The 2020-21 NHL season started in January 2021, which means it’s time to start looking at major teams and their odds to win the NHL Stanley Cup. NHL predictions are a little unique this year due to adjustments to the overall season length and team count due to COVID-19, which makes NHL betting odds even more important to track.
The Colorado Avalanche are the current favorites, with odds to win the NHL playoffs and Stanley Cup sitting at or near +375 on many sportsbooks. The Tampa Bay Lightning won last season and are playing well this season. They began in the third slot at most books, but as the season has progressed, the Lightning are now at (or tied for) second around+750. The Las Vegas Golden Knights are right up there with the Lightning as a possible Stanley Cup contender. Let’s take a closer look at some NHL predictions and the broader betting situation so you know what to expect as the season begins.
Current NHL Stanley Cup Odds
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHL 2020-21 league has been significantly shortened. While most NHL leagues last from October to April before moving into playoffs that last until June, this year’s season will instead have just 56 games for its regular season. The top four teams in each division will eventually qualify for the playoffs.
Because of this, oddsmakers have adjusted their predictions for who will be the upcoming season’s champions. As NHL betting odds for the finals are calculated at the beginning of each season, the Colorado Avalanche currently have the best odds of winning the NHL championship for the 2021 Stanley Cup at two major sportsbooks: DraftKings and FanDuel.
After the Lightning, most sportsbooks have odds on the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Las Vegas Golden Knights as the second and third teams most likely to take the Cup. The Lightning are coming off a Stanley Cup win, and the Golden Knights continue to play as a cohesive unit as their fans have come to expect. But Las Vegas took a tough loss from Dallas last season, resulting in elimination from the playoffs.
Time will tell whether the current favorite teams retain their lead or if things change up significantly over the course of the shortened season.
Which States Offer NHL Betting Odds
The majority of big legal sportsbooks in the US allow NHL betting. This lets hockey fans to place wagers on NHL lines provided that their state has legalized online or retail sportsbooks.
Currently, almost two dozen states have some form of legal sports betting, either at retail sportsbooks or online sports betting sites. Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were some of the earliest states. More recently, Colorado, Michigan, and Illinois launched online betting, whereas states like New York have retail sportsbooks but no online betting. Other states, such as Virginia and Oregon look like they could launch sports betting in 2021.
There’s hope yet for a few states on the cuff, though this season will likely end before bettors in those markets can wager on the NHL. New York is on the cusp of mobile sports betting. Governor Cuomo signed the mobile betting bill into law, and now it’s just a waiting game for the regulations and licenses to come through. Arizona and Texas, both longtime gambling holdouts, are showing early signs of legislation.
For an overview of where you can bet in the US, check out our guide on US Sports Betting Apps.
Sportsbooks With The Best Hockey Odds
Fortunately, the differences between the odds provided by most major sportsbooks aren’t that severe. Major sportsbooks such as DraftKings and FanDuel provide odds using legitimate linemakers or oddsmakers: statistical professionals who work hard to provide fair sports betting wagers for both sides in a given match.
However, it’s important to remember that larger, more established sportsbooks may have more “player-friendly” odds to offer. Since oddsmakers create odds specifically to split the action between both sides of a match, they never make odds based on what they personally think the outcome will be.
Big sportsbooks may produce odds using official league data (a fact that may be advertised on the sportsbook itself) to determine fun, entertaining wagers for underdog bettors and favorite bettors.
NHL Playoffs Betting Odds
Since the playoffs and finals games are some ways away, the odds for the NHL playoffs will be adjusted throughout the year. The NHL season has been limited to 24 teams due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Betting odds have now reflected this and some teams may have abnormally high ratings compared to last season.
You can place futures wagers using most major mobile sportsbooks. These bets must be placed at some point before the playoffs, though the wagers themselves and their associated odds are often released as early as August.
For instance, the Colorado Avalanche are currently predicted to win the Stanley Cup with +375 odds. If you bet on them now, you can place a $10 bet. If the odds for the Avalanche to win stay the same and they do take the Stanley Cup, you’ll get $47.50.
These playoff odds are constantly updated as teams go through winning streaks or losing streaks and as different players are traded, become injured, or are otherwise affected during the season.
NHL Playoff Series Odds
NHL playoff series odds are separated into two major types: odds about which teams will make it into the playoffs and which teams will win the playoffs.
Obviously, the first set of wagers will be released early in the NHL season (sometime in January or February 2021). This allows bettors to make predictions about which teams will make it to the playoff games.
The second set of wagers will be released immediately before and during the playoffs. NHL series odds will be constantly adjusted as different teams either progress through the brackets or are eliminated.
There will also be prop bets around playoff series, such has how many games the Avalanche might win in a certain round of the playoffs or how many goals are scored during a series.
NHL Game Odds
Players will find a variety of different NHL game lines on which to place wagers throughout the season. Here are a few examples:
- NHL Moneylines – Moneyline bets are popular across most professional sports leagues. Players can simply focus on picking the winner. Payouts are adjusted to account for team inequity (i.e. you’ll make more money betting on the underdog than the reverse)
- NHL Futures – Players can place NHL futures bets based on future events. These are usually wagers surrounding the Stanley Cup winner or those who make the playoffs. You’ll get more money by betting earlier in the season than later since the NHL futures odds become less risky as time goes on
- NHL Spreads – Also called NHL puck line bets, these allow players to “bet the spread”. Basically, players wager on which team will win a game based on the spread of points necessary for a payout. This allows players to enjoy wagering action even when betting on the underdog team since it’s harder to win money by placing bets on the favorite
All odds are posted with negative values representing the odds or spread for the favorite team while positive values represent the spread for the underdog team.
For a basic moneyline bet, a team with a -130 score means you’ll need to bet $130 in order to win $100. A team with a +130 score means you’ll only need to bet $100 to win $130.
During an NHL game, certain events can affect game odds both during the match itself and the odds leading up to game day. These include:
- If a player is injured
- Both teams’ prior victory and loss records
- Coach changes
- Player trading
- Whether a team is playing at their home stadium
NHL Live Odds
Some of the best sportsbooks will offer in-play or live betting, though not all of them do this for the NHL. In-play betting allows you to place wagers on events that are occurring or are likely to occur during a live game. Many top-tier sportsbooks will even let you live stream game footage as you place your wagers.
For NHL in-play bets, all the live betting odds are calculated from the pre-match odds that are then considered with the current score, plus additional factors such as injured players, the time remaining, and so on. Thus, in-play bets are still heavily connected to pre-match odds.
Placing an in-game bet is quick and easy with most sportsbooks that provide this feature:
- Find the game you are watching, either on a TV or through your mobile app if it provides a live streaming service
- Pull up your betting slip and select the tab or section that says “live betting”
- You’ll find a selection of NHL wagers to place regarding the current game. Odds should update automatically and consistently
- Place your wager using your normal betting slip and see how things turn out
Placing NHL Prop Bets
NHL prop bets are usually released by major sportsbooks close to the postseason marker. For this season, that might be around May, as the playoffs are expected to begin around this time, with the finals games occurring sometime in July.
NHL player props typically focus on the contenders to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, which marks a player as the NHL MVP for the playoff tournament. Odds will typically range between +100 to +1000 and reflect oddsmakers’ estimates of players’ abilities and their raw point production. Odds also take the chances of a player’s team winning the Stanley Cup into account.
FAQs – NHL Odds And Picks
Yes, in certain states. Note the list of states with legalized sports betting above to determine if you can partake in sports wagers for the NHL season.
All major sportsbooks have their own oddsmakers that set odds to win the NHL championship and Stanley Cup. However, sportsbooks will also sometimes take other books’ odds into account, so most books end up with pretty similar odds for major events like the championship.
You can place NHL future bets for the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs and final match up a few weeks prior to the beginning of the season.
Check your favorite sportsbook websites for updated odds on the 2021 NHL season this year. You can also check sports betting resources like Gaming Today.
Some of them do. DraftKings and FanDuel often have draft pick odds prior to a season’s start.
Yes. DraftKings offers play-friendly NHL odds before and throughout the season.
Yes. FanDuel offers live sports betting for both the NHL and other professional sports leagues like football, basketball, and more.