How to Bet on NHL Hockey

Hockey is considered the fastest game on Earth, with the quickest players like Connor McDavid skating to speeds of 25 miles per hour, and the hardest shots from players like Zdeno Chara reaching more than 108 miles per hour. 

The speed, skill and intensity reach greater levels in the Stanley Cup Playoffs once they start in early April. The most important games of the year provide bettors with a variety of wagering opportunities, from picking a team to win the game to player props to futures bets. 

We’ll break down the many wagering options to help you place your bets. 

Betting on the Moneyline

Wager on the team you believe will win the game straight up by placing a bet on the moneyline at TwinSpires Sports.

For a recent NHL game between the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings, the Avalanche, featured on the left side of the betting menu as the away team, have negative odds at -290. That indicates that they are the favorite to win. The Red Wings have positive odds at +230. That indicates that they are the underdog and are not expected to win. 

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The game is split into three 20-minute periods of regulation time. If the game is tied at the end of the third period, a five-minute three-on-three overtime will follow. A shootout may decide games during the regular season if the teams are still tied after overtime. If the team you backed wins in the shootout, your bet on the Moneyline is paid out as a winner. 

In the playoffs, the NHL does not decide games using the shootout. If necessary, teams will play 20-minute overtime periods, with the next goal winning the game. 

Betting on the Puck Line

The puck line is hockey’s version of the point spread. 

In this case, bettors place a wager on a team to win by a certain amount of goals, instead of simply to win the game. 

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Because there are far fewer goals in a hockey game compared to points in basketball or football, the puck line is typically set at 1.5 goals. Using our first example, the Avalanche were -1.5 favorites against the Red Wings. If you backed the Avalanche on the puck line, Colorado would need to win the game by two or more goals for the bet to be paid out as a winner. 

Betting on Total Goals

Scoring is up in the NHL this season, but even the best offensive teams can go up against a hot goalie, which makes betting on total goals an intriguing option. 

You can bet on the total number of goals scored between both teams in a game, with the totals typically set between 5.5 and 6.5 goals. If the line is set at 5.5 goals, both teams need to score more than six between them by the conclusion of the game for a bet on the Over to be paid out as a winner. 

If both teams score fewer than five goals, the Under is paid out as the winning bet.

TwinSpires Sports also provides other total goal options, including total team goals (excluding overtime) and first period total goals between both teams.

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If you feel like the Avalanche, one of the highest scoring teams in the NHL, will light up their past rivals from Detroit, a bet on Over 6.5 Goals for Colorado would’ve had odds of +800 and a sizable payout depending on the wagered amount and final result. 

It’s rare for a team to score six or more goals in an NHL game but it’s definitely not impossible and teams like Colorado are certainly capable of achieving that mark. 

Betting on individual scorers

Betting on hockey goes beyond a team’s outcome in the game. 

Bettors can also wager on individual player performances, including player props like Over or Under on total shots on goal, or which player they believe will score a goal during a particular game. 

You can bet on a player to score a goal any time, with stars like Alex Ovechkin and David Pastrnak typically having the best positive odds for this specific bet. If you’re looking for a potentially higher payout, betting on a player to score the first or last goal of the game is another option at TwinSpires Sports.

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For the game between the Avalanche and Red Wings, Nathan MacKinnon had odds of -120 to score a goal any time during the game, but odds of +700 to score the first goal or last goal. 

Betting on Stanley Cup futures

Backing a team to win the Stanley Cup with a futures bets is a great way to achieve a potentially higher payout. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning are shown here as favorites to win the Stanley Cup with odds of +525 at TwinSpires Sports, however, the outright odds for each team will fluctuate throughout the season for a variety of reasons such as injuries to key players, losing or winning streaks, and trades. 

The Lightning’s odds to win the Stanley Cup were +1000 in January following an unforeseen slow start to their season. They shrugged that off and won 10 games in a row, which eventually prompted a shift in their odds. They became favorites to win the Stanley Cup a few weeks later. In terms of timing, a $50 bet on the Lightning to win the Stanley Cup at odds of +1000 at the beginning of January would’ve had a significantly higher payout than the same amount wagered at odds of +525. 

How to watch NHL hockey

NHL games in the United States can be viewed nationally on NBC, NBCSN, the NHL Network and ESPN+. Get into the game by placing a bet on NHL Games or Stanley Cup futures today at TwinSpires Sports.