2024 NHL Playoffs Betting Odds

Malcolm Darnley

Updated: Jan 16, 2024

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Last year, the Boston Bruins became the only team in NHL history to reach 63 regular season wins, and they finished the year with 65 wins in 82 games.

The Bruins easily won the NHL Presidents Trophy, awarded to the team with the best overall regular season record.

By reaching 65 wins and being the best team during the first 82 games, Boston also set themselves up to be the betting favorite heading into the playoffs.

President Trophy Winners – Playoff Results

YearTeamTotal PointsPlayoff Performance
2023Boston Bruins135Lost 1st RD
2022Florida Panthers122Lost 2nd RD
2021Colorado Avalanche82Lost 2nd RD
2020Boston Bruins100Lost 2nd RD
2019Tampa Bay Lightning128Lost 1st RD
2018Nashville Predators117Lost 2nd RD
2017Washington Capitals118Lost 2nd RD
2016Washington Capitals120Lost 2nd RD
2015New York Rangers113Lost 3rd RD
2014Boston Bruins117Lost 2nd RD
2013Chicago Blackhawks77Won Stanley Cup

The table above shows that winning the President’s Trophy does not equate to Stanley Cup success.

Only one team since 2013 has finished first in the regular season and won the most prestigious trophy in hockey.

Unfortunately for Bruins fans last year, Boston was just the latest team to fall victim to the NHL President’s Trophy Curse.

With that in mind, let’s look at some teams poised to make a long run in the 2024 NHL playoffs.

NHL Playoffs – Contenders

Eastern Conference

New York Rangers +450 To Win Eastern Conference

It would be silly of anyone to discredit this very talented Rangers team.

However, it still feels to me that there is a New York betting bias on this number.

I have the Florida Panthers as the best team in the Eastern Conference, and not the New York Rangers, but not every sportsbook agrees with me.

The Rangers have a goal differential of +17 halfway through the year, which is good but not great.

Igor Shesterkin was a Vezina Trophy candidate at the beginning of the season, but currently, he is at +2000 to win the Best Goalie award and is coming off an average first half of the season.

Boston Bruins +450 To Win Eastern Conference

After watching the Bruins set an NHL regular season record with 65 wins last year and then lose in the opening round of the playoffs, I just assumed Boston was due to take a step back this year.

Cards on the table, I didn’t think Boston was going to be a great team last year (they proved me wrong by being the best regular season team in NHL history), and I was looking for a reason to bet against them this year.

The Bruins have eight regulation time losses and nine overtime losses, which means they have already equaled the same amount of losses they totaled all last year.

However, Boston is also still leading the Eastern Conference in points halfway through the year, and if the playoffs started today, home-ice advantage in the East would go through Beantown.

Florida Panthers +1000 To Win Stanley Cup

Some of you may remember that the Florida Panthers were battling the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Finals last June.

After knocking off Boston, Toronto, and Carolina on their way to the Cup Finals, Florida appeared to run out of gas against Vegas.

Because Florida just made the playoffs as an 8th seed, many fans and bettors considered them to be a Cinderella or Underdog story during their Cup run.

The reality is, Florida had to win a lot of hockey games in the last two months of the season, and they continued their winning ways into the playoffs.

At +1000 to win the Stanley Cup, I see a lot of value in Florida. You can also get them at +500 to represent the East in the Cup Finals again this year.

Carolina Hurricanes +1100 To Win Stanley Cup

At +1100 to win the Stanley Cup, the Hurricanes are another team I can get excited about.

Carolina went nine years (2010-18) without making the playoffs.

Since 2018, not only have the Hurricanes made the playoffs five consecutive times (this year will be their sixth), but they have won at least one playoff round each year and have seven playoff-round victories total over that time.

Sebastien Aho is the only Hurricanes player averaging close to a point a game.

At +15000, Aho is also the Carolina player with the best odds to win the Hart Trophy as the game’s best player.

There are 22 players on the DraftKings site with lower odds than Aho to win the Hart trophy, which tells us that Carolina’s success is because they play as a team and not because they have a couple of superstars.

Western Conference

Colorado Avalanche +380 To Win Western Conference

After winning the Stanley Cup in 2022 and putting together a 55-win season in 2023, many NHL fans and bettors (myself included) thought Colorado had a chance to go back-to-back.

Instead, the Avalanche were upset in the first round of the playoffs by the Seattle Kraken, an upset very few experts were able to predict.

This year, Colorado is once again producing like a team with Nate MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Cale Maker, Devon Toews, and other stars are expected to produce. However, they are not getting Stanley Cup-level goaltending.

Will Colorado continue to ride Alexandar Georgiev into the playoffs, or will they try to upgrade between the pipes before preparing for what most people expect to be another long playoff run?

We will learn more about the Avalanche as the second half of the season plays out. However, nobody is surprised they look very good yet again.

Edmonton Oilers +500 To Win Western Conference

Do any of us currently have futures bets with the Edmonton Oilers at huge odds to win the Stanley Cup or win the Western Conference?

Because if we don’t have a futures bet on the Oilers at big odds, then we missed an opportunity. (I missed out)

Early this season, the Oilers were playing so poorly that they fired their coach.

Edmonton, who was a Stanley Cup betting favorite in the preseason, saw their odds to win the Cup jump significantly when they started the season with only five wins in their first 18 games.

However, with a new coach and some improved play in net, the Oilers have put together a seven-game win streak, and a ten-game win streak, and watched their odds to win the Cup drop significantly over the last six weeks.

Did I mention that the Oilers also have Connor McDavid? Did I need to mention the Oilers also have Conner McDavid?

He alone makes them a cup contender.

Vancouver Canucks +1600 To Win Stanley Cup

Before we discuss the Vancouver Canucks, we should acknowledge the Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights.

Both those teams have betting odds lower than Vancouver to win the Western Conference, and obviously, both those teams are playing well.

However, neither Dallas nor Vegas are playing as well as Vancouver.

Nobody league-wide had a better first half than the Canucks.

What makes the Canucks such an interesting discussion currently is that they have the best record of any team in the Western Conference, yet they are +800 (7th) at DraftKings to win the West.

Vancouver has a goal differential of +54, yet nobody believes they are very good.

How The NHL Playoffs Work

  • The NHL is comprised of 32 teams.
  • Sixteen teams play in the Eastern Conference and 16 in the Western Conference.
  • Eight teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs.
  • Within each conference, there are two divisions of eight teams. (4 divisions total)
  • The top three teams from each division automatically qualify for the playoffs. (12 teams total)
  • The final four playoff spots (two from each conference) go to the teams who qualify as the Wild Card teams.

Wild Card Teams

The NHL allows four teams to qualify as Wild Card teams for their playoff format. Each of the four divisions qualifies their top 3 teams into the playoffs.

After that, the two teams from each conference with the highest point total who didn’t qualify for the playoffs are added as Wild Card teams.

The Western Conference team that finishes the regular season with the most points is considered the #1 seed in the West.

They would play the lowest-ranked Wild Card team in the first round of the playoffs.

The format works the same way in the Eastern Conference.

NHL Playoff Series Format

The first round of the playoffs has each of the four division winners playing one of the wild card teams. These are considered #1 vs #4 seed matchups.

The remaining eight teams are all seeded as #2 or #3 seeds, depending on where they finished during the season.

There are eight opening-round matchups. (four from each conference)

Each matchup is a Best of 7 series, with the first team to win four games advancing to the next round.

To win the Stanley Cup, a team must win four rounds in the playoffs, or a total of 16 games.

A team is eliminated after losing a Best of 7 series.

Home Ice Advantage In The NHL Playoffs

In the first two rounds of the NHL playoffs, the team ranked or seeded higher has the home-ice advantage.

In the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup finals, home-ice advantage is determined by the team with the better regular season record.

Because the Boston Bruins had the most points of the 32 teams in the regular season this year, as long as they are alive in the playoffs, they will have a home-ice advantage.

Betting On The NHL Playoffs

The NHL plays an 82-game regular season, meaning hockey fans have over 2600 games to bet on before the playoffs start.

Once the playoffs arrive, we have even more betting options and opportunities to consider.

Individual Games

Playoff games might be more intense for the players, but we can treat them like regular season action as sports bettors.

Once the NHL playoffs start, we still have the same opportunities to make traditional hockey bets.

Moneylines, Totals (O/U), and Puckline bets are still the most popular form of NHL betting, and that doesn’t change just because the playoffs are starting.

NHL Playoff Series Winner Odds

One option that does present itself once the NHL playoffs begin is betting on a series winner.

SeriesTeamsOdds
New York Rangers vs New Jersey DevilsRangers+120
Devils-130
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Toronto Maple LeafsLightning+130
Maple Leafs-140

Our table above details two first-round matchups and the NHL odds for each of the four teams to win the series.

When we are betting on a series winner, this is about picking the team to win four games first.

It’s possible your team could lose opening night, but bettors must keep the faith. Series betting is not a one-game wager.

Instead, we are in it for at least four games, with a maximum of seven, if the series goes the entire distance.

NHL Futures Betting

NHL futures betting is something that can take place year-round. Not long after a Stanley Cup champion is crowned, odds for the following year are released.

Betting on the eventual Stanley Cup champion is the most popular form of NHL futures betting.

However, there are a lot of different opportunities and options for futures bettors to play on.

From a playoff perspective, many bettors enjoy taking a shot at predicting the player who will be named Conn Smythe trophy winner, which is awarded to the playoff MVP.

NHL Playoffs – Futures Betting

PlayerTeamPlayoff MVP Odds
David PastrnakBoston Bruins+700
Auston MatthewsToronto Maple Leafs+2800
Connor McDavidEdmonton Oilers+1000
Nathan MacKinnonColorado Avalanche+2200

The table above shows Conn Smythe trophy odds for four of the game’s best players during last year’s playoffs.

If you look at some of the players and compare their MVP odds to their team odds for winning the Stanley Cup, you will notice the MVP odds pay out much better.

If the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup (+900), other Leafs’ players like Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and Willie Nylander will also be considered for the MVP award.

However, more often than not, when a team wins the Stanley Cup, it’s because their best player performed like their best player.

Nobody would be surprised if Auston Matthews (+2800) was named MVP if Toronto were to win it all.

Player Prop Betting In The NHL Playoffs

The legalization of sports betting is a relatively recent event, depending on your state.

However, most of us have been able to play fantasy and daily fantasy sports legally for a long time.

Player prop betting is much more about knowing individual players and much less about knowing how teams are expected to perform.

Player prop betting allows us to focus on the players we know and interest us.

Instead of predicting which team will win a game, we might be more comfortable determining which player will score a goal, record an assist or make a lot of saves.

Some of the more popular types of NHL player prop bets include;

  • Player O/U 0.5 goals
  • Player O/U 0.5 assists
  • Player O/U shots on net
  • Player O/U total saves

NHL Playoff Props

Sportsbooks will also offer a wide selection of game or team prop betting options in the regular season and the playoffs.

These types of prop bets are often referred to as the games within the game. Instead of focusing on the final score or which team won, prop bets focus on many other events in each game.

Some of the more popular NHL playoff prop bets include:

  • GIFT (Goal In First Ten Minutes)
  • Exact final score
  • 1st Period Over / Under
  • Will this game go to Overtime?

The GIFT betting prop is the most popular hockey prop going. For those who prefer their bets to be fast-paced, action-packed, and over in a hurry, then GIFT betting is for you.

NHL Prop Betting Strategies

The traditional betting markets, such as moneylines, totals, and pucklines, are considered the sharpest lines in the market.

By that, we mean they are the most popular bets available and the ones that sportsbooks and bettors spend the most time analyzing.

Because one individual hockey game can have hundreds of different prop betting options, many bettors believe it is easier to find an edge with prop betting than with traditional markets.

NHL G.I.F.T. Betting

NHL G.I.F.T. betting is not for the faint of heart. The goal of this bet is to accurately determine if either team will score within the first ten minutes of action.

Because this bet keeps us on the edge of our seats and is over within 10 minutes of game action, it is quickly becoming one of the most popular prop bets in the market.

As for resources that can help us make the most informed GIFT decisions possible, BestOdds.com has us covered with the G.I.F.T. betting information page.

Always Shop Around

Although the new technology now available for bettors of all skill levels goes a long way to help us make the most informed decisions possible, the biggest edge any bettor has against the sportsbooks is our ability to shop around and bet only the Best Odds.

NHL Conn Smythe Winner Odds

PlayerDraftKingsFanDuelBetMGM
David Pastrnak+700+1000+700
Auston Matthews+2800+2900+2500
Connor McDavid+3500+3800+3000
Nathan MacKinnon+2200+2000+2000

In our NHL Conn Smythe table above, we see that all four players listed have different odds available.

This means a significant advantage exists for a bettor who price shops, no matter which player they want to bet on.

In the case of David Pastrnak, DraftKings and BetMGM seemed aligned on their odds, but FanDuel is providing a number that is much more beneficial to the bettor.

Connor McDavid is a very interesting player to analyze.

The probable regular season MVP has odds as low as +3000 and as high as +3800 to win the playoff MVP award.

That is a huge discrepancy, and it doesn’t matter if you are a $10 or a $100 bettor; the difference in profit between +3000 or +3800 is significant.

As bettors, we should take advantage of all available resources we have access to.

Those resources include;

  • Sportsbook promotions and odds boosts
  • Cool data-based technology and software to help us analyze available data
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About the author

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