Tampa Bay tells us they are the betting favorite.

Calculating minus(-) sign odds is also very easy. -125 means that to win $100 in profit, a bettor would have to risk (wager) $125.

Because the home team Lightning is the favorite, a bettor would need to risk more than they win in return to make this bet.

Puckline Betting

If you are a Major League Baseball bettor and play on the MLB runline, you will be very familiar with NHL Puckline betting.

Puckline betting is hockey’s version of a point spread. However, the spread is almost always fixed at plus or minus 1.5 goals.

Let’s give an example.

NHL Puckline Betting Example

  • New York Rangers +1.5 Odds: -130
  • Tampa Bay Lightning -1.5 Odds: +120

We can see above that the visiting Rangers are receiving +1.5 goals on the puckline. This means New York can lose the game by 1-goal and still win the bet.

It is crucial to notice that on the puckline, the Rangers are now the betting favorite because the added +1.5 goals give them a significant advantage.

To win $100 by betting on New York, a bettor would have to risk $130.

Meanwhile, the Lightning is now -1.5 goals on the puckline and must win the game by two goals or more to cash the bet. 

The odds have shifted significantly for Tampa Bay as well. Because they have been handicapped with -1.5 goals, they are now a betting underdog.

A $100 bettor on Tampa Bay would win $120 in profit.

NHL Totals Betting (Over/Under Betting)

Betting NHL totals, also commonly known as over/under betting, is wagering on the total amount of goals scored in a game and you can bet it on different periods.

There is no concern for which team wins or loses for this bet, only how many goals both teams combine to score.

NHL Totals Bet Example

New York Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Over 6.5 | -105
  • Under 6.5 | -115

In our over/under example above, a bettor can see the total for our game is set at 6.5.

If you want to play the over, the teams must combine to score seven or more goals in the game.

Betting on the under simply means that the combined score of this game can be no more than six goals.

It is crucial bettors look at the moneyline attached to both sides. In our example above, we can see there is more juice on the under (-115) than the over. (-105)

This tells us that the under 6.5 goals is a slight betting favorite,

NHL Player Prop Betting

With the legalization of sports betting spreading across Canada and the United States, the competition amongst legal online sportsbooks to earn our business has never been greater.

Sportsbooks are constantly adding to the number of NHL bet options they offer to separate themselves from their competitors.

No market has been impacted as extensively as the player prop betting market.

When making an NHL player prop bet, a bettor is no longer concerned with the game’s outcome but is instead focused on one specific player.

Sportsbooks will allow numerous different player stats to be included in player prop bets.

NHL Player Prop Examples:

  • Mitch Marner to record an assist | -130
  • Alex Ovechkin to score a goal | +105
  • Connor McDavid to O/U 1.5 points | +100
  • Nathan MacKinnon O/U 3.5l shots on goal | -120
  • Igor Shesterkin O/U 27.5 saves | -115

Our above list includes some of the NHL players prop bets available at all licensed operators. As technology advances, many more prop betting products will soon be available.

It won’t be long before we can bet how much distance Conor McDavid travels during an NHL hockey game.

I will set the first O/U for that bet at 6.2 miles. For our Canadian friends, that is exactly 10km.

NHL Game / Team Prop Betting

NHL Game prop betting, also referred to as NHL Team prop betting, is similar to player props because, once again, the winning or losing team is not of interest to us.

NHL Game / Team Prop Examples

  • G.I.F.T. (Will there be a Goal In First Ten minutes) Yes -110 | No -115
  • Pittsburgh Penguins total shots on goal O/U 29.5 | -110
  • Which team will have the most total penalty minutes | Home -115 Visitor -105
  • Which team will score the first goal| Home -120 | Visitor +100

There are many different reasons why prop betting is becoming so popular with NHL bettors.

With 32 teams across the league, it can be difficult to follow each team in great detail.

  • Recent success
  • Power Play success
  • Current injury status
  • Travel schedule
  • Goaltending tendencies

Above is a list of some potential factors a bettor might want to consider before placing an NHL moneyline wager.

Some bettors prefer to rely on their knowledge of individual players instead of the research required to handicap specific games.

A Los Angeles Kings fan may want to place a bet on a Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens game.

That Kings fan may know more about Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, or some other superstars than they do about either team.

Auston Matthews to score a goal might be more fun than betting the Leafs -120 as a road underdog.

NHL Futures Betting

Futures betting on NHL hockey comes in many different forms. NHL futures bet is one where the result is determined later in the year. 

The most popular NHL futures bet is most often betting on a team to win the Stanley Cup.

Odds for teams to win the Stanley Cup are released in the preseason, and as the year plays out, the odds for each team will shift based on their performance.

Many bettors like to scan the odds early in the year and pick out a team or two that they believe is undervalued.

Obviously, as the season progresses and teams secure playoff spots, odds will shift and drop drastically.

Another popular NHL futures bet is betting on NHL Award winners.

2022 Hart Trophy (NHL MVP) Award

Connor McDavidOilers+250
Auston MatthewsLeafs+400
Leon DraisaitlOilers+800
Nathan MacKinnonAvalanche+1000
Cale MakarAvalanche+1500

Our table above is preseason NHL Hart Trophy odds. It gives us an idea of the value that can be found by placing a bet so many months out.

There is no doubt that Connor McDavid appears to be on a different level than everyone else in the league when healthy.

However, if McDavid were to miss 10 or 15 games in a season, Leon Draisaitl at +800 and Nathan MacKinnon at +1000 would be great value bets, as at least one of them will once again be in the conversation for this year’s Hart Trophy Award.

Betting The NHL Playoffs And The Stanley Cup

Individual Game Betting

An NHL bettor has the chance to bet on all the NHL playoff and Stanley Cup games the same way they would in the regular season.

Goal scoring becomes a little more difficult come playoff time, and you might see odds adjusted to factor in another level of intensity by the players.

However, all your favorite regular season game bets still apply come playoff time.

Series Bets

Each of the four NHL playoff rounds is a best of 7 series, with the winning team needing to win four games.

Betting which team will win the series is very popular during the NHL playoffs.

If you like a team and expect them to advance, you can simply bet them to win the series instead of betting them to win every game.

For those who have a really good feeling about how the series will play out, you can increase your odds by betting on how many games the series will last.

Conn Smythe Trophy Winner

Each year, the NHL awards the Conn Smythe Trophy, which is given to the player who has performed the best during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The winner is almost always a player from the Stanley Cup-winning team. However, that is not always the case.

Five times the Conn Smythe award was given to a player whose team lost the Stanley Cup finals.

For teams to win a Stanley Cup, they need their best players to play at or above expectations. So it’s no surprise that more times than not, the player who wins the Conn Smythe award is considered one of the league’s best.

Betting on the Conn Smythe award winner is more about trying to pick which teams will be playing at the end.

Once you have determined which teams you like, your best strategy is to focus on their star players.

Last Five Years – Conn Smythe Trophy Winners

2022Cale MakarAvalanche
2021Andrei VasilevskiyLightning
2020Victor HedmanLightning
2019Ryan O’ReillyBlues
2018Alex OvechkinCapitals

NHL Betting Strategies

One of the most effective ways to become a better bettor is to document your betting history and learn from your past successes and mistakes.

When tracking your results, you are compiling essential data about your bets and your profit.

Over time, we can use this data to educate ourselves about what type of bettor we are and our strengths and weaknesses.

The NHL regular season is almost seven months long. Over that stretch, a bettor might place upwards of 100 bets or more.

If you track all those wagers, you can sort through them and gain valuable information.

  • What is your breakdown of Favorites vs. Underdogs? Do you have a mix of both, or do you tend to lean only towards one side?
  • What is your success rate with different types of bets? Was your winning percentage higher with totals than it was with moneyline betting?
  • What was your prop betting win percentage? Were you profitable with your prop bets? Which props did you have success with?

When tracking our betting history, we aren’t just looking to see our total profit won and lost.

This information, betting strategy, over time becomes valuable because it allows us to analyze who we are as a bettor and learn from our past successes and mistakes.

Always Shop Around

The single most significant edge an NHL bettor has against the sportsbooks is their ability to shop around for the Best Odds possible.

In the NHL, each team plays 82 regular season games and travels a great distance during the seven-month season.

With over 1,300 games league-wide, there are always odds discrepancies between operators.

A savvy bettor who can shop at multiple sportsbooks can earn an additional 25% ROI just by shopping for the Best Odds available for the bet they want to make.

The additional ROI of shopping around for our Best Odds is often the difference between being profitable and not.