Home » NHL betting: Everything to know about betting hockey legally

NHL betting: Everything to know about betting hockey legally

Few leagues rival the NHL in terms of fast-paced action and riveting gameplay. Thanks to the rise of legal sports betting, hockey fans now have countless ways to bet on the NHL, from the opening puck drop to the Stanley Cup Final.

The best legal online sportsbooks offer competitive odds on every NHL game. Sign up with a trusted sportsbook operator to bet on moneylines, puck lines, over-under goal totals, player props, live bets and parlays. There are more opportunities than ever to bet on hockey and win cold, hard cash.

NHL bettors can also capitalize on valuable futures market odds before and during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Predict the Cup winner and award recipients, then stake your claim on next season’s win totals and division champs.

This NHL betting guide gives prospective hockey bettors everything they need to know before tackling the on-ice action. In addition, Newsweek has several new user bonuses to build a championship-caliber bankroll on the industry’s best online sportsbooks.

NHL Betting: Popular Bet Types

There is no shortage of NHL bet types for hockey fans. Moneylines, puck lines and over-under totals are three of the most common wagers. However, there are distinct markets and advanced bet types that make NHL betting unique.

Moneylines

Sportsbook customers placing a wager on a moneyline bet are concerned about the winner of the game and nothing else. Oddsmakers assign minus (-) odds to the favorite and plus (+) odds to the underdog before players bet on either team to win the game.

For example, if the Stars have -130 moneyline odds, that makes them the betting favorite. Meanwhile, their opponent, the Oilers, are +110 underdogs. A $130 bet on Dallas pays $100 in profit, but a $100 wager on Edmonton returns $110 in winnings.

Puck Lines

While sports like the NFL and NBA have point spreads, NHL betting has puck lines. Sportsbooks set a line — typically at 1.5 — and assign odds on both teams covering the spread. The favorite has a -1.5 puck line, meaning it needs to win by two-plus goals to cash the bet. Meanwhile, underdogs at +1.5 cash if they win outright or lose by a single goal.

Let’s say the Panthers are moneyline favorites versus the Rangers, so their puck line is -1.5. However, with many NHL games decided by one score, Florida’s odds of winning by two or more are a whopping +235. Conversely, New York has -290 odds to cover the +1.5 spread.

Since betting on -290 odds offers little value, many NHL bettors take the favorite’s puck line at plus odds. There are enough instances where a one-score game becomes a two- or three-goal lead due to empty netters in the final seconds of regulation to make a favorite on the puck line a solid play.

Over-Under Totals

Another fun way to bet on the NHL is to target a game’s over-under goal total. Oddsmakers will typically set the total for an NHL game at something like 5.5 goals. From there, bettors decide if the teams will combine for more or fewer goals than expected.

The odds generally hover around -110 on both sides. However, there are instances where one side carries odds of -120 or longer, and the other has plus-money odds.

Three-Way Moneylines

The standard moneyline settles after a team wins in regulation or overtime. However, NHL betting also includes three-way moneylines, also called 60-minute lines. If you’re confident a team will win in regulation, bet on its 60-minute odds for better value. For example, the Stars’ three-way moneyline odds are +115, significantly longer than the -130 odds from the regular two-way market.

Three-way lines also include a “Draw” option. While the NHL officially eliminated ties in 2005, betting on a draw means predicting a tie after 60 minutes. Because overtime occurs more infrequently than games ending in regulation, the odds of a draw are always longer than the other three-way moneyline options.

Tie No Bet

Users can also place a moneyline bet under the “Tie No Bet” market. NHL bettors who opt for this wager get their stake back if the game goes to overtime. It’s the least common option among NHL moneyline wagers, but it’s easily the safest. However, the potential payouts dip due to players settling for more probable odds.

Skater Props

With 18 skaters seeing ice time for both teams, NHL betting includes numerous player props. Bettors can tackle a skater’s over-under on points, assists, power-play points, shots on goal and blocked shots. They can also bet on alternate totals, like Connor McDavid recording three-plus assists and Artemi Panarin registering two-plus goals.

Speaking of goals, online sportsbooks offer extensive goalscorer markets for new and existing customers. It’s possible to bet on an “Anytime Goalscorer,” the game’s first goalscorer or even the player who will score the game’s final goal.

Goalie Props

NHL goaltenders don’t play the same style of hockey as their fast-flying teammates, so their props are drastically different. Any reputable online sportsbook for NHL betting carries goalie props like over-under totals for saves and goals against. You can also bet on a shutout in hopes of a generous payout.

Game Props

Looking for more ways to bet on the NHL? Consider game props like the first and last team to score, the race to X goals, the correct score and the winning margin. You can also target a team’s specific goal total and choose whether both teams score at least two or three times.

Like the three-way moneylines, select NHL game props also have 60-minute markets. For example, you can bet on the correct score after regulation, not just the final score (potentially after overtime(s)).

Parlays & Same-Game Parlays (SGP)

Wagering on the NHL is already a thrilling experience, but parlays can amplify the excitement further. Combine two or more bet types into one ticket for multiplied odds and a potentially lucrative cash payout. Every leg within a parlay must hit for the bet to cash, meaning there’s greater risk and more chances to lose.

Players can also combine betting lines from one matchup to form an SGP. SGPs have gained in popularity in recent years since bettors can lock in on one game instead of several. However, like traditional parlays, an SGP still carries a higher loss probability than a one-off bet on a moneyline or over-under.

Live Betting

The action moves fast in an NHL game, but bettors can capitalize on hockey’s speed with live wagers. Sportsbooks consistently shift the odds while games are in progress, though they often make extreme movements after penalties and uneven shifts. Keep your mobile betting apps handy, strike when oddsmakers overreact to a play and secure great odds that might be unavailable moments later.

Futures

Futures markets are another NHL bet type every eligible player should know. Call your shot on outcomes that won’t happen for days, weeks or months with a futures bet. While waiting several months for payouts might not be everyone’s cup of tea, futures bets can be quite profitable for savvy bettors seeking peak value.

Some examples of NHL futures markets include the Stanley Cup winner, conference champions, over-under win totals and a team to make the playoffs. The NHL Draft in June also attracts early wagers from hockey fans months in advance.

NHL Betting Tips

Betting on NHL games requires a different mindset than wagering on well-known sports like football and basketball. However, sportsbooks and bettors paying less attention to on-ice happenings could lead to more significant bankrolls and long-term profitability.

Here are some of the top betting strategies to consider while wagering on the NHL:

1. Never Underestimate Underdogs

The NHL garners praise for its parity and unpredictability, especially during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In a sport where any result is on the table, bettors should think twice before blindly picking the favorites. All it takes is a hot goalie or a fortunate puck bounce to render all pre-game analysis completely useless.

Does this mean you should always back the underdog? Of course not. If the favorite has significant positional and health advantages, this is a spot where the -1.5 puck line with plus odds makes sense. But you shouldn’t automatically expect a blowout victory like you might see in NFL and NBA games with double-digit point spreads.

2. Check Starting Goalies

Any goaltender manning the crease is pivotal to an NHL team’s success. However, few bettors bother to check which goalie is actually between the pipes before a game. Seek out information on who’s starting in net and how they’ve fared in recent games before placing your bet.

NHL teams often confirm their starting netminder a few minutes before puck drop. But there are ways for bettors to strike hours earlier. Beat writers often report which goalie leaves the ice first at a morning practice session, a typical indication they will get the start. In addition, teams on the second half of a back-to-back almost always play the goalie who sat the night prior.

3. Learn Basic NHL Stats

You don’t need to become an expert in mathematics and statistical analysis to succeed at NHL betting. Yet there are basic, easily accessible stats that players should utilize when betting on hockey.

For example, bettors should look at how many shots each team generates and allows per game. Simply put, teams that put more pucks on net often score more goals and win more hockey games. Corsi for percentage (CF%) counts all shot attempts, including ones blocked by defenders or wide of the goalie, to show which teams generate more offensive chances than their opponents.

Goals for per 60 (GF/60) is another helpful stat. Every skater has a different TOI (time on ice), so GF/60 shows how effective players are at causing goals in an adjusted 60-minute frame. Use a stat like GF/60 to target undervalued skaters who tally points despite playing third- and fourth-line minutes.

4. Recognize Momentum

As previously stated, hockey is an unpredictable sport. A big reason why is that underdogs in the NHL often catch fire and ride the momentum all the way to the top. The 2022-23 Panthers grabbed the second Wild Card spot by one point, but their late-season surge paved the way for upsets over the historically dominant Bruins, star-powered Maple Leafs and rival Hurricanes en route to the Stanley Cup Final.

All hot and cold streaks eventually end. But bettors who notice these long stretches should ride the wave and profit off sportsbooks under- and over-valuing these teams.

Best NHL Betting Promos

Prospective players need an outlet for their newfound knowledge of NHL betting. Luckily, these online sportsbooks have competitive odds on NHL games and extensive markets with countless bet types.

As an added perk, Newsweek gives first-time players a sign-up bonus for joining these sportsbooks. Collect bonus bets, deposit matches and first-bet refunds from the best online sportsbooks to bet on NHL games.

DraftKings Sportsbook NHL Promo: Bet $5, Get Instant $150 Bonus

DraftKings Sportsbook offers new players a $150 bonus for the NHL. Bet as little as $5 on any NHL moneyline, puck line or goalscorer prop. DraftKings will issue an instant payout worth $150 in bonus bets, giving customers chances to win cash during hockey season.

ESPN BET NHL Promo Code NEWSWEEK: $1K Bet Reset & 200% Deposit Match

ESPN BET provides two promotions through the code NEWSWEEK. New customers get a $1,000 First Bet Reset that covers a loss of up to $1,000 with bonus bets (five worth 20% each). Additionally, ESPN BET offers a 200% deposit match that pays players up to $500 in eligible Cashback.

Fanatics Sportsbook NHL Promo: Score $1K Bonus Bet Match

The NHL betting promos continue with Fanatics’ “10x$100” offer. First-time customers placing up to $100 on an NHL wager get a matching bonus bet from Fanatics Sportsbook. Fanatics matches your initial cash wager for 10 straight days, so bettors can earn up to $1,000 in bonus bets.

BetMGM NHL Bonus Code NEWSWEEK1500: Unlock $1.5K First Bet Offer

BetMGM has a First Bet Offer for new users. Enter the code NEWSWEEK1500 before placing up to $1,500 on any eligible NHL market. BetMGM will refund your losing stake with five bonus bets worth 20% each, so a $1,500 loss returns five (5) $300 bonus bets.

Bet365 NHL Promo Code NEWSXLM: Bet $5, Get $150 Bonus or Place $1K Safety Net Bet

New NHL bettors have two options with bet365. The code NEWSXLM unlocks a “Bet $5, Get $150” deal that awards new users $150 in bonus bets after a $5 stake. Alternatively, the $1,000 First Bet Safety Net covers wagers worth up to a grand with bonus bet refunds.

Caesars Sportsbook NHL Promo Code NEWSWK1000: Grab $1K First Bet on Caesars

Caesars’ NHL betting promo is another four-digit wager on the house. Place up to $1,000 on any prop after entering the code NEWSWK1000, and Caesars will issue a single-use bonus bet if you lose. Players have 14 days from receipt to apply their bonus bet on the NHL or another available market.

FanDuel Sportsbook NHL Promo: Bet $5, Win $200 Bonus

Finally, FanDuel Sportsbook offers a no-brainer “Bet $5, Get $200” deal to most of its new users. Bet as little as $5 on the NHL, and FanDuel will award $200 in bonus bets if you win, regardless of the original betting odds.

FanDuel gives Ohio and Massachusetts bettors a $300 bonus after winning their first $5 bet.

Where Can You Bet on the NHL?

State Online Sports Betting? Retail Sports Betting?
Alabama ❌ No ❌ No
Alaska ❌ No ❌ No
Arizona ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Arkansas ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
California ❌ No ❌ No
Colorado ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Connecticut ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Delaware ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Florida ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Georgia ❌ No ❌ No
Hawaii ❌ No ❌ No
Idaho ❌ No ❌ No
Illinois ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Indiana ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Iowa ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Kansas ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Kentucky ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Louisiana ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Maine ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Maryland ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Massachusetts ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Michigan ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Minnesota ❌ No ❌ No
Mississippi ✅ Yes (Limited) ✅ Yes
Missouri ❌ No ❌ No
Montana ✅ Yes (Limited) ✅ Yes
Nebraska ❌ No ✅ Yes
Nevada ✅ Yes (In-Person Registration) ✅ Yes
New Hampshire ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
New Jersey ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
New Mexico ❌ No ✅ Yes
New York ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
North Carolina ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
North Dakota ❌ No ✅ Yes
Ohio ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Oklahoma ❌ No ❌ No
Oregon ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Pennsylvania ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Rhode Island ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
South Carolina ❌ No ❌ No
South Dakota ❌ No ✅ Yes
Tennessee ✅ Yes ❌ No
Texas ❌ No ❌ No
Utah ❌ No ❌ No
Vermont ✅ Yes ❌ No
Virginia ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Washington ❌ No ✅ Yes
West Virginia ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Wisconsin ❌ No ✅ Yes
Wyoming ✅ Yes ✅ Yes

Legal online sports betting dates back to 2018, when the United States Supreme Court lifted the federal ban known as PASPA, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. The end of PASPA signaled the beginning of state-by-state legislation on sports betting and legal NHL wagering for millions of Americans.

As of June 2024, some form of sports betting is legal in 38 of the 50 states. Many accept online and retail wagers, though several still have restrictions that limit betting to in-person or online only. In addition, some states only partner with one operator or require residents to sign up and bet at select locations.

Fortunately, 24 legal betting states partner with one or more of our featured online sportsbooks. AZ, CO, CT, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, TN, VA, VT, WV and WY are the best states to bet on NHL games and score excellent welcome promos. Many states within that group have agreements with all of the industry’s most well-regarded operators, giving players lots of betting options and sign-up bonuses.

It’s safe to assume more states will legalize sports betting, but knowing who and when is impossible. States like Missouri and Oklahoma have active legislation, but nothing is set in stone. Additionally, Georgia and Minnesota had unsuccessful attempts to pass legislation this year. Eager sports fans from 12 states will have to wait until 2025 at the earliest to bet on the NHL.

NHL Betting FAQ

Is it legal to bet on the NHL?

Betting on the NHL is legal after the Supreme Court ended PASPA in 2018. However, qualified bettors must be in a legal state and use a licensed sportsbook to place a wager.

Can I bet on the NHL today?

New customers can bet on the NHL immediately following a successful registration and cash deposit. Sportsbooks accept wagers on upcoming games and futures markets, typically available year-round.

How do I qualify for NHL betting promos?

Players must activate Newsweek’s promo links to qualify for NHL betting promos and meet the sportsbook’s new player requirements. Read each operator’s terms and conditions for additional information.

Where can I register for online sportsbooks?

As “online” implies, new customers can sign up for online sportsbooks anywhere within their legal betting state. To confirm your playing area, enable geolocation settings on your desktop, laptop or mobile device.

What do I need for registration?

Every online sportsbook operator must verify your full legal name, residential address, phone number, email address, date of birth and Social Security Number. In addition, bettors need a secure payment method for a cash deposit.

Can I deposit any amount?

Sportsbooks generally require a minimum deposit of around $10. However, your secure deposit should be enough to qualify for that site’s welcome promo.

What is the best sportsbook for NHL betting?

Prospective players should consider DraftKings, ESPN BET, Fanatics, BetMGM, bet365, Caesars and FanDuel as the best sportsbooks for NHL betting. In addition to fantastic welcome promos, these seven operators offer competitive NHL odds, in-app bonuses, profit boosts and user-friendly interfaces for mobile bettors.

What are the best NHL bets?

NHL betting features two- and three-way moneylines, puck lines, over-under totals, player props and team props. Other common bet types include live wagers, futures markets and parlays.

Newsweek may earn an affiliate commission if you sign up through the links in this article. See the sportsbook operator’s terms and conditions for important details. Sports betting operators have no influence over newsroom coverage.

Fanatics Terms & Conditions: Must be 21+. GAMBLING PROBLEM? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (AZ, CO, IL, KY, MD, OH, PA, TN, VA, VT, WV); (888) 789-7777 or ccpg.org (CT); 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA); (800) 327-5050 or gamblinghelpline.org (MA), mdgamblinghelp.org (MD), 1800gambler.net (WV).

Bet365 Terms & Conditions: New Customers only. Bet $5 and get $150 in Bonus Bets. Sign up, deposit (minimum $10) to your account and place a qualifying bet of $5 to get $150 in Bonus Bets once your bet is settled with bet365. Bonus Bets winnings are added to Bonus Bets balance. Bonus Bet wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. The bonus code NEWSXLM can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way.

Caesars Terms & Conditions: Must be 21 or older and physically present in AZ, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV, or WY. New users only. Must register using eligible promo code. First bet after registration must qualify. Max. Bonus Bet: $1,000. Bonus Bet expires 14 days after receipt. Void where prohibited. See Caesars.com/promos for full terms. Know When To Stop Before You Start®. Gambling Problem? CO, IL, KY, MD, MI, NJ, OH, TN, VA, WV, WY, KS (Affiliated with Kansas Crossing Casino), LA (Licensed through Horseshoe Bossier City and Harrah’s New Orleans), ME (Licensed through the Mi’kmaq Nation, Penobscot Nation, and Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, federally recognized tribes located in the State of Maine), NC (Licensed through Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise), PA (Affiliated with Harrah’s Philadelphia): If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) or MD: visit mdgamblinghelp.org or WV: visit 1800gambler.net; AZ: Call 1-800-NEXT-STEP; IN: Call 1-800-9-WITH-IT; IA: Call 1-800-BETSOFF. ©2024, Caesars Entertainment Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.