Below is a complete guide on how to bet on the NHL. You’ll find information on hockey bets such as moneylines, puck lines, totals, player props, and futures. There are also full details on how to sign up at an online sportsbook and wager on the NHL.

Sportsbooks that offer hockey betting

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How to bet on hockey games

Once you’ve chosen an NHL sportsbook, here is a rundown of the most popular wagering options:

Puck line

The puck line bet is the hockey equivalent of a point spread wager. You choose from the favorite minus the listed number of goals or the underdog plus that number. 

The standard puck line is 1.5 goals. The odds will vary dramatically compared to spread bets, which are typically at or around -110 on both sides. In our example above, the Rangers are -1.5 favorites on the puck line. To cover, they have to win the game by at least two goals. The underdog Panthers can cover by losing by a single goal or by winning the game outright.  

Moneyline

For a moneyline bet, you simply pick which team you think will win the game. It’s a straightforward wager that provides a clear result without worrying about the final margin of victory. 

The NHL odds will be negative for the favorite on the moneyline and positive for the underdog. The tighter the range between the numbers, the less difference the sportsbook sees between the two teams. A much larger span indicates that the book believes the favorite has a sizable advantage.

Over/under

The over/under bet involves wagering on the total number of goals in the game. For these bets, aka totals, sportsbooks will set a line for bettors to decide on: 

If you bet on the game having a total of over 5.5 goals, you need the teams to combine for six or more goals to win your wager. Meanwhile, under bettors win if the final tally is five or fewer. Sportsbooks commonly set NHL over/under lines at 5.5, but you will also find outliers such as 5.0 or 6.5.   

Win in regulation

When NHL games are tied at the end of three periods, the teams will move on to overtime. You can place wagers on the result of the game at the end of regulation time. 

The name of the bet can vary by sportsbook, but many list it as a 60-minute line. You select which of the two teams you think will win during regular time or choose a tie if you expect overtime to happen.  

Parlays

You can group multiple wagers together on the same betting slip to create a parlay. Each individual wager forms a leg of the parlay. 

To win a parlay, you have to get each leg correct. The profit potential rises with each leg that you add to the slip, but so does the overall difficulty of winning. There are also same-game parlays where all of the wagers you combine must be from a single game. For example, you could place an SGP on a team to win plus a player on that team to score a goal.  

Betting on NHL players

Player props

A prop is essentially a side wager on something that may happen during the game. As you might expect, player props are wagers on the accomplishments of those scheduled to play in the matchup. 

You’ll find NHL player props for both skaters and goalies. There are numerous categories, including goals scored and the number of saves made. You can also tie together multiple player props into a parlay or same-game parlay. The options and odds can vary by sportsbook, so line shopping and comparing what’s available can be worthwhile. 

Goal scorers

Goals are a huge highlight for NHL games, and also one of the most popular options among prop bettors. You can wager on a player to score a goal at any time in the game as well as more specific wagers such as a player to score the first or last goal of the game. Here’s an example:

Players with lower odds are those whom the sportsbook has deemed the favorites. The odds numbers will continue to climb the further you go down the depth chart. For instance, the above game had lines for 33 players. The odds for 18 of those players were +500 or greater. 

Player to score a point

Each goal or assist that a player collects results in a point for that player. There are multiple ways to bet on this. The options can vary, but sportsbooks tend to have a good assortment to choose from: 

You’ll also find bets specifically on the number of assists for each player. There are also props available for the power play. You can bet on a player to score a goal or record an assist when his team has the advantage due to an opponent’s penalty.   

Shots on goal

Player shots on goal are another key NHL stat. Just like goals and points, sportsbooks offer a variety of bets to choose from.

The definition of a shot on goal is a shot that either finds its way into the net or that the goalie stops. Shots that miss the net entirely or hit the post or crossbar don’t count. 

Goalie saves

While the majority of NHL player props involve the accomplishments of skaters, there are options for goalies, as well. The top such bet is for goalie saves, as in how many times the goaltender directly prevents the puck from going into the net. 

Sportsbooks will also offer alternate lines for this wager and adjust the odds accordingly. Additional goalie props include over/under bets on the total goals and whether a goalie will record a shutout. 

How to bet on hockey futures

Stanley Cup winner

A futures bet is a season-long wager that can provide bettors with additional rooting interest as the campaign plays out. For the NHL, betting on the Stanley Cup winner tends to be the most popular option. 

Sportsbooks will release odds for teams to win the next Stanley Cup over the offseason. The lines will move and evolve in response to betting action and other developments. When you place your wager, you’ll be locked in at whatever the odds were at that time. 

Conference winners

The NHL consists of two conferences — Eastern and Western — with 16 teams each. You can also bet on the winner of each conference. Again, sportsbooks will release odds for every team during the offseason. To win, you must successfully pick the team that wins its conference and advances to play for the Stanley Cup. 

Team totals 

Compared to other major sports, the NHL is unique in its approach to the standings. Teams receive points based on how they fare in games: two points for a win in regulation, one point for an overtime or shootout defeat, and no points for a loss in regulation. Sportsbooks may offer over/under bets for total team wins or total team points for the season. 

To make the playoffs

At the conclusion of the regular season, eight teams from each conference advance to the NHL playoffs. Sportsbooks will have odds on which teams will claim spots. As the season moves along, odds may rise or fall in response to team performance. Once a team is out of contention or has clinched a spot, sportsbooks will remove it from the board. 

Award winners

There are multiple awards for players to strive for in the NHL, and betting lines are available for several of them. The top honors are the Hart Trophy, which is the MVP of the league, and the Vezina Trophy, which goes to the top goaltender. Other awards include the Norris Trophy (best defenseman), Calder Memorial Trophy (rookie of the year), and Conn Smythe Trophy (MVP of the playoffs). 

How do I read hockey lines?

Click on the NHL or hockey tab at an online sportsbook to view the lines for available games. Below is an example from DraftKings for an upcoming matchup.  

DraftKings NHL Hockey Line

Each sportsbook will list the three main betting lines for each contest. Here’s how they work: 

NHL betting strategies

The NHL is one of the big four sports in North America, along with the NFL, the NBA, and Major League Baseball. It’s a popular league that sportsbooks feature prominently. There are plenty of betting approaches as a result. Here are some common ones:

Steps to betting on hockey online

  1. Select a betting site that appeals to you. During the season, the NHL will be a prominent option at all of the top sportsbooks. 
  2. Follow the prompts to sign up for an account. When you’re ready to bet, remember to gamble responsibly
  3. After you’ve created an account, pick one of the available deposit methods to add money to it. Common options in legal sports betting states include PayPal and online banking. 
  4. Once you have funds to wager with, check out the latest NHL odds and decide what you want to wager on. 
  5. Click the odds for your selection to add it to your betting slip. Remember to apply any welcome bonuses or promos. Review your selections, confirm that everything is correct, and click to place your bet. 

Betting on NHL games — where is it legal?

You can bet on the NHL in any state where online sports betting is legal. You’ll find betting lines for all of the upcoming games without issue. Many sportsbooks also feature a wide assortment of NHL props and futures. 

Upcoming NHL dates

The NHL season continues with the following on tap in 2024:

Hockey betting FAQ

What is the easiest NHL bet to win? 

No NHL bets are inherently easier to win than others. All wagers carry risk, and there’s a chance you will lose regardless of your strategy or approach. For those new to NHL betting, navigate the learning curve by focusing on one or two types of wagers.  

Which sportsbook is the best for betting on the NHL? 

NHL betting is available at all of the top online sportsbooks. The best one for you will often come down to a matter of personal preference. For those new to wagering on hockey, you can try multiple books to see which one you like most.

Can you bet on other hockey leagues at US sportsbooks? 

It depends. The NHL is available everywhere. Some sportsbooks will also offer lines on top overseas leagues, such as the KHL, as well as on major international competitions. 

Do shootout goals count for NHL player props? 

No, shootout goals do not count toward stats for player props — only regulation and overtime goals.  

What is the alternate puck line for NHL betting? 

The standard puck line for NHL games is 1.5 goals. Some sportsbooks offer alternative lines, such as -2.5, and they’ll adjust the odds for the two options accordingly.