Stanley Cup 2023-24
Thursday, November 30 Thu Nov 30
Friday, December 1 Fri Dec 1
How to read NHL Odds
If you're learning how to bet on hockey, the first step is learning how to read NHL odds. We're going to walk through some fundamentals and look at the most popular hockey betting options in the market -- let's drop the puck and get started.
What does -110 Mean?
-110 is often referred to as the "magic number" of sports betting -- it defines the amount required to earn $100 on either side of a wager and appears frequently on popular options. An NHL bettor must lay $110 to win $100 when wagering on pucklines, for example, which are game-specific lines set by oddsmakers with hopes of getting equal action on both sides.
What Does -1.5 Mean?
In hockey, numbers like -1.5 affect that puck line we just mentioned -- it means a team has to win by two or more goals to win the wager, much like a runline in baseball or a spread in the NFL. Negative values such as -1.5 indicate that a team is favored by 1.5 goals, while positive values like +1.5 indicate that the team is the underdog by 1.5 goals.
The -1.5 spread is always accompanied by traditional NHL odds, like our magic -110 number, indicating the value of the puckline.
Popular Types of NHL Betting
There are multiple ways to bet on NHL hockey action -- from straight-up moneyline betting to betting on the total number of goals scored, the puckline, and so much more, we'll take you through it. Keep tools like our NHL consensus and computer picks close at hand -- they contain vital handicapping data and give you a leg up on the competition.
NHL Moneyline Bets
The most popular way to bet on the NHL is moneyline betting. With moneyline bets, you’re wagering on what side wins. For moneyline NHL odds, negative and positive values are attached to favorites (-180) and underdogs (+160) -- think of it as 100 sitting in the middle of these two values. It'd look something like this:
In this scenario, the Boston Bruins are the favorites and the Chicago Blackhawks are the 'dog. If you want to bet the favorite, you'll need to risk $180 to win $100. When betting on the underdog at +160, you'd bet $100 to win $160 if the underdog wins. Without a point spread, bettors have to risk a bit more to bet the favorite, but you earn a bigger payout if you back the underdog. Calculate potential moneyline wins with our odds calculator to make sure the line is worth your money!
NHL Puckline (Canadian Line)
The puckline is a hybrid form of NHL betting that merges the moneyline and a point spread -- a -1.5 value indicates that the team is favored by 1.5 goals, while a +1.5 value indicates that the team is the underdog by 1.5 goals.
Betting on the NHL point spread means the favorite must win by at least two goals to cover the puckline hockey spread, or the dog can lose by one goal and still cover the puckline. That’s right – a team can lose 3-2 but win on a +1.5 puckline. This means whether the underdog wins or loses, you have the chance to walk away victorious.
For example, if a team is -1.5 at +180 and you wagered $100, that means you would profit $180 if the team wins by two goals or more. On the other side, if a team is +1.5 at -135 and you wagered $135, you win $100 if they win the game or only lose by one goal.
OVER/UNDER (Total) Bets
A total bet is wagering that the total number of goals scored will go OVER or UNDER the line set by the sportsbook. In hockey, the OVER/UNDER line is typically set at 6.0. When you see that number, you're praying for more than 6 goals if you bet the OVER, or hoping for five or fewer if you bet the under. In cases where lines end in a round number (i.e. 6.0 vs. 6.5), the bet can PUSH and give your money back as if nothing ever happened.
Here’s an example: If you see U5.5 (-110), that means you have to risk $110 to win $100 if the total goes UNDER 5.5 goals. Seeing O5.5 (+105) means you will profit $105 on a $100 bet if the total goes OVER 5.5 goals.
NHL Parlay Bets
A parlay bet is a sports bet that combines multiple straight bet wagers on one ticket. Usually, you would pool straight-up bets with spreads and totals, however, you can have multiple versions of the same bet as long as it’s on different games. Some sportsbooks now offer same-game parlays where you can combine multiple bets of the same game.
Let's say you've selected the Ottawa Senators to cover the puckline against the Anaheim Ducks and parlayed it with the Toronto Maple Leafs moneyline. You're going to receive higher lines and a higher potential payout because you need both of these events to come true -- the more items you add to the parlay, the higher those odds will jump. Calculate your potential jackpot on a multi-leg bet with our parlay calculator, and remember that it just takes one busted bet for the entire thing to be rendered null and void.
NHL Player Props
Short for “proposition,” a prop bet is a wager based on occurrences or non-occurrences during a sporting event.
When it comes to NHL hockey, some of the player prop bets you’ll find in your favorite sportsbook involve goals scored, points scored and shot totals. Much like total bets, with player props you’re wagering that an individual player will produce more or less than the line proposed by the sportsbook.
For example, if Connor McDavid’s points total is O2.5 (-150), you need to wager $150 to make $100 if you believe McDavid will score three or more points.
Live Odds Betting
Live betting lets you wager while the game is unfolding -- it's an incredibly popular way to bet, giving you the chance to take advantage of live NHL odds while you’re watching everything from the Stanley Cup Final to any regular-season game. Sportsbooks release new point spreads, moneylines, props and totals during each period and scheduled breaks, so there are always new lines to consider.
You can read more about live betting on our “How Does Live Betting Work?” page.
Understanding NHL Odds Line Movement
After oddsmakers release their lines at sportsbooks, the betting public almost immediately reveals which side of the number they prefer and oddsmakers adjust them accordingly. While these early line moves may show where the public money is initially going, it does not tell the whole story until we see where the closing odds end up.
It's vital to understand that line movements during a sports event can be extremely volatile, especially within the NHL, where an injury to a superstar can wreck the odds for an entire game or series. Timing is important, so if you see a bet you like at great value, snag it before the public hammers it in the same direction. Alternatively, if you’re high on a team that is being faded, wait as long as possible to get underdog value.
If a line feels off, it might be because there's a unique trend for that game -- check out a list of tonight's NHL trends to see if there's a bit of hidden value in the line.
True Odds vs Implied Odds
True odds are what you, the bettor, believes the line should be after all your research and handicapping, while the implied odds are a team’s chances of winning represented by a percentage and based on the odds set by the sportsbook. You can calculate the implied odds for any bet using our Odds Calculator.
NHL Futures Odds
NHL Futures betting lets hockey fans wager on an event or outcome within the NHL long before it occurs. This could be something like betting on a team’s win total, NHL division odds, or who will win the Stanley Cup.
Timing is everything when it comes to futures -- the lines before the season begins will be much higher than halfway through, and by the time we reach the close of the regular season, the favorites will be obvious. Of course, the longer you wait, the more info and context you have to inform your bet, making futures betting a real gut check for NHL bettors.
You can find various NHL futures odds available from the preseason through the Stanley Cup playoffs, check them out today!
Biggest NHL Betting Events
If you’re betting on hockey, you need to jot down these events in your calendar and be on the looking for upcoming NHL odds.
You can play futures bets where you wager on who will win some of the NHL end-of-season awards like the Hart Trophy (MVP), the Rocket Richard (most goals), or the Norris (Best Defenseman) and Vezina Cup (Best Goaltender). There are a ton of options with constantly changing favorites, and choosing one means you'll build up the regular season's excitement by being tied to a player all season long.
There’s no feeling quite like getting the season off and running with the season opener. You’ve done your research in the offseason and you know if a team is supposed to be good or downright awful. It’s a great time to catch the sportsbooks napping and squeeze out some incredible value.
NHL All-Star Weekend
Not only can you bet on the actual all-star game itself, but you can also bet on the skills competition on the day before the game. Who will have the hardest shot? Who will be the most accurate shooter? With the weekend being more about fun than winning, this can be another chance to find some value.
The 82-game regular season is all about getting into the playoffs and pushing for a Stanley Cup. It’s also the home of the upset. In a seven-game series, anything can happen.
It’s all about the Stanley Cup. If you can get incredible value on the conference finals, you’ll get even better value on the Cup. Over the last 10 years, the eventual Cup champion has had average opening odds of +1180.
Biggest Team Rivalries
New to NHL hockey? Here are some key rivalries across the league that you’ll want to watch because there are guaranteed to be fireworks.
Boston Bruins And Montreal Canadiens
These two sides have faced off 756 times since 1924 with the Canadiens holding the better record at 363-279-103-11 record. This matchup represents the first NHL meeting ever between an American team and a Canadian side. And it’s been a fiery affair ever since.
Montreal Canadiens vs Toronto Maple Leafs
If Boston vs Montreal is effectively the U.S. vs Canada, then the rivalry between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs can be seen as English Canada vs French Canada. It’s a big deal. Montreal holds a big lead in the matchup with a 366-299-88-12 record in 765 meetings.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Washington Capitals
This rivalry goes back to the early ’90s but it reached a fever pitch between 2015 and 2018 when the Penguins eliminated the Capitals from the playoffs twice. In the third playoff meeting, the Capitals finally broke through on their way to their first Stanley Cup championship.
New York Islanders vs New York Rangers
Long Island against Manhattan. This rivalry might not be as old as Bruins vs Habs, but it’s just as intense and storied. Rangers fans still chant “Potvin Sucks” after the Islanders’ legendary defenseman laid a heavy (but clean) hit on Ulf Nilsson that injured the Rangers star all the way back in 1979.
Calgary Flames vs Edmonton Oilers
The Battle of Alberta is a massive Western Canadian clash – and a clash that has led to several fisticuffs. None were more epic than the goalie fight between Cam Talbot and Mike Smith in 2020.
Ottawa Senators vs Toronto Maple Leafs
It might not be as old as the Battle of Alberta in its current form, but the Battle of Ontario is just as intense, with the Ottawa Senators holding a 70-54-3-13 edge. All Sens fans will remember the 6-5 OT win in 2021 when Ottawa roared back from a 5-1 deficit late in the second period.
Profit & Payout
New to sports betting? Learn about some of these key sports betting terms.
Your profit is the money you make from a winning bet. This can be for a single game wager or over some time. If you wager $100 and get back $150, your profit is $50 -- you don't count the return of your original stake in the profit calculations.
This is the amount you can expect to win on a specific bet. Let’s say you’re risking $100 on the Canadiens to win on the moneyline at -150. Your expected winnings would be $67. You can calculate your expected winnings using our NHL odds calculator.
An expected payout is your stake along with the expected winnings. Going back to that $100 bet on the Canadiens, the expected payout is that $67 of winnings and your $100 stake for a $167 expected payout.
The bet slip is where you place your bets before you place your bet with your favorite sportsbook.
Bonuses and Promotions
Depending on your sportsbook, you can get various bonuses and promotions. Here’s a list of some of the most common bonuses and promotions.
Exactly as the name suggests, free bets are gifted upon sign-up and allow you to make a bet using the sportsbook’s money and if you win, you keep the profits. Check with your sportsbook because certain restrictions apply to cashing out free bet earnings.
With a risk-free bet, bettors can make a wager without the fear of losing their stake. Again, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with your sportsbook’s rules around risk-free betting because it’s not always as straightforward as it sounds. Some sportsbooks will return your wager in credits.
This is perhaps the most common promotion. When you deposit with a sportsbook, they’ll match it up to a certain amount. Check with your sportsbook to see how much they’ll match.
Where To Bet On Sports
Looking to find a sportsbook? We’ve got you covered. Check out our sportsbook review page to learn how to evaluate every sportsbook.
Sports Betting Apps
We can’t tell you which of the sites we list above has the best app because the best betting apps simply boil down to personal preference. What we can tell you is what to look for in a legal sports betting app to help you make an informed decision. Read up on what to look out for here.