The NHL (National Hockey League) offers the perfect alternative to football for many UK punters during the winter break. In this article, we explain all you need to know about NHL betting, including the best betting sites, top tips and strategies, the best betting markets and more.
Table of Contents
- Best Betting Sites We Recommend for NHL Betting
- NHL Betting Odds 2020
- NHL 2019 – 2020 Season Overview
- The 10 Best Ice Hockey Betting Sites – Ranked
- NHL Betting Tips & Strategy
- Popular NHL Betting Markets
- What is the NHL?
- How is the NHL Structured?
- NHL Teams
- History of the NHL
- NHL Betting FAQs
- ThePuntersPage Final Say
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY
Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
New customer offer. Place 5 x £10or more bets to receive £20in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
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18+. Play Safe. New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
18+ Eligible UK+IRE players. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cash-out, restrictions & T&Cs apply.
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Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager bonus amount x40 within 14 days • Wagering req. vary by game • Deposit methods, Withdrawal restrictions and Full T&C’s apply
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Unibet Sports – Money back as Bonus up to £40 + £10 Casino 18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 35x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. No deposit required for NI customers. Call 08081699314 to claim. Full T&Cs apply. #AD"
18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit,: £10, max £10 free bet valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. System bets not eligible. Neteller,Skrill and Paypal not eligible. T&Cs apply
New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or Apple Pay will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. Paddy's Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply.
18+. UK+IRE only. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first bet £5 a odds 1/2 or more. Tote and Pool excluded. Must be placed within 14 days of account reg. £20 credited as 2 x £10 free bets. Not valid with CashOut. Free bet valid for 7 days. Free bet stake not returned. 18+ T&Cs Apply.
18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only. Min Deposit: £10. Max bonus £50. 100 spins require 3 deposits. WR 35x, spins valid for 24hrs, on selected games. Full T&Cs apply.
NHL Betting Odds 2020
Here are some of the most recent NHL Odds for 2020, courtesy of bet365.
NHL Outright Winner
|VGS Golden Knights||7/2|
NHL Eastern Conference
NHL Western Conference
|VGS Golden Knights||17/10|
**Odds updated 25/08/2020**
NHL 2019 – 2020 Season Overview
The NHL 2019 – 2020 saw a four-month hiatus due to the global pandemic. Because of this, it decided to forgo the remaining regular season games. Instead, 24 teams will compete for the 2020 Stanley Cup.
The season restart and playoffs will both be played in Canada. This is to reduce travel-related risks and to keep the players, coaches and staff safe. All Eastern Conference games will take place at Scotiabank Place in Toronto, while all Western Conference gales will take place at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
The 24 teams that get to compete will be the top 12 ranked teams from each conference. The top four seeds from each conference (as decided by points percentages) will get a bye in the first round; they will play each other in a round-robin tournament to decide their seed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Meanwhile, the 16 remaining teams will play eight best-of-5 series to earn a spot in the playoffs.
Top seeds: Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers
Other teams: New York Rangers, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets
Top seeds: St. Louis Blue, Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights, and Dallas Stars
Other teams: Edmonton Oilers, Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators, Arizona Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks, Minnesota Wild, Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets
NHL 2020 Playoffs
The NHL restarted on Saturday, August 1, 2020, while the first playoffs were on August 11.
For now, other dates are not set in stone, though the NHL has announced provisional dates for playoffs, conference finals and the Stanley Cup:
- Qualifiers and round-robins: Saturday, August 1
- First round: August 11
- Second round: August 25
- Conference finals: September 8
- Stanley Cup Final: September 22
Visit the NHL website for the updated schedule.
The 10 Best Ice Hockey Betting Sites – Ranked
(**Odds displayed above correct as of 08/2020 and are subject to change**)
bet365 has some of the best odds for NHL betting. As an international site that caters to US, UK and Canadian punters, they know exactly what hockey punters are looking for. They offer odds in the American style, including game lines, 3-way lines, in-play betting and much more for all NHL games and the NHL series. You can also bet on smaller competitions, such as Club Friendlies, the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), Eicehockey and more.
Sign up now to get up to £100 in free bet credits!
Betfair offers NHL odds in a more familiar format for UK punters. Bet on win / loss / draw as you would for a football match, or choose handicap bets or over / under goals. Bet on NHL Matches, NHL Series, NHL Outrights, NHL Playoffs, Russian Liga Pro, Comet Division, Russian KHL or the Swedish SHL. You can also choose your own odds at the Exchange.
Join now and get a free £20 exchange bet.
3. William Hill
William Hill is another staple for international and UK hockey punters. Besides the NHL, you can bet on the AHL, the Czech 1.Liga, German DEL, OHL, Swiss NLA and the WHL, among others. You can also bet on three-way matches as well as hundreds of other markets. William Hill offers boosted odds for various ice hockey specials, both for NHL and European matches.
If you join now and bet £10, you will get £30 in free bets. William Hill also has dozens of other promos, such as boosted odds, top price guaranteed, cashbacks on in-play bets, and more.
Ladbrokes is another internationally oriented betting site for hockey. Just like bet365, they offer ice hockey odds in the American format. Bet on Moneyline, Over / Under Goals, Period markets, Race Markets (e.g. First to 3 goals) and more, including NHL and NHL series markets. Other competitions include the Russian KHL, the IHF World Championship and Club Friendlies.
Bet £5 to get £20 in free bets and enjoy a risk-free £1 bet today!
888sport is serious about ice hockey – so serious, in fact, that they offer both UK and American style odds on all NHL matches as well as NHL series. Choose between Match odds, Moneyline odds, Handicap NHL odds, over / unders, and dozens of other markets. Punters can also bet on the Russian KHL, the Swedish SHL and Club Friendlies.
Bet £10 and get £30 in Free Bets today!
Unibet is another great site for hockey betting, originating from another hockey-crazed country, Sweden. They offer some of the best NHL odds, along with odds for KHL, Sweden, Champions Hockey League, Club Friendly Matches, Czech Republic, Finland, NHL Series Markets and Russia. You can bet on outrights and specials, as well as traditional betting markets for each match.
Join today and get your money back up to £40 if your first bet loses, plus a £10 bonus for casino!
Betiton is a staple for UK punters as well as many international hockey fans. Their ice hockey offering is complete with prop bets, puck lines, over / under, 3-way, moneylines and more. There are plenty of European hockey leagues to bet on as well, including the KHL, SHL, Russian Liga Pro and International Club Friendlies.
Join now, deposit £15 or more and you can get a £10 free bets! Betiton also has plenty of other promos, such as up to 77% extra on accas, the option to cash out bets, and many more.
8. Paddy Power
Paddy Power not only offer odds on all NHL matches – they even let you watch the matches live on their site! Choose between Moneyline odds, 60-minute 3-way match odds, handicap betting, and many more markets. Bet on the Russian Comet Division, KHL and Liga Pro, Club Friendlies, NHL Outrights, Swedish SHL and more.
Paddy Power offers a Risk Free £10 first bet. You will get your money back in cash if your first bet loses!
Coral is another site that takes ice hockey betting seriously. Besides moneyline odds on all major matches, you can get 149 markets for any NHL match. Their offer for European ice hockey is not too shabby either, with Russian, KHL, IHF, Club Friendlies and more. You can watch many European matches live on the site too.
If you join now and bet £5, you will get £20 in free bets!
Karamba may not be as famous as other sportsbooks; however, this up-and-coming little website has everything a hockey punter needs! You can bet on the NHL, as well as Friendlies, the Russia KHL, Russia Short Hockey and the Swedish Hockey League. With 79 betting markets per match, you have many options for finding value.
Join now, deposit £10, wager £10 and get a £10 free bet!
NHL Betting Tips & Strategy
NHL is a simple sport to watch and understand, though it can be challenging to pick a winner. Below we have compiled some excellent resources and general betting strategies for NHL betting.
American Sports Sites
Some of the best NHL betting tips come from American sports sites. Here are a few of the best:
- Sportsbookwire.usatoday.com: The sports section of USAtoday.com has some of the best free hockey tips. They offer their predictions, along with each tipster’s record, free.
- Doc’s Sports: Doc’s Sports offers free NHL betting tips, as well as a $60-a-month service with expert picks.
- SB Nation: SB Nation is a network of sports blogs. You can find a dedicated blog for each NHL team, as well as College and Women’s Hockey.
Hockey Betting Reddit
r/hockey on Reddit is full of inside information, news, updates, tips and more. Discuss anything you like with the other members, and find numerous subreddits dedicated to individual events and players.
Just like in football, expected goals (xG) can also be a relevant metric for hockey. They show you shot-based metrics that give you a better idea of a team’s average strength, compensating for the inherent variance in actual goals. Not all shots attempts are graded equally; some have a higher chance of success than others do. A shot from the slot will always have a higher success rate than one from the point.
The Importance of Goalies
A goalie is one of the most important players, as he is the last line of defence and the only player who can catch the puck. When analysing any game, it is important to see who the goalie will be and how well he performs on average.
Goals Against Average (GAA) is an important metric, though it can be misleading since the team’s overall defensive ability determines it.
Save Percentage (SV%) shows how many goals are saved, but does not account for how good the saves are. A team with strong defence will limit High-Danger Chances (HDC). This will boost a goalie’s SV%.
A more meaningful metric is the Expected Save Percentage (xSV%) and Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA). These account for the quality of the shot faced by the goaltender. By comparing SV% and xSV% you can see how good how good a goaltender is.
Pay Attention to Lineup Changes
It can be hard to determine an NHL team’s strength. Unlike a football team that has to stick to 11 players with 3 possible substitutions, an NHL’s lineup (including the goalie) can be substituted at any time during the match.
Because of this, it is important to keep up with a team’s starting lineup and changes; team beat writers on twitter are often the best way to do this.
Home-Ice Advantage is Overrated
Unlike football, where home teams have a definite advantage, the home ice advantage is much more limited when it comes to ice hockey.
Pay Attention to Travel Schedules
A team’s travel schedule can greatly influence its lineup and strategy. When teams have to play back-to-back nights, they will often start one of the games with the back-up goalie. This can greatly affect the betting lines.
Popular NHL Betting Markets
Most betting sites offer similar styled odds for NHL, based on what American bookies offer. Common markets include Moneyline, Puck Line Handicap, Total Match Goals (Over / Under), and 3-Way Betting (60 minutes Betting).
In general, Moneyline refers to the American style of displaying odds, (such as +110, -155, etc.). See our Odds Conversion Calculator.
However, in terms of NHL, Moneyline refers to a specific type of bet. Ice Hockey includes an overtime, meaning there will always be a winner in case of a draw. Moneyline bets in Ice Hockey means betting on the winner of the match, rather than win, lose or draw at the end of 60 minutes.
3-Way Betting (60 minutes Betting)
Similar to a football match, a hockey match can have team A winning, team B winning or a tie after 60 minutes. Just like in football, you can bet on each of the three options.
Puck Line Handicap
Just like in football, you can bet on whether your team would win if they had the added benefit of +1.5 or more or -1.5 fewer goals.
Total Match Goals (Over / Under)
Total match goals is another popular market. You can bet on over / under for the whole match, or for a specific team.
What is the NHL?
The NHL is the most prominent professional ice hockey league in North America and the most prestigious league in the world. It currently comprises 31 teams: 24 from the United States and 7 from Canada. The Stanley Cup, is the oldest professional sports trophy in North America. It goes the to the league playoff champion every year.
How is the NHL Structured?
NHL has a very different seasonal structure compared to the Premier League or other European sports.
It starts with a preseason (September and early October), and goes to the regular season (early October to mid April) and a postseason (the Stanley Cup playoffs).
Unlike in European professional football, where young players can be bought or sold according to certain rules, the NHL has an entry draft, similar to the NFL. In the draft, teams take turns choosing amateur players from junior leagues or college leagues, as well as professionals or amateurs from European leagues. It includes North American players between the ages of 18 and 20 years old and European or international players between the ages of 18 and 21.
Older players are considered free agents, with unrestricted access to the league.
The NHL Preseason is usually in the last two weeks of September. Each team plays six to eight exhibition matches. This allows coaches to evaluate their teams, try out different rosters and position their players. It allows players to get valuable practice before the competitive season starts. You will often see split squads, in which different players play separate games or parts of games. This is similar to friendly games in European or international football.
Each team in the NHL plays 82 regular season games. 41 are home, while 41 are away. A season sees a total of 1271 games, with 480 inter-conference games.
Each team plays four or five games against other teams in its division, while playing all other teams in its conference three times. They also play 30 or 32 inter-conference games, while playing every other NHL team at least once.
There is a three-day Christmas break, with no games on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The team with the most points in the Regular Season is awarded the Presidents’ Trophy.
Post Season / Playoffs
The Stanley Cup playoffs is an elimination-style tournament. It consists of four rounds of best-of-seven series, and culminates in the Stanley Cup to determine the league champion for that year.
Based on their total points in the regular season, the top three teams from each division qualify for the playoffs. Two other teams get a wild card, also based on their scoring, regardless of division.
First round, Second Round, Conference Finals
The first round sees all qualifying playoff teams meet each other head to head in a best of 7 series in a 2–2–1–1–1 format. The highest seeded team will play the lower seeded team for 2 home games, two away games, 1 home, 1 away, 1 home to determine who will advance to the second round.
If a team can reach 4 games won, they advance to the next round.
The Stanley Cup, the most prestigious team award, goes to the league champion at the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs. In order to win, the conference champions from the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference must win at least 4 games against the opposing team.
The NHL is divided into two conferences: Eastern Conference and Western Conference. Each consists of two divisions, with 7 or 8 teams.
- The Eastern Conference consists of the Metropolitan Division and the Atlantic Division.
- The Western Conference consists of the Central Division and the Pacific Division.
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- New Jersey Devils
- New York Islanders
- New York Rangers
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- Washington Capitals
- Boston Bruins
- Buffalo Sabres
- Detroit Red Wings
- Florida Panthers
- Montréal Canadiens
- Ottawa Senators
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Colorado Avalanche
- Dallas Stars
- Minnesota Wild
- Nashville Predators
- St. Louis Blues
- Winnipeg Jets
- Anaheim Ducks
- Arizona Coyotes
- Calgary Flames
- Edmonton Oilers
- Los Angeles Kings
- San Jose Sharks
- Vancouver Canucks
- Vegas Golden Knights
- Seattle (From 2021)
History of the NHL
The NHL was formed on November 26, 1917, at Windsor Hotel in Montreal. It replaced the NHA or National Hockey Association, which had been founded eight years earlier. While there had been multiple leagues competing for the Stanley Cup, the NHL was the only one left after several leagues folded or merged with the NHL.
While there were originally four all-Canadian teams (hence the “National” in NHL), the league eventually expanded to the USA in 1924. While there were only six teams between 1942 and 1967, this doubled in 1967. In 2017, the 31st team was added, with an expected 32nd team (Seattle) in 2021.
NHL Betting FAQs
⚒️ What are moneyline odds in NHL betting?
While moneyline usually refers to American odds (such as +125, -250, etc.), in terms of NHL, moneyline simply means betting on the winner of the match, instead of win, lose or draw when the 60 minutes are up.
🤑 How does NHL 3-way betting work?
NHL 3-way betting is betting on which team will win, lose or draw at the end of 60 minutes. This is similar to football betting, where there can also be a winner or a draw at the end of 90 minutes.
🥇 What does +1.5 mean in hockey betting?
Betting +1.5 means that the favoured team must win by more than that number of goals. The underdog will receive that number of goals as a head start. If you wager on the St. Louis Blues +1.5, they need to win the game by any score, or lose by less than 2 goals.
✅ How does betting on NHL work?
NHL has a few common betting markets, though some websites offer hundreds. The most common are moneyline (betting on the match winner), 3-way betting (betting on team A, team B or draw after 60 minutes), Puck Line Handicaps (adding +1.5 or -1.5 goals), and over / unders for the match or each team.
📈 What is the Stanley Cup?
The Stanley Cup is awarded to the team that beats the others in the playoffs. Unlike the Super Bowl, which is a single match, a team must beat the team from the other conference at least four times (best of 7) in order to win the trophy.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
The NHL is an exciting league full of action, fights and surprises, with a unique seasonal structure that creates extra suspense. Ice hockey is much more suited to European tastes than American Football (due to the latter's constant restarts and complicated rules), baseball or basketball (with often more than 100 points per team). It is simple and easy to understand, with very few breaks in the action.
At the same time, since UK punters tend to be less passionate about the ice hockey than, say, football or rugby, it can be easier to bet in a purely mathematical way, without your judgement being clouded by your favourite team or player. With a little education, you could have a fun and profitable new favourite sport on which to bet.