Legal NHL Betting Sites
National Hockey League betting lines and odds are as old as the league itself, originating in Canada before being passed down to the United States during the early 1900s. Today, the league features 31 NHL teams, with the Vegas Golden Knights being the latest expansion club – a fitting addition due to the league changing its stance on legal hockey betting in 2018.
Our NHL betting guide was created to provide you with current hockey gambling information and suggestions on where to find the most trusted online sportsbooks for wagering on the NHL. Even more excitingly, betting on the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be a breeze once you understand the basic hockey playbook, so you won’t risk ending up in the penalty box – or getting boarded by the Zamboni! – when placing your wagers this season.
Coronavirus Update: The NHL Returns To Action!
The NHL suspended its 2019-2020 regular season on March 11 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Upon resuming play on August 1, the NHL opted to scrap the rest of the regular season and go to an expanded NHL Playoffs format comprised of the top 12 teams from the Eastern and Western Conferences. The 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs will tentatively conclude no later than October 4, 2020, and all the best online sportsbooks have game lines, series prices, futures odds, and plenty of player and team props to wager on right now!
Are Online NHL Sportsbooks Legal in the United States?
Offshore: Online sports betting is legal in the United States when the sportsbook is located outside the country and is licensed in the country where they reside, making each of the online sportsbooks in the next section 100% legal, safe and secure for residents of the United States to bet on NHL lines and odds.
Domestic: When it comes to betting at NHL sportsbooks located within the U.S., the number of legal betting options become slim since only a handful of states have legalized sports betting since the repeal of PASPA and even many of those do not allow online bets on the NHL or any sport.
Best NHL Sportsbook for USA Players
50% Bonus Up To $250
If you like betting on NHL hockey games, then you should see Bovada's NHL betting lines! Bovada offers tons of hockey odds and multiple betting types for practically every NHL game. In addition, you can also bet on period lines, team totals, props, futures, and more.
Bovada has been serving US bettors for nearly a decade now, offering Americans a trusted source for NHL betting. Below are some of the many reasons our team of industry professionals chooses Bovada over the other guys.
- Owned And Operated By The Bodog Brand
- Deposit Easily With US Credit Cards Or Bitcoin
- Fast And Reliable Payouts Guaranteed
- 50% Welcome Bonus Up To $250
- Other Services Include: Sports Betting, Horse Betting, Casino, Poker
- Only accepts players from the US
- Excluded States: NV, NJ, DE, MD
Top Legal NHL Betting Sites for the USA
National Hockey League - Format
The NHL has 31 professional hockey teams, and the league is split into two conferences: the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.
These two conferences are further split into two divisions each:
- Eastern: Atlantic (8 teams), Metropolitan (8 teams)
- Western: Central (7 teams), Pacific (8 teams)
Every NHL team plays an 82-game regular-season schedule, and the 16 teams (eight from both the Eastern and Western Conferences) that score the most points during the regular season make the playoffs.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the 2019-20 NHL regular season saw teams play only 68-71 games before the league suspension. Upon the NHL's return to the rink, 24 teams participated in an expanded playoffs in lieu of finishing the regular season, though future NHL Playoffs will return to the familiar 16-team, four-round format.
Points are awarded each game and are based on the outcome of the game:
- 2 points are awarded to the winning team in regulation.
- 1 point is awarded to both teams making it to overtime or shootout with an additional 1 point awarded to the winner in post-regulation.
- No points are awarded to a team for losing in regulation.
NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
For a typical Stanley Cup Playoffs, the eight best teams from both conferences are seeded into a double-sided bracket where points determine seeding, and the highest seed (No.1) plays the lowest seed (No.8) from each conference. (Due to the 2020 coronavirus outbreak and NHL hiatus, the 2019-20 NHL Playoffs boasted a unique 24-team field instead of the normal 16-team field.)
In the playoffs, each team plays a best-of-seven series, and the first team to win four games advances to the next round. After three rounds, the last team standing from both the Eastern bracket and Western bracket will play the last best-of-seven series, the Stanley Cup Finals, to determine which team will be named champion of the NHL.
Betting on the NHL Playoffs is more popular than wagering on the league's various regular season games, and the postseason brings in many bettors who only wager on hockey during this time. Most sportsbooks cater to both NHL devotees and newcomers alike when it comes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, giving their members lots of different and engaging game props that even casual fans can enjoy.
2019-20 NHL Season Schedule – Events and Important Dates
When betting on the NHL, it’s important to keep in mind when certain wagers will payout or when value can be found due to a lot of action coming in on a marquee event.
Due to the coronavirus US outbreak, the 2019-2020 season was put on ice for over four months before resuming play, so the dates this year are different than those for typical NHL seasons, which normally run from early October to the Stanley Cup Finals in early June.
Here are all the key dates for the modified 2019-20 NHL Season:
- 2019-20 NHL Regular Season
- October 2, 2018 – March 11, 2020 (roughly 68-71 games per team)
- Coronavirus hiatus
- Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic
- January 1, 2020: Dallas Stars vs. Nashville Predators at Cotton Bowl® Stadium, Dallas, Texas.
- 2020 NHL All-Star Game
- January 25, 2020: Enterprise Center, St. Louis, Missouri
- NHL Stadium Series
- February 23, 2020: Los Angeles Kings vs. Colorado Avalanche at Falcon Stadium, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO
- 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs (Expanded)
- August 1, 2020 - October 2020
- 2020 Stanley Cup Finals
- Last possible day: October 4, 2020 (tentative)
Note: The NHL has yet to announce any changes to its 2020-21 season, which would normally start in October 2020. Given the late finish to the 2019-20 season, it is likely that the start of the next NHL season will be slightly delayed, though league schedulers should be able to draw up a complete season that will end roughly in line with the traditional June deadline.
Betting on NHL Game Lines – Puck Line and Money Line Explained
The two most common bets placed on NHL games is the puck line and the money line. Both lines work similarly to other sports with some minor exceptions.
NHL Puck Line
The puck line is the hockey version of a point spread given by sportsbooks on other sports, which is used to handicap the game to create a balanced number of bets placed on both sides with a roughly equal payout.
However, there are some major differences to keep in mind.
The NHL puck line is frequently set by an online sportsbook at -/+1.5 where the favorite (-) must win by 2 goals to win the bet, and the underdog (+) can win the game or lose by no more than 1 goal.
This is where betting on the NHL can turn out badly if you don’t know what you’re looking at because, in the example, Carolina is the perceived favorite to win the game but not by more than 1 goal over Chicago.
Since that’s the case, Chicago is actually the favorite for this puck line even though they are given the positive number for the underdog. The real favorite in a puck line is indicated by the odds in parenthesis and the amount required to bet (Chicago $180 to win $100, Carolina $100 to win $160)
Also, an NHL puck line typically never moves and if it does, it will always have a .5 to avoid a push. Instead, the odds will move instead to balance the action on either side
NHL Money Line
The NHL money line is straight-forward and exactly like that of other sports and may even be better than other points since the odds are typically super close.
A money line is a bet solely on which team will win the game with no handicap on goals scored. The -/+ odds will indicate which hockey team is favored and the difference will determine just how likely they are to win the game.
Taking the same betting line from Bovada that featured the puck line, we can see Carolina is favored as indicated by the (-) and a $175 bet would win $100 while a $100 bet on Chicago would win $155.
The most important takeaway is to know that the puck line and money line will essentially pick the opposite teams, which is different from other sports where they’ll be aligned with the point spread and money line showing a clear favorite and underdog.
Bets on the NHL are a bit different since games tend to be low scoring and close, but because the margin between the two teams is much smaller, then it means value can easily be found when a team is an outlier on your projected model.