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NHL First Period Moneyline Betting

Malcolm Darnley

Updated: Apr 18, 2024


On December 7th, 2022 – The Buffalo Sabres Tage Thompson had a first period to remember.

Thompson scored four goals in the opening frame and had five first-period points, as the Sabres scored six times in the game’s opening 20 minutes.

If you are a fan of NHL first-period betting, there were a lot of ways to cash in on Thompson’s impressive start.

Anyone who had the Sabres 1st Period ML probably felt very comfortable when Buffalo had a 4-0 lead halfway through the period.

By the time Thompson scored his fourth goal, the Sabres were well in control, leading 6-0.

Not every NHL first period is so decisive. However, there are opportunities for savvy bettors to exploit when it comes to first-period betting.

Below, we dive into all things related to NHL first-period ML betting and make sure the next time you place an NHL first-period bet, you are making the most informed decision possible.

What Is NHL First Period Moneyline Betting

Moneyline betting may be the simplest type of bet for novice gamblers because the only thing we are required to do to be successful is pick winners.

  • Moneyline betting doesn’t require a specific team to cover a spread (or puckline, as it is called in hockey.)
  • Moneyline betting doesn’t require teams to score over or under a specific amount of goals.

First-period moneyline betting is precisely what it sounds like. As a bettor, we must decide which of the two teams will win the period.

It’s just that simple.

Why NHL 1st Period Moneyline Betting

There are several reasons why a recreational or experienced sports bettor might want to play NHL First-Period bets instead of traditional full-game betting.

Perceived Edge

As a bettor, you might be in tune with one or both of the teams involved and believe that one of those teams has a specific edge in the first period.

This could be because a team is on a long road trip or returning from a long road trip, and you believe they will be sluggish to start the game.

Or, maybe a team played below expectations in their last game and will be anxious to improve on their previous performance with a great first period.

Whatever your reasoning, there are many times throughout a season when a bettor might believe one team has a first-period edge.

Length of Bet

Some of the most popular prop bets in all major sports leagues are what we like to call time-sensitive wagers.

Many bettors prefer much shorter wagers than bets that take an entire game to play out.

Betting on just the first period of a hockey game is obviously a far less time-consuming proposition than betting on the entire game.

Reading NHL 1st Period ML Odds

Reading NHL first-period moneyline odds is easy for bettors once they are familiar with reading standard American Odds.

DraftKings 1st Per ML Odds

TeamsFull-Game ML1st Per ML

In our example game above, the Boston Bruins are the betting favorite against the Vancouver Canucks. We know this because the odds for Boston start with a (-) minus sign.

As a bettor, you can see the first-period moneyline odds will not differ significantly from the overall ML odds of a full game.

Types Of NHL 1st Per ML Bets

NHL’s first-period moneyline betting can be offered in two different ways.

Ties Don’t Count:

Teams1st Per ML

The most common NHL first-period moneyline wager involves refunding the bettor’s stake if no winner is decided after twenty minutes.

NHL hockey games do not end in ties. There is a 3-on-3 overtime and a shootout to ensure no tie.

First-period betting does not have that luxury, and many games have a first-period that ends in a tie score. In that scenario, sportsbooks will refund the wager.

Ties Count


In the example game above, we can see how the addition of a tie option dramatically changes the odds for this bet.

Boston switches from a heavy-betting favorite to +170 odds, which aligns more with Vancouver and the tie option.

NHL First Period ML Strategies

2023-24 Moneyline Stats

Team1st Per ML RecordFull-Game ML Record
Boston24-10-16 (71%)31-19 (62%)
Colorado23-15-13 (61%)32-19 (63%)
Vancouver23-10-17 (70%)34-16 (68%)
Los Angeles22-11-15 (67%)23-25 (48%)
Philadelphia20-19-12 (51%)26-25 (51%)

When betting on NHL moneylines, it is always an interesting comparison to see how good teams perform on the ML in the first period and for the overall game.

Bettors will notice teams performing well on the moneyline for full games are often even better when we look at their first-period performance.

Many first periods will end in a tie. In this situation, the first period ML bet is over.

When a full game ends regulation tied, 3 on 3 OT and a shoot-out are available to determine a winner.

These options appear to benefit the lesser-skilled team slightly, as many good teams have a better first-period ML record than their full-game ML record.

Always Shop Around

Analyzing team trends, recent performance, and trying to find an advantage against the sportsbooks is not only recommended for sports bettors, but it can actually be an entertaining part of the betting process.

1st Period ML – No Ties


However, even the sharpest bettors believe that our single greatest advantage over the sportsbooks is our ability to shop around for the Best Odds.

The difference between betting a team at +100 or +115 is a difference of 15% profit on just this one bet.

Imagine earning 15% (or more) profit every time we won a bet. On a single wager, the additional profit might not be overwhelming.

However, over time, the difference between being a profitable bettor or not could be whether we take the time to shop around for the Best Odds available.

The reality is, if we aren’t shopping for the Best Odds available when we place our wagers, we just aren’t giving ourselves the best chance to win long-term.


About the author

Malcolm loves to watch all kinds of different sports. He also writes about them.

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