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ice-hockey | Thursday, October 7, 2021 8:34 AM
How To Bet On The NHL: Strategies, Stats, Odds
How To Bet On The NHL: Strategies, Stats, Odds
ZUMA Press Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

The NHL season is set to begin. The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to win back to back titles, the Montreal Canadiens will hope to go one step further while the Colorado Avalanche will enter the season as favourites to win the Stanley Cup in 2022.

In this article we will cover the basics when it comes to betting on the NHL. From popular betting markets to the best NHL betting strategies, the best bookmakers for NHL betting and detailed NHL betting statistics.

In this How to bet on the NHL article:

When does the NHL season begin?

So, you want to know how to bet on the NHL. Let’s start with when to bet on the NHL.

The 2021/22 NHL season schedule is as follows:

  • NHL regular season begins Tuesday October 12th
  • Winter Olympic Break February 3rd to 22nd
  • NHL playoffs begin April 2022

Download full NHL schedule spread sheet for 2021 2022

A total of 32 teams will compete in the 2021/22 NHL season with each team playing 82 games, 41 at home and 41 away.

The 32 teams are divided into four divisions with each division featuring eight teams. The four divisions are split into two conferences. The winner of each conference will meet in the 2022 Stanley Cup.

NHL Eastern Conference 2021/22

Atlantic DIVISION Metropolitan DIVISION
Boston Bruins Carolina Hurricanes
Buffalo Sabres Columbus Blue Jackets
Detroit Red Wings New Jersey Devils
Florida Panthers New York Islanders
Montreal Canadiens New York Rangers
Ottawa Senators Philadelphia Flyers
Tampa Bay Lightning Pittsburgh Penguins
Toronto Maple Leafs Washington Capitals

NHL Western Conference 2021/22

Central Pacific
Arizona Coyotes Anaheim Ducks
Chicago Blackhawks Calgary Flames
Colorado Avalanche Edmonton Oilers
Dallas Stars Los Angeles Kings
Minnesota Wild San Jose Sharks
Nashville Predators Seattle Kraken
St.Louis Blues Vancouver Canucks
Winnipeg Jets Vegas Golden Knights

What are popular NHL betting markets?

There are many ways to bet on the NHL. You can bet on both single games and season outright markets. The most popular of these are:

Moneyline odds give you the opportunity to bet on the winner of an individual NHL game. It’s important to note that NHL moneylines include overtime if the game is tied at the end of regulation play. If you prefer, most bookmakers will provide odds for 1X2 giving you the chance to bet on either team winning in regulation time or the game being tied and headed for overtime.

Puckline odds give you the chance to bet on the game with a handicap given to both teams. The favourite will take a -1.5 goal handicap into the game meaning if you bet on them, they must win the game by at least two goals. The underdog will be given a +1.5 goal advantage meaning they can either win the game outright or lose by at most one goal.

Goal totals allow you to bet on the total number of goals in a NHL game, with overtime included. You can bet the final goal total for the game will be over or under a set total number of goals. For example, if the goal total is set at 5.5 goals, you can bet there will be at least six goals scored (over 5.5 goals) or you can bet there will be 5 goals or fewer scored (under 5.5 goals).

Division winner odds give you the chance to bet on the team that will win one of the four NHL divisions come the end of the regular season.

Conference winner odds allows you to bet on which team will win either the Eastern or Western Conference.

Stanley Cup winner odds gives you the opportunity to bet on the team you think will win the Stanley Cup this season.

Which Team Is Favourite to Win the 2022 Stanley Cup?

There is the question of how to bet on the NHL and then there’s the question, who to bet on? Heading into the 2021/22 NHL season, the Colorado Avalanche are the favourites with last season’s champions the Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights the challengers. If Colorado are successful it will be their first championship since the 2000/01 season, while Tampa Bay will earn back to back titles.

The odds below are best odds available as at October 5th, 2021.

Team Odds
Colorado Avalanche 6.50
Tampa Bay Lightning 8.00
Vegas Golden Knights 8.50
Toronto Maple Leafs 13.00
Boston Bruins 15.00
Carolina Hurricanes 19.00
New York Islanders 21.00
Minnesota Wild 26.00
Florida Panthers 23.00
Edmonton Oilers 26.00
Pittsburgh Penguins 26.00
New York Rangers 26.00
Washington Capitals 26.00
Philadelphia Flyers 34.00
Dallas Stars 34.00
St. Louis Blues 41.00
Montreal Canadiens 41.00
Winnipeg Jets 46.00
Calgary Flames 41.00
Seattle Kraken 51.00
Vancouver Canucks 67.00
Chicago Blackhawks 67.00
Los Angeles Kings 81.00
Nashville Predators 76.00
New Jersey Devils 101.00
San Jose Sharks 101.00
Ottawa Senators 126.00
Anaheim Ducks 151.00
Columbus Blue Jackets 151.00
Detroit Red Wings 201.00
Arizona Coyotes 151.00
Buffalo Sabres 251.00

What Are The Best NHL Betting Strategies?

There are a number of things to keep in mind when betting on the NHL. Here are our five best strategies for betting on the NHL this season.

  • Rest counts but not always how you anticipate. Pay close attention to the schedule and to when a team is playing a heavy schedule particularly when they are travelling. And especially when such a team is coming up against a home team that is rested. It can be difficult to determine the impact of a busy schedule and the advantage for a team coming into a game on a rest. One approach is to look at how individual teams have performed in both situations in recent seasons. While most teams prefer to play at home and enjoy the advantage rest days provide them, some teams prefer the momentum that can be gained on a busy schedule and the close bond that can motivate a team on a long road trip. Such teams can also fail to take advantage of rest when they get it, losing their momentum.
  • Track injuries especially those that impact a team’s lines and position play. While we all know injuries impact a team’s chances of winning a game, that impact can be difficult to quantify in any analysis. Fortunately bookmakers are in the same position. Pay close attention when teams are missing a number of players due to injury in a given position and when they are playing against teams that are relatively healthy. For example, betting the over in the goal totals market can be a value play when a relatively healthy offence is coming up against a team that is struggling through injuries to key defensemen. On the flip side, betting the under can be a value play when a team struggling through injuries to key attacking players is coming up against a team that is relatively healthy in defence.
  • Find value in teams who struggled through the opening half of the season. It may be counter intuitive, but teams who performed poorly in the first half of the season can be of great value in the second half of the season. And when I say performed poorly, I mean performed poorly against the betting market. For example, in the 2019-20 season, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, Vegas, Chicago, Anaheim, Toronto, Detroit and New Jersey were all -13% or greater in moneyline betting in the first half of the season. In the second half of the season, six of those eight teams returned a profit for moneyline bettors game to game. Conversely the NY Islanders, Washington, Colorado, Winnipeg, NY Rangers, St.Louis, Carolina and Arizona were all profitable against the moneyline market during the first half of the season. Only one of these teams returned a profit in the second half of the season.
  • Follow hot goaltenders, avoid the cold. Like all players, goaltenders go through the peaks and valleys of good and bad form. So pay attention to goaltender stats and follow goalies when they are hot and avoid them when they go cold. Pay attention to the percentage the goals a goaltender is allowing in relation to the number of shots they face. This is their save percentage. While it is a good place to start, the best stat for assessing goaltender performance is their 5v5 save percentage.This is their save percentage when both teams have five players on the ice.. A poor performing team may still feature a goaltender that is performing in relation to the shots they are facing. So while these teams may not be winning games, they may be performing above market expectations and similarly may be playing in games that feature lower goal totals than expected. This is especially the case in a game featuring two goaltenders who are playing above expectations.
  • Bet the goal total going over if you think the game will be close. Why? Empty net goals late in regulation time. And the prospect of overtime. If the game is close it is likely one team will pull their goalie in an attempt to score a late goal. This will leave them with an unguarded goal giving the opposing team the chance to score a cheap goal late enhancing the chances of the game going over the goal total. Similarly if the game is close the chances it will go into overtime are greater, meaning the chances of the goal total going over are likewise greater.

NHL Betting Stats

Firstly, let’s take a look at home ice advantage in the NHL. From the data below we can see that home ice advantage is fairly stable across both the regular season and playoffs, with just under 55% of home teams winning their games.

Further we can see that home ice advantage is greater when the home team is playing with days of rest, peaking just over 56% when the home team has had 3 days of rest between games, while win percentage peaks likewise after 3 days of rest, with away teams winning just over 47% of games when enjoying the 3 day break between games.

Home Away
Regular season 54.76% 45.24%
Playoffs 54.90% 45.10%
0 days rest 53.67% 46.08%
1 day rest 51.60% 42.64%
2 days rest 55.41% 45.62%
3 days rest 56.16% 47.42%
4 days rest 53.10% 45.87%
5+ days rest 49.73% 46.20%

How does home advantage look when we cross match the number of days rest for both home and away teams?

We can see in the table below that home advantage has been greatest when the home team has had at least 3 days rest between games and the visiting team is playing back to back games with zero days rest. In this situation home teams have won almost 73% of games played, while when playing with a 2 day break against visitors on back to back games, the win percentage for home teams is over 63%.

Away 0 days Away 1 day Away 2 days Away 3+ days
Home 0 days 46.28% 54.55% 47.83% 65.43%
Home 1 day 33.33% 53.98% 50.97% 46.18%
Home 2 days 63.24% 58.63% 54.76% 53.61%
Home 3+ days 72.73% 57.87% 54.43% 53.03%

Best NHL Teams To Bet On Or Bet Against Last Season

Let’s take a look at each NHL team’s profitability. The table below shows the game to game profitability for each NHL team last season across moneylines, pucklines, over goal totals and under goal totals.

The best team to bet on the moneyline game to game last season was the Florida Panthers. If you had bet a single stake on each Panthers game last season, you would have earned a return of almost 18% profit. Meanwhile, the Columbus Blue Jackets were the worst team to bet on last season, seeing game to game bettors losing almost 30% on investment.

As far as puckline betting goes, the best team to bet on was the New York Rangers (+24%) while the worst was against Columbus (-24.5%).

In terms of betting over and under on the goal total game to game, the best team for betting the over was the Philadelphia Flyers, returning just over 22% profit if you bet the over in each Flyers game last season. Meanwhile the best team for betting the under last season was the Detroit Red Wings (+17.80%).

Team ML ROI% PL ROI% Over ROI% Under ROI%
Anaheim Ducks -25.50% -2.30% -23.30% 12.60%
Arizona Coyotes -12.30% -9.40% 13% -21%
Boston Bruins -4% -4.80% -18.40% 12.50%
Buffalo Sabres -27.30% -20.30% 10.90% -14.10%
Calgary Flames -10.70% -4.40% -14.50% 9.00%
Carolina Hurricanes 9.30% 0.60% -8.20% 3.90%
Chicago Blackhawks -8.40% -3.90% 10.30% -12.90%
Colorado Avalanche 4.40% -8.50% -4.80% -1.70%
Columbus Blue Jackets -29.60% -24.50% 0.80% -5.00%
Dallas Stars -24.90% -8.90% 11.90% -16.90%
Detroit Red Wings -1% 11.40% -24.80% 17.80%
Edmonton Oilers 9.40% 7.80% -13.60% 9.00%
Florida Panthers 17.80% -2.80% 4.20% -7.50%
Los Angeles Kings -14.30% -2.60% 0.50% -8.30%
Minnesota Wild 10.70% 14% 21.60% -26.70%
Montreal Canadiens -20.70% -2.80% -10.10% 4.80%
Nashville Predators 10.10% 2.30% -10.20% 5.20%
New Jersey Devils -17.80% -7.50% 2.90% -6.70%
New York Islanders 1.70% 5.70% -18.20% 13.60%
New York Rangers -8.60% 24.40% -19% 11%
Ottawa Senators 10.10% 8% -11.60% 5.40%
Philadelphia Flyers -13.90% -7.40% 22.40% -26.30%
Pittsburgh Penguins 14.40% -5% 5.10% -7.90%
San Jose Sharks -15.30% -0.30% 9.70% -16.70%
St. Louis Blues -5.70% -19.40% -8.30% 0.10%
Tampa Bay Lightning -2.30% 0.50% 0.90% -5.40%
Toronto Maple Leafs 2.80% -6.70% -9.60% 3.80%
Vancouver Canucks -7.20% -18.20% -12% 7%
Vegas Golden Knights 13.20% -2.30% 4% -8%
Washington Capitals 17.60% -1.60% 13.90% -18.90%
Winnipeg Jets 8.20% 7.40% 0.80% -6.40%

Best NHL Teams To Bet On Or Against The Last 5 Seasons

Below we can see a similar break down but in this case we are looking at data for the last five NHL seasons. The team that best outperformed the market in moneyline betting the last five seasons was the Washington Capitals (+9.30%) while the team that best outperformed the puckline market was the Tampa Bay Lightning (+6.90%). The best team for betting the over was the Washington Capitals (+11%) while the best team for betting the under was the Anaheim Ducks, returning +6.50%.

Team ML ROI% PL ROI% Over ROI% Under ROI%
Anaheim Ducks -5.30% -1.30% -12.50% 6.50%
Arizona Coyotes -6.40% -4.40% -8.60% 2.60%
Boston Bruins 1.10% 6.50% -9.90% 5.00%
Buffalo Sabres -15.80% -9.20% 3.10% -7.30%
Calgary Flames -1.50% -4.40% -2.70% -1.40%
Carolina Hurricanes -4.80% -1.80% -8.30% 4.40%
Chicago Blackhawks -3.60% -3.30% 6.80% -10.50%
Colorado Avalanche -5% -3.90% 0% -4.00%
Columbus Blue Jackets -1.50% -2.40% -11.10% 6.10%
Dallas Stars -8.50% -8% -7.00% 1.40%
Detroit Red Wings -12.80% -5.50% -8.30% 3.50%
Edmonton Oilers -1% -7.60% -7.70% 1.90%
Florida Panthers -3.30% -6.30% 4.90% -9.60%
Los Angeles Kings -7.30% -5.70% -7.40% 2.30%
Minnesota Wild 1.20% 4.20% 3.60% -7.80%
Montreal Canadiens -10.80% -1.50% -9.70% 5.60%
Nashville Predators 1.20% -2% -1.60% -2.40%
New Jersey Devils -9.70% -7.20% 0.60% -5.10%
New York Islanders 2.40% -1.80% -5.20% -0.60%
New York Rangers -0.20% 4.40% 0.20% -5.70%
Ottawa Senators -4.70% -5.80% -2.30% -3.70%
Philadelphia Flyers -3.20% -2.50% 9.50% -12.90%
Pittsburgh Penguins 1.70% 1.30% 5.20% -8.80%
San Jose Sharks -6.30% -4.40% -5.00% -1%
St. Louis Blues 2.40% -3.10% -8.10% 3%
Tampa Bay Lightning 6.20% 6.90% 6.00% -12%
Toronto Maple Leafs -3.10% -4.20% -1.30% -4.10%
Vancouver Canucks -4.20% -10.80% -3% -1.10%
Vegas Golden Knights 4.10% 1.80% -1% -3.70%
Washington Capitals 9.30% 4.80% 11% -15%
Winnipeg Jets 5.70% 2.20% 1.60% -7.10%

Betting Tips for the NHL

Even if after reading this article, you’re still not entirely sure how to bet on the NHL, there’s always betting tips to follow. If you’re looking for tips for this NHL season, skip on over to the bettingexpert NHL tips page and see where our tipsters think the value is tonight. There are a number of profitable NHL tipsters in the bettingexpert community.

NHL betting tips

Bookmakers for the NHL

The last question in our how to bet on the NHL article, is where to bet on the NHL? There are a number of bookmakers providing a great range of betting markets for the upcoming NHL season. These are our top five bookmakers for betting on the NHL. You can read more about our best NHL bookmakers on our bookmaker reviews page. Or you can click the links below and be taken directly to that bookmaker.

Each of our recommended bookmakers offers new customers a generous sign up bonus, so be sure to take advantage when you sign up.