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NHL betting is one of the most exciting ways to gamble on sports. Checking the NHL odds and making a wager before a big Stanley Cup Final game provides a whirlwind sports betting experience only hockey can provide.
To beginner sports bettors, hockey odds might look a little different. There are no point spreads in the way we’re used to seeing them with NFL and NBA odds. Puck lines are unique to NHL betting odds, though they bear a resemblance to MLB run line odds.
There are three types of betting lines for every game – the puck line, the total and the moneyline. At Bookies.com, you will only find the most up-do-date NHL lines from the best sportsbooks in your state. These odds are very easy to understand with once you have a solid grasp of how they work, and you can plug them into our free odds calculator to calculate you potential winnings. Before long, you’ll be ready to jump in on the highly-entertaining NHL betting action.
Does Bookies Provide the Best NHL Odds for Each game?
Yes, it does. Here you’ll find the best daily NHL lines from our list of top recommended NHL betting sites. NHL odds update daily and change over the course of the day based on lineups, injury reports, sharp betting and many other factors. Knowing how and why NHL betting lines are moving is essential for strategy. It’s the game within the game. Goals, assists and advanced stats are great for broadcasters and analysts covering NHL games. For betting, it’s equally important to know the numbers on shifting NHL puck lines, totals and moneylines.
These lines all come from legal and regulated NHL betting sites. Among their myriad issues, unregulated and unlicensed offshore sites might post lines you can no longer bet. Rest assured that you can get action on all the listed NHL odds, which constantly update with line movement until the puck drops. If you are a Canadian looking to get in on the action, Bookies has reviewed the best Canadian online sportsbooks that will be available for you.
RELATED: check out our daily NHL Expert Picks, free for you, every day of the season straight through the playoffs.
How to Read NHL Lines
NHL betting odds are very easy to understand once you get the hang of it. It’s not about finding value in point spreads. It’s about finding value on the odds and inherent risk/reward from a money management standpoint. Here’s a look at the three most popular NHL bets you can make.
The NHL puck line is like a point spread. But the point spread is always the same. The NHL puck line is always -1.5 goals for the favorite and +1.5 goals for the underdog. If you bet the favorite on a puck line, you’re betting they will win by two goals or more. If you bet the underdog on a puck line, you’re betting they won’t lose by two goals or more. It’s also known as the “reverse puck line.”
Let’s say the Buffalo Sabres are playing the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Let’s say they’re almost dead even, with the Devils given a slight home ice advantage. Here’s how a puck line would look for this NHL matchup.
- Buffalo Sabres +1.5 (-295)
- New Jersey Devils -1.5 (+230)
The number in parenthesis is important. The Devils puck line of +230 means a $100 bet would win $230 if the Devils win by two or more goals. The Sabres puck line of -295 means bettors need to risk $295 to win $100 if the Sabres don’t lose by two goals or more.
Keep in mind the Devils are slightly favored to win the game, but they aren’t favored to hit the puck line. That’s because hockey is relatively low scoring and roughly 50% of all games are decided by one goal. Betting the Devils puck line here means a win isn’t necessarily good enough. They need to win in decisive fashion and beat the Sabres by at least two goals to hit the puck line bet. But, at +230, the profit is great should that happen.
Sabres puck line bettors are risking more money to win less. That’s because the puck line bet hits if the Sabres win the game, but also with a final score of Devils 4, Sabres 3 or Devils 1, Sabres 0. The odds are in Buffalo’s favor. And the bet automatically hits if the game goes to overtime, because the Devils can’t win by more than one goal after regulation.
Just remember the key numbers above are +230 and -295. Those are the numbers that move before a game, while the puck line spread will always be 1.5 goals. Once you have a solid grasp of puck line betting, you’ll start to find value in those odds on a daily basis.
This one should be more familiar. Placing an NHL moneyline bet on a team means you’re betting on them to win the game outright. It doesn’t matter if it wins by three goals or one. Doesn’t matter if it wins in overtime or a shootout. Let’s say the Minnesota Wild are hosting the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Wild are a significant favorite. Here’s how a typical NHL moneyline might look.
- Carolina Hurricanes +200
- Minnesota Wild -250
We know the Carolina Hurricanes are underdogs because they’re listed +200. That means a $100 bet would win $200 if the Hurricanes win the game. The Minnesota Wild are a big favorite at -250, meaning bettors need to risk $250 to win $100. The final score doesn’t matter. All that matters is they win the game outright.
The Wild are favored here because they’re at home, and presumably the better team. But let’s say the San Jose Sharks are on the road playing the St. Louis Blues, and the Sharks have the better record. St Louis has home-ice advantage to even things out, meaning the moneyline odds could look like this.
- San Jose Sharks -110
- St. Louis Blues -110
This means the NHL oddsmakers have deemed this game a toss-up. You can risk $110 to win $100 on San Jose or St Louis, whichever team you think is going to win the game outright. This is where you need to weigh how important home ice is in this particular situation, and whether or not the Sharks are good enough to overcome it as the road team.
Hockey odds for total betting work exactly like NFL and NBA totals. The only difference is the total number is much smaller. NHL oddsmakers set a total number for every game. You can then bet that the number of combined goals scored in the game will be more or less than the total. This is also known as the over/under.
Let’s say the Tampa Bay Lightning are playing the Pittsburgh Penguins. Here’s how the NHL total odds might look in this game.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins
- Over 5.5 (-110)
- Under 5.5 (-110)
Bettors can risk $110 to win $100 on either side. Betting the over means the Lightning and Penguins need to score six or more combined goals. It doesn’t matter who wins the game. These NHL lines are just about the goal tally.
Same goes for the under. You might think both goalies are really good and offense will be limited. If the final score adds up to five or less, you win the under bet. Pretty simple, especially for savvy NHL bettors who stay on top of backup goalies. Very few starting goalies play all 82 games of the season, and there’s often value in total betting on backup goalies who may be overrated, underrated, or unknown.
How Are NHL Lines Generated?
NHL oddsmakers and handicappers have a unique challenge compared to other sports. Instead of handicapping uneven teams with point spreads, they do it by adjusting the risk/reward on moneyline and puck line betting odds.
Moneyline NHL odds are set based on countless factors. These include the teams’ records, their travel schedules, overall team health, recent trends, home ice advantage, public perception – the list goes on and on.
Let’s say the Washington Capitals are playing the Vegas Golden Knights, but Alexander Ovechkin is out with an injury. The Capitals are a much better team with Ovechkin on the ice. Oddsmakers take this into account on puck line, moneyline and total line. Or, Ovechkin could come in on a crazy hot streak. Maybe he’s scored six goals over the last four games. NHL oddsmakers could factor that in the other way and make the Capitals an even more significant favorite over the Golden Knights.
It’s not a simple formula. NHL handicappers have to weigh all the data and combine it with their experience to consistently set strong lines.
How Often Do NHL Odds Change?
NHL odds can change often from the day before and in the hours leading up to a game. NHL betting lines are often available for less than 24 hours with teams playing on consecutive nights. Whereas NFL betting lines have a week to evolve and shift, NHL odds swing in short bursts.
That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of NHL betting odds throughout the day. If you see a lot of value on an opening line, chances are it won’t be there for long. Our NHL odds page automatically updates when lines change and includes only the best lines from legal recommended NHL betting sites. Bookmark this page so you can better monitor line movement and pounce on the latest NHL odds as soon as you see betting value.
When are NHL Odds Released?
NHL odds are usually released the day before a game, or the morning of. If the Pittsburgh Penguins are playing the Buffalo Sabres on a Tuesday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, sportsbooks won’t post odds for Penguins-Lightning until the Penguins-Sabres game is over.
Simply keep an eye on the NHL schedule and bookmark this page so you can jump on the latest NHL odds the second they go up at our recommended online betting sites.
NHL Playoff Odds
There is a world of opportunity for the NHL betting enthusiast here, both with NHL futures bets and in-game or series prediction bets.
Most bookmakers offer futures odds on NHL conference champions, along with the Stanley Cup champion. They fluctuate a lot, usually in tandem with the official league standings, but generally, the preseason favorite for the Cup often stays that way throughout with the bookmakers.
When the playoffs start, series outcome odds are available to bet, but be careful here. The NHL typically has more early-round upsets than the other sports. A hot goalie can and often does steal a series against the favorite by himself. Home-ice advantage typically doesn’t matter as much in the NHL playoffs until a seventh game.
In the NBA, eighth seeds rarely beat No. 1 seeds in the postseason. In the NHL, it happens quite a bit in comparison.
You can still bet the moneyline, puck line and over/under for playoff games, but be careful betting the over in an NHL playoff game: They are usually lower-scoring than regular-season games, because of the defensive and physical intensity that gets ramped up.
RELATED: Check Out Updated NHL Futures Odds, Including Stanley Cup Odds
Types of Sports Bets Made From NHL Odds
The NHL puck line is like a point spread, but it’s always 1.5 goals. You can bet that a favorite will win by two goals or more or that the underdog won’t lose by two goals or more. Puck line bets are often decided in the final minutes when the losing team pulls the goalie while down by one goal. Sweating out an empty-net puck line bet on either side is a rite of passage for NHL bettors.
NHL moneylines are simple. Bet on whichever team you think will win the game. The odds adjust and there’s often value on underdogs with moneylines around +250 or +300. All it takes is one cheesy goal or weird bounce to swing the outcome and deliver a big payday for NHL moneyline bettors.
This is another familiar one. NHL sportsbooks set a number like 6.5, and you can bet if the number of combined goals scored by both teams will be more or less than 6.5 goals. The betting odds are usually around -110 on either side, meaning you risk $110 to win $100.
How the Latest NHL Odds Can Impact Your Betting Decision
NHL odds can tell you everything you need to know about a matchup once you have a firm understanding of the lines. Watching they way they move throughout the day usually tells you where most of the public is betting, or where sharp money is coming in. Our NHL consensus page is a great tool to monitor that.
Paying attention to line movement is also crucial – you might see a breaking news alert that a starting goalie is out and decide to bet against his team. But that’s not a winning strategy. Sportsbooks don’t miss things like that. If you looked at the opening line, before the injury news, you’ll surely see an odds shift once the backup goalie is announced as the starter. It’s not about who’s playing, it’s about how much their absence impacts the line. You can then decide if the line movement is an overreaction or underreaction to the injury news and bet accordingly.
Those are just a few of the more advanced strategies NHL bettors can use once they understand the odds and line movement. Our NHL odds page will help you get there, while Bookies.com has all the resources to help bettors make more profitable decisions in any sport. We even have extensive reviews of the top sports betting sites in Ontario and other provinces.