The NHL (National Hockey League) is an excellent alternative to betting on the soccer Premier League in England, having its own structure with a regular season, playoffs, and the Stanley Cup finals. In this article, we share the best NHL betting sites, available betting markets, our expert tips, and the best strategies based on our experience.
- What Is the NHL?
- How Is the NHL Structured?
- NHL Betting Odds, Promotions, Tips & Predictions 2022/23
- NHL Betting Tips & Predictions 2022/23
- NHL Promotions – 2022/23
- 5 Reasons To Bet on the NHL
- NHL Betting Sites With Livestreaming
- The 4 Best Ice Hockey Betting Sites – Reviewed
- NHL Betting Tips & Strategy
- Popular NHL Betting Markets
- NHL Teams
- History of the NHL
- Upcoming Sporting Events
- NHL Betting FAQs
- ThePuntersPage Final Say
What Is the NHL?
The NHL is the most prominent professional ice hockey league in North America and the most prestigious league of its kind in the world. It currently comprises 32 teams: 25 from the United States and 7 from Canada. The Stanley Cup is the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, and goes to the league playoff champion every year.
The NHL tournament starts in October and runs until July each year. Teams play 82 regular season games, 41 at home and 41 away. Teams are awarded two points for a win, which counts for both overtime wins and shootout wins. There is also one point awarded for a defeat, so long as it comes in overtime or as the result of a shootout. No points are on offer for a loss in regulation time.
How Is the NHL Structured?
The NHL has a very different seasonal structure compared to the Premier League or other European sports.
It starts with a preseason which plays out in September and early October before progressing, and goes to the regular season that runs from October through mid-April, reaching the postseason Stanley Cup playoffs.
Dating back to 1963, the NHL Draft takes place each year in late July. It is a meeting where all of the franchises of the NHL systematically select available ice hockey players who meet the draft’s eligibility criteria. These are rules that state that all available North American players must be between 18 and 20 years old, while European and international players must be between 18 and 21. Anyone else counts as unrestricted free agent. During the draft, teams take turns to select amateur players from junior or collegiate leagues, as well as professional players available from the European leagues.
The NHL Preseason usually takes place in the last two weeks of September. Each team plays six to eight exhibition matches, allowing coaches to evaluate their teams, try out different rosters, and position their players. The players themselves also get valuable practice time before the competitive season starts. In addition, 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, of which 41 are home while the other 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.
The Stanley Cup playoffs are held at the end of the NHL season to determine the winner of the National Hockey League. The playoffs are effectively an elimination tournament that consists of four rounds of best-of-seven series, the winner of which is the new NHL champion and the recipient of the Stanley Cup. The eight teams are made up from the two conferences and qualify for the playoffs based on their regular season performance and points totals. The final round is referred to as the Stanley Cup Finals, which pitches the two conference champions against each other.
The first round sees all qualifying playoff teams meet each other head-to-head in a 2–2–1–1–1 format. The highest-seeded team will play the lower seeded team for two home games, two away games, one home, one away, and one home to determine who will advance to the second round.If a team can reach four 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 four games against the opposing team.
Not to be confused with the NHL's other two series of outdoor games, the NHL Winter Classic and the NHL Heritage Classic outdoor games, the Stadium Series is a series of regular season outdoor games played in the National Hockey League. Typically, these games take place in January, February, or early March in a football or baseball stadium based somewhere in the United States. The first of these games was held in 2014, when seven teams took part in four games across three stadiums. Since 2017, however, only one game has taken place each season.
Played as an exhibition match, the NHL All-Star Game is an ice hockey match that takes place during the regular NHL season. The game sees many of the NHL’s leading lights playing against each other in two teams of four players, and the money raised will go to the players’ pension fund. The game is usually held in late January or early February and marks the halfway point of the regular season, which takes place one or two weeks earlier. This is normally late January, but in 2022, it was held in early February.
Best Betting Sites for NHL Betting
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NHL Betting Odds, Promotions, Tips & Predictions 2022/23
The first matches in the 2022 NHL season will take place on October 11, 2022, with the season coming to an end with the best-of-seven Stanley Cup finals series in June of 2023.
All of the 32 competing teams have an 82-game regular season schedule, so there are 1,312 regular season moneyline betting options in total. Below, we have published the latest betting odds for the NHL released by the top online betting sites.
NHL Betting Winner Odds 2022/23
|Toronto Maple Leafs
|Tampa Bay Lightning
|New York Rangers
|St Louis Blues
|Los Angeles Kings
Note: Bookmakers are offering each-way betting on outright wagers of two places at 1/2, which were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.
NHL Betting Tips & Predictions 2022/23
As the 2022/23 regular season approaches, we now look at some tips and predictions for the winning teams in the season and, ultimately, the Stanley Cup champions. Two franchises have gone back-to-back this century. That means the odds are against the Colorado Avalanche, who beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 in the finals earlier this year.
Interestingly, since 2000, only one losing finalist has gone one better the following season. However, four Stanley Cup winners lost in the finals series 12 months later. The NHL Draft on July 7 and 8 has affected how the current season pans out.
After several format changes, the 2022 Stanley Cup was again contested by the winners of the Eastern Conference and the winners of the Western Conference. You can bet on these outcomes in futures markets.
- Despite the statistics, we are looking at backing Colorado in the West Conference and Toronto in the East Conference. The Avalanche are currently the bookmakers’ favourites as they attempt to defend the Stanley Cup. There have been no significant departures or arrivals during the close season, so another Stanley Cup is well within their reach. Current coach, Jared Bednar, has directed operations on the ice since 2016. He has developed a winning formula, and more than half the current roster has played under his watch at Colorado. The divisional title will be the least of the coach’s expectations, and he should be confident his squad can bring home the Stanley Cup again.
- The Florida Panthers can go close in the Eastern Conference, with things are looking favourable for them to win the Atlantic Division. History is against the Panthers in terms of the ultimate prize as they have never won the Stanley Cup, losing the 1996 finals to the Avalanche. Michael Benning could play a key role for Florida in the 2022/23 this season, following his time at the Panthers development camp. He had an impressive campaign at the University of Denver, and he scored the deciding goal in the NCAA championships against Minnesota State. With his father and brother having both played in the NHL, we expect this young talent to help the Panthers go a long way in this season. Most of the roster has been acquired since 2020, so the head coach, Gerrard Gallant, could create some history for the franchise.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently third in futures markets, and at those odds, they offer some value. The last of their 13 Stanley Cup wins was in 1967, which also happens to be the last year in which they made the final. Given how long it’s been since the Canadian team lifted the trophy, they’re going to be more than eager to make 2022/23 a season for all to remember – in a good way. Toronto has had devastating outcomes in the last few years, so there could be scars. For example, the Leafs lost in the First Round of the playoffs last season. However, the 2022/23 roster brings together experienced players and new arrivals. So, this could be the season in which Sheldon Keefe coaches the Maple Leafs to win the Eastern Conference en route to the Stanley Cup.
NHL Promotions – 2022/23
Bet £10 with bet365 and get £50 worth of free bets to use on NHL matches.
Enjoy enhanced ice hockey odds with William Hill.
5 Reasons To Bet on the NHL
- It’s the biggest hockey league on earth.
- All of the very best ice hockey players are involved…
- … as well as the biggest hockey franchises.
- For the fights!
- For the Stanley Cup.
NHL Betting Sites With Livestreaming
- William Hill
The 4 Best Ice Hockey Betting Sites – Reviewed
bet365 has some of the best odds for betting on the NHL. As an international site that caters to US, UK, and Canadian punters, they know exactly what hockey bettors are looking for. You can even choose to have odds displayed in the American format, including for game lines, 3-way lines, in-play betting and much more for all NHL games and the NHL series. Markets for smaller competitions, such as Club Friendlies, the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), Eicehockey, and others are also available.
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. Other options include 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.
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.
William Hill has dozens of other promos, such as boosted odds, top price guaranteed, cashbacks on in-play bets, and more.
Ladbrokes is another great betting site for hockey that caters to punters all over the world. Just like bet365, their ice hockey odds can be displayed 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.
NHL Betting Tips & Strategy
NHL's ice hockey 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 the National Hockey League.
American Sports Sites
Some of the best NHL betting tips come from American sports sites. Here are a few of the best:
- SportsBookWire: The sports section of USA TODAY's official site offers some of the best free hockey tips online, along with predictions and each tipster’s record – all free.
- Doc’s Sports: Doc’s Sports offers free betting tips on the league, as well as a $299-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.
- Sky Sports: The UK’s biggest sports network online and on TV that broadcasts the NHL in Great Britain.
- BT Sports: Another popular broadcaster who extensively covers the NHL in the United Kingdom.
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, showing 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 shot 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, for example.
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 goalkeeper. By comparing SV% and xSV%, you can see how good a goalkeeper 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; Twitter is often the best way to do this.
Home-Ice Advantage Is Overrated
In football, home teams have a definite advantage, but home advantage is much more limited when it comes to ice hockey.
Pay Attention To Travel Schedules
A team’s travel schedule can greatly influence their 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
Ice hockey online betting in the UK has become increasingly popular, with most betting sites offering odds on the NHL based on what American bookies are offering. Because it is a team sport, hockey markets are similar to those of rugby and football.
Common hockey bet types include Moneyline, Puck Line Handicap, Total Match Goals (Over / Under), and 3-way betting (60-minute betting).
In general, the word ‘moneyline' refers to the American style of displaying odds, (such as +110, -155, etc.). For more on this, see our odds conversion calculator.
However, in terms of NHL, the Moneyline refers to a specific type of bet. Ice hockey matches include an overtime, meaning there will always be a winner in the case of a draw. Moneyline bets in ice hockey means betting on the winner of the match, rather than a win, lose or draw at the end of 60 minutes.
Best NHL betting site for moneyline: Coral
3-Way Betting (60 minute Betting)
Similar to a football match, a hockey match can have team A winning, team B winning, or a tie after 60 minutes. This bet is based around the first sixty minutes of the match, and does not apply to the result after overtime, which may or may not be required. Just like in football, you can bet on each of the three options.
Best site for 3-way betting: Betfair
Puck Line Handicap Betting
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. This is a handicap bet that is not an uncommon way to wager in the UK, and you may have come across such bets before. It is a good way of levelling up the playing field, from a betting perspective at least.
Best site for Puck Line Handicap: William Hill
Total Match Goals (Over / Under) Betting
Total Match Goals allows you to place a bet on the number of goals scored in a match or by a single team being over or under a stated amount. Think of a rugby match and betting on the amount of tries being scored in a game, and you get the idea.
Best site for over/under: BoyleSports
NHL Prop Betting
Prop bets can provide some of the most fun while delivering a whole new level of excitement to betting on the NHL. These are merely wagers that are placed on specific occurrences in the match – for example, the winner of the face-off, which team will score first, or how many minutes a certain player will spend in his opponent’s penalty box.
Best site for prop betting: Betfred
The NHL is divided into two conferences: Eastern Conference and Western Conference. Each consists of two divisions, with 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.
NHL Eastern Conference
NHL Western Conference
History of the NHL
Recent NHL Winners
|Tampa Bay Lightning
|Tampa Bay Lightning
|Tampa Bay Lightning
|St. Louis Blues
|Vegas Golden Knights
|San Jose Sharks
|Tampa Bay Lightning
|Los Angeles Kings
|New York Rangers
|Los Angeles Kings
|New Jersey Devils
Upcoming Sporting Events
NHL Betting FAQs
In the UK, viewers can watch the NHL on Sky Sports.
While the word ‘moneyline’ usually refers to American odds (such as +125, -250, etc.), in terms of NHL, the moneyline market simply means betting on the winner of the match, instead of win, lose, or draw when the 60 minutes are up.
NHL 3-way betting is placing a bet 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.
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. For instance, if you wager on the St. Louis Blues +1.5, they need to win the game by any score, or lose by less than two goals.
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.
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 seven) 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 relatively 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 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 wager!