National Hockey League games are fast, furious, and a whole lot of fun to bet on. When you know where to bet on NHL games both safely and legally, you can look forward to numerous opportunities to turn predictions into profits all season long. And that’s where we come in.
In this article, we’ll help you to decide where to bet on NHL games. Not simply by giving you our own recommendations (although we’ll do that, too) but by highlighting six aspects that you can consider when assessing sportsbooks for yourself. For the benefit of brand new bettors, we’ll then explain how to open an account. We’ll also discuss how to make deposits and withdrawals, and how you can benefit from joining multiple sportsbooks.
The short answer to where to bet on NHL games is with a sportsbook. The vast majority of sportsbooks can be used for betting on NHL games. But that doesn't mean that they don't have their differences. There are some sportsbooks that offer just a handful of markets on the biggest games. Others provide much more comprehensive coverage of the NHL. Similarly, the bonuses and promotions available also differ from operator to operator.
Rather than simply tell you which sportsbooks are the best, it is more helpful to highlight the main things to consider when assessing operators for yourself. We have whittled these down to six key aspects so that you can look at each one in light of your own betting needs and preferences. Those aspects are as follows:
Ease of Use
Each of these aspects warrants its own specific discussion. For that reason, we will now address each one in the order just given.
Where to Bet on NHL: Lawful Availability
When considering where to bet on NHL games, it is important to understand that gambling laws vary from state to state. Some states do not allow any kind of sports betting to take place. Others allow betting at land-based sportsbooks only, and still others also allow online sports betting. Your first task is therefore to find out what is lawful in the state you want to bet in. A simple way to do that is to check out our state pages for an overview.
Assuming that online sports betting is legal in your state, you then need to see which sportsbooks are operating there. Not all sportsbooks operate in every state, even when online sports betting is legal, so you will have to choose between those that are available. If you only have one option then no choice will be necessary, of course. However, when you have more than one option, your choice should be based on your assessment of the remaining five aspects.
NHL Betting Markets
Betting markets can vary between sportsbooks, especially between those that are aimed primarily at bettors in the United States and those aimed at a broader international audience. For this reason, you need to look at any sportsbook you are considering and ensure that it offers all of the main markets required for betting on NHL games. There are five types of market that you need access to:
Widely regarded as the most basic type of betting market is the moneyline. Your task here is simply to predict which of the two teams will win a particular NHL game. Odds will be offered for each team according to how the sportsbook views their chances. Take a look at the example below:
Tampa Bay Lightning
NHL Moneyline Example
Odds that have a + prefix tell you how much profit you will make for a winning bet of $100. In this example, a winning $100 bet on the Montreal Canadiens would give you a profit of $170.
Odds that have a - prefix tell you how much you need to bet to make a profit of $100 if it wins. In this example, you would need a winning bet of $200 on Tampa Bay Lightning to make a profit of $100.
The puckline is the hockey version of a point spread market. Here you need to predict how close the game will be and side with a team accordingly. The sportsbook will form its own opinion and give a certain advantage to the underdog. It will also give an equal disadvantage to the favorite, as illustrated in the following example:
Tampa Bay Lightning
NHL Puckline Example
Here you can see that the sportsbook has given an advantage to the Canadiens and a disadvantage to the Lightning. This has changed the odds available about each team quite markedly. Bet on the Canadiens and they need to either win the game or lose by no more than 1 point for your bet to win. Bet on the Lightning and the team must win by 2 points or more for your bet to succeed.
Another betting market that you will probably want access to for NHL games is one that allows you to bet on the total number of goals that will be scored. You don't need to predict the winner. Instead, you bet on whether the goals of both teams combined will be over or under the sportsbook prediction. This is why the totals market is just as often referred to as the Over/Under market. Consider the example below:
NHL Totals Example
Here the sportsbook has asked you to predict whether the total number of goals in the game will be over or under 5.5. Bet on Over and you would need 6 goals or more for that bet to win. Bet on Under and the total number of goals must be 5 or fewer for the bet to win.
As well as betting on single NHL games, you are also likely to want to bet on outcomes that will be determined in the more distant future. For example, you might want to bet on who will win the conference, or lift the Stanley Cup. These are future bets, and being able to make them can give you a lot of interest over the course of the season. That being the case, it makes sense to check that any sportsbook you consider using will allow you to bet on such future outcomes.
The fifth type of bet that you might want to place is the prop bet. A prop bet is one that concerns something that may or may not happen in a game but isn't directly related to the overall result. A few examples of NHL prop bets are:
Which team will score first?
How many goals will be scored in the first period?
How many penalty minutes will there be in the game?
Making correct predictions about such outcomes is more difficult than naming the winning team. That fact is reflected in larger odds being offered for prop bets, but because winning is less likely, most bettors keep their prop betting stakes to very modest levels.
Where to Bet on NHL: Welcome Bonuses
Having looked at the legal situation and the range of betting markets on offer, you should next consider welcome bonuses. Most sportsbooks will try to attract bettors to themselves rather than the competition by giving some kind of bonus after a first deposit. This is often a free bet or a risk-free bet that refunds your stake (as betting credits) if your first bet loses.
Look at the promotions section of the sportsbook you are considering to see what welcome bonus is being offered. If you are trying to choose between two or more sportsbooks that are equal in all other respects, opting for the one with the best welcome bonus is as good a way as any of making a decision.
Ease of Use
Sportsbooks are to be used, not just examined. For that reason, you need to ensure that any sportsbook you consider is as easy to use as you need it to be. Explore the website thoroughly and check that you can navigate to the markets you are likely to use within no more than a few clicks of the mouse button. Also, look at how quick and easy it is to actually place bets, as there may be times when you want to do so in a hurry.
If you want to bet via your mobile phone or a tablet device, be sure to look into those possibilities as well. Some sportsbooks have their own mobile apps that can be downloaded, which would obviously be useful. Others will need you to visit the normal site on your phone's web browser. Whatever the case, just make sure that the sportsbook is user-friendly enough to suit your needs and preferences.
Where to Bet on NHL: Banking Methods
Sports betting and money go hand in hand. You'll need cash in your sportsbook account in order to be able to place bets. Hopefully, you'll also want to withdraw money from time to time so that you can enjoy the profits you make from your betting. All of this means that you need suitable ways to make deposits and withdrawals.
Most sportsbooks will give you several banking methods to choose from. All you have to do right now is see if you'd be happy to use at least one of them. For example, if you'd prefer to use PayPal to transfer funds to and from your account, check to see if that method is available. If it isn't, either see that there is an alternative that you would be happy to use, or explore a different sportsbook.
Online sportsbooks are generally very well designed so that their users can find their way around and place bets with a minimum of fuss. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that it isn't possible to run into difficulties from time to time. You might have a question about a particular market or promotion that is being offered. Or maybe a bet didn't get processed in the way you expected it to.
In these cases, it is important that you have someone that you can call on for help. All sportsbooks offer some level of customer support, but you should look at this aspect to make sure that it is likely to be available when you need it. If customer support is available around the clock, that would be the best scenario.
How to Open a Sportsbook Account
Your examination of the six key aspects just described should help you to decide where to bet on NHL games. Having chosen a suitable sportsbook, you can then take the next step, which is to open an account for yourself. This is something that can be done in a matter of minutes, as the following guide explains:
1 - Begin by finding the REGISTER, JOIN, or NEW ACCOUNT link on the sportsbook home page. Click it and you will be taken to a simple registration form. Some operators will display this form as a pop-up automatically when you visit the home page, in which case you won't even need to find it.
2 - The registration form will ask for your name, address, email address, and the last few digits of your social security number. All of this information is essential for the sportsbook to be able to verify your identity, and if you don't provide it, you won't be able to open an account.
3 - If you are asked for a bonus code in order to qualify for any welcome bonus, provide it now. Otherwise, complete the application process by submitting the information asked for. When this has been done, your account will be created almost immediately so that you can make your first deposit.
How to Make a Deposit
Making your first deposit is a painless procedure that will take even less time than opening a new account. Subsequent deposits will be even quicker. Here's how to proceed:
1 - Navigate to your account and look for a link or button labeled DEPOSIT or ADD FUNDS. Click the link and you will be taken to the sportsbook's banking area.
2 - For your first deposit, you will need to choose a banking method that you want to use. This method will also be used for future deposits and usually for withdrawals too, so bear that in mind. Provide the banking information requested (such as your PayPal address) and submit it. This information will be stored securely so that you won't have to provide it again for your second and subsequent deposits.
3 - Now enter the amount of money that you want to put in your sportsbook account. Remember that if you want to make the most of any risk-free bet offer you will need sufficient funds in your account to do that. Otherwise, you can deposit any sum that is above the minimum and below the maximum that the sportsbook allows.
4 - Check the sum you have entered to deposit (a slip of the finger could result in more funds being added than you want) and then submit the request. In most cases, your money will be available for betting within a matter of seconds.
How to Make a Withdrawal
When you have been successful with a few bets and you want to make a withdrawal. You'll be pleased to hear that the process is just as straightforward:
1 - Go to your sportsbook account page and select the link or button marked WITHDRAW FUNDS or similar. This will open a new page or bring up a simple form that allows you to proceed.
2 - Enter the sum that you want to withdraw. Bear in mind that each sportsbook will have its own minimum and maximum amount that can be requested. As long as your entered amount is between those two extremes you can proceed to the next step.
3 - Check the sum entered previously and then submit the withdrawal request. As stated previously, most withdrawals will be made using the same banking method as you chose for your first deposit. If that method isn't available for withdrawals, other alternatives will be given.
Most sportsbooks process withdrawals very quickly. A first withdrawal might take longer if additional verification of your identity is needed, but normally your money will be with you within a few business days at the very most.
Joining Multiple Sportsbooks
All that we have discussed so far has been to help you decide where to bet on NHL games when choosing between two or more sportsbooks in your state. However, there is also plenty to be said for actually joining two or more sportsbooks.
One of the main benefits of joining several sportsbooks is that it could give you access to more betting opportunities than you might have with just one. You'll also have a wider choice of betting odds, which is equally useful. And, of course, if you join two or more sportsbooks you will be able to take advantage of wherever bonuses and promotions each one offers.
Joining multiple sportsbooks is not a necessity by any means, but if you do decide to do this, here are a few ideas about how you can make the most of them.
First, if you have a risk-free bet from each of two sportsbooks, you could use them to bet on both outcomes in an NHL game. Bet on one team with one sportsbook and bet on the opposing team with the other. If you use risk-free bets in each case, one will win and the other will be refunded.
Compare the markets at all of the sportsbooks you have joined. There may be different opportunities offered at each. Or perhaps the sportsbooks will have differing opinions in the totals or point spread markets.
Our third tip is to always shop around for the best odds when you have decided what to bet on. If your chosen team is available at odds of +200 with one sportsbook, it might be offered at +220 at another. The chances of the team winning are exactly the same, of course, but if you win you'd make a bigger profit at the sportsbook offering the higher odds.
Where to Bet on NHL - FAQ
Where to bet on NHL games legally?
As long as online sports betting is legal in your state, you can legally bet on NHL games with any online sportsbook that has a license to operate in that state.
Where to bet on the NHL Playoff?
Most sportsbooks that offer betting markets for regular NHL games will also allow you to bet on the NHL Playoff. Sportsbooks that are geared primarily toward bettors in the United States will tend to offer more NHL betting markets than those aimed at a broader international audience.
How does NHL betting work?
The process of placing a bet on an NHL game is simple and straightforward, Decide which team you think will win, log into your online sportsbook account and navigate to the moneyline market for that game. Check the odds to see if you’re happy with them, and if so, click the outcome you want to bet on and enter your desired stake. Double-check your selection and stake (in case you’ve made any kind of mistake) and then submit the bet. If the game results as you predicted, your account will be credited with your winnings and returned stake soon after.
What sportsbook is best for NHL betting?
There is no online sportsbook that stands head and shoulders above the rest for NHL betting. This is why we recommend taking six key aspects into consideration when deciding between different operators. That said, big names like BetMGM, FanDuel, and DraftKings are all impressive, and any one of them would be perfectly suitable for NHL betting.