Hockey, Canada’s national winter sport, is generally considered to be the most popular in the country, and thanks to the excellent array of sports betting sites available to Canadians, betting on hockey has never been easier.
Professional ice hockey is a sports betting dream. Every team in the NHL plays 82 games in the regular season, which runs from October to April. That is a lot of games to bet on – more than 1,200 in fact.
And that’s not even mentioning betting on the NHL playoffs, the Stanley Cup, other leagues from around the world, and international competitions like the World Championships and the Olympics.
There are also tons of different ways you can bet on hockey, from simple moneyline bets on the winner of a game to more technical prop bets about player statistics and performance.
This is the definitive guide to betting on NHL hockey. We’ll go into detail on:
We designed this guide to be useful for everyone.
You could be a huge hockey fan who wants to start using your knowledge to win some money or a big fan of sports betting looking to learn more about ice hockey. Maybe you’re a casual hockey fan who enjoys betting a few dollars every now and again. You could even be a total beginner.
Whoever you are, this page will help you understand and win at betting on hockey in Canada.
Since it’s such a huge and popular sport, betting on hockey can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.
The easiest way to bet on hockey is a straightforward bet on one team to beat another. But there are loads of other ways to bet – on the number of goals scored, the margin of victory, match statistics, individual players, combination bets and more.
We are going to cover all of them in detail a little later.
Your first move to start betting on hockey, however, will be to sign up with a sports betting site that can legally accept Canadian players.
Sports betting laws in Canada are somewhat antiquated, and not really fit for purpose in the era of online gambling. Originally, gambling laws in Canada were covered by the Canadian Criminal Code, written in 1892, which explicitly outlawed all gambling.
However, over the years lots of amendments and exceptions were made. These ranged from the legalization of bingo and horse racing in the early 1900s, and later to slot machines and pari-mutuel betting, before the opening of the first casino in Canada in 1989.
Add into the mix that each province is allowed to determine its own laws surrounding gambling, and each one permits different forms of it to varying degrees. British Columbia even has an official provincial online casino and sports betting sites, PlayNow, although it offers somewhat reduced betting options.
Nevertheless, generally speaking, online sports betting sites have not actually been legalized.
So, what does this mean for online gambling in Canada?
In short, there is no law which explicitly forbids Canadians from placing bets online. This means that sports betting sites and online casinos with valid licenses from other countries are free to accept Canadian players.
Canadians have been playing on offshore sites for years, with no legal challenge from authorities. All players need to do is ensure they are acting in accordance with the gambling laws of their province, like the legal age of gambling for instance.
So while not exactly well defined, players from Canada can bet using limited Canadian sites or using one of the many offshore options with no legal repercussions.
Depending on where you live in Canada, there may be a local physical sports betting sites that allow you to bet in person. While it’s nice to have the option, the betting menus at these sports betting sites tend to be fairly restricted by local laws – generally limited to pari-mutuel betting.
Instead, the best options are found on offshore sites which are legally entitled to accept players from Canada. Luckily, there are plenty around.
The most common licences which allow sports betting sites to accept Canadian players include those from Gibraltar, Alderney, Isle of Man and Curacao. This licence should be the first thing you check on new sports betting sites. A valid licence from a reputable regulatory body means that even though the sports betting site is not located in Canada, all transactions made by Canadian players are protected and regulated.
The best way to make sure you are playing on a safe site is to use the ones that we recommend here at SuperLenny.
We only recommend sites that we are sure are secure, which we have personally tested and verified. Not only are our recommended sites safe, but we also strive to find sites with the best odds, offers and range of betting out there.
If it’s recommended on SuperLenny, you know it’s a quality site.
Beyond making sure you choose a safe site there are other considerations when it comes to signing up to sports betting sites. All sports betting sites have strengths and weaknesses, and there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all answer to which you should choose.
The following are all things that should impact your decision:
It’s up to you to weigh up the options, and your preferences, and make a decision.
When you have come to a decision, it’s time to sign up.
Sports betting sites tend to make signing up very easy. Generally, it’s as simple as filling in some basic personal info and only takes a couple of minutes.
There could be some variation depending on your sports betting site, but generally, you can expect to be required to do some or all of the following:
Like we said, signing up is generally really simple.
Don’t forget that the sign-up process is often when you get to claim your welcome bonus, by typing in a bonus code. If you sign up to one of SuperLenny’s recommended sites, you can be sure that you will receive the most valuable bonus possible.
Once you are signed up, the final step is to deposit some money.
Just like signing up, sports betting sites aim to make depositing money as pain-free as possible. Generally, it just takes a few clicks.
You can make a deposit by heading to the cashier section of your sports betting site, choosing your method and following the instructions. Some of the most common banking methods for Canadian players are below:
Many sports betting sites are likely to have some but not all of these options, so it’s a good idea to check before you sign up if you have specific requirements.
Most of the time you can expect deposits to happen instantly.
Withdrawing is generally pretty simple too but may take longer than depositing.
There also tends to be fewer methods available.
Often you can use the same method to withdraw that you used to deposit, but it’s not always the case. It’s common for withdrawals to take anywhere from 1-7 days to reach you, depending on your chosen method. That said, you can find sports betting sites that offer instant or super-fast withdrawal methods too.
If fast withdrawals are a priority for you, this is definitely something you should check out before signing up.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that sports betting site often require users to verify their identity in full before allowing withdrawals, even if they were originally allowed to deposit without verification.
Verifying your identity might involve sending a copy of some personal documents, and may mean your first withdrawal takes a little longer.
Once you’re signed up with your account fully loaded, you’re ready to bet.
Hockey is the most popular sport in Canada. Head into any sports bar in the country and chances are there will be an NHL game flickering away in the background. The exalted position hockey occupies in Canadian society is reflected by the sheer number of betting options out there.
In this section, we’re going to lay out everything you need to know about the different ways to be on hockey.
By far the most popular competition to bet on is the NHL, and the games that attract the most action are the Stanley Cup Finals. With well over a thousand games in the NHL season and an incredible amount of detailed statistical information recorded on every game and every player, the betting opportunities are vast, to put it mildly.
While you may find that some sports betting sites that solely offer NHL betting, you can generally find other competitions too. Look out for markets on the AHL, the development league for the NHL, as well as markets on leagues from other countries like the KHL in Russia or SHL in Sweden.
You can also be sure when the major international competitions like the World Championships roll around, sports betting sites will be taking bets on them.
In short, hockey easily has some of the best betting options in North America.
Before jumping into different types of bets, we need to make sure we understand how odds work in hockey betting. If you’re betting in Canada then chances are you will be dealing with odds in the moneyline format. The moneyline format is the most common way odds are expressed in North America.
Let’s look at an example betting line. This is the most common type of bet, a straightforward bet on who will win a match:
Toronto Maple Leafs -132
Arizona Coyotes +235
When reading moneyline odds, the team with the lower or negative (-) value is always the favorite. In this case that’s the Toronto Maple Leafs. In this case, the 132 refers to how much money you would need to bet to win $100.
In the above line, if you bet $132 on the Maple Leafs you stand to win $100, for a total return of $232
Of course, you don’t have to bet $132; you can bet any amount of money you want.
The underdog is always the team with the higher or positive (+) value. In our example line, that’s Arizona. The number here refers to how much you would win if you bet $100.
In this case, if you bet $100 on Arizona you stand to win $235 for a total return of $335.
Again, you can bet whatever you like. Moneyline odds are simply always shown in this way, using $100 increments to express the information.
In the above line you can also bet on a draw, which tends to have reasonably high odds in an average NHL game, often between +300 and +400.
If this seems like a confusing system to understand, don’t worry. It really doesn’t take too long to get the hang of. Plus, your betslip will tell you how much you stand to win when you type in a stake – so you don’t even really need to worry about doing the maths.
There are two other ways odds can be expressed. Although Moneyline odds are the most common for players in North America, lots of sports betting sites let you choose which format you prefer, so it’s useful to be aware of the others
European style odds are probably the easiest to understand. They are expressed in a decimal number, and to see how much your bet returns you just multiply your stake by the odds. Easy.
Check out the same line as above expressed in the decimal format:
Toronto Maple Leafs 1.76
Arizona Coyotes 3.35
The information here is exactly the same as in the moneyline format.
In this case, if you bet $132 on the Maple Leafs, you just multiply 132 by 1.76 which gives you $232.
Finally, in the UK you generally see odds expressed as fractions. Again, the information is the same, just written differently. In this case the line looks like this:
Toronto Maple Leafs 19/25
Arizona Coyotes 47/20
There are A LOT of ways to be to bet on hockey. If you can think of a prediction, chances are you’ll be able to bet on it happening.
Betting on hockey ranges from really straightforward bets like picking the winner of a single match, to much more complex bets, like predicting which rookie will have the most assists over the course of a season.
In this section we are going to run through all the different types of hockey bets you might come across. You may not find all of these in every single sports betting site, but they’re all out there.
The most common way to bet on hockey.
If you are new to betting on hockey, this is the perfect way to start off. Even if you’ve never logged onto an online sports betting site in your life, you are going to have an intuitive understanding of Moneyline betting.
A bet on the Moneyline is simply a bet on who will win an individual game.
Figure out which team you think will win, place your bet, wait for the result. It’s that simple.
As we saw with our previous example line, each team (or “side” of the bet) is given odds by the sports betting site to indicate what they think the chances of them winning the game are. The odds determine how much you win.
Betting on the favourites will win you a small amount while betting on the underdogs means you stand to win substantially more.
Betting on the Moneyline might look like this:
Toronto Maple Leafs -222
Arizona Coyotes +175
When it comes down to it, betting on the moneyline is all about predicting who will win a match, and then figuring out whether the odds on your predicted team winning represent good value. In fact, this concept is basically at the heart of all sports betting.
There are loads of regular and successful bettors out there who just stick to moneyline bets, and it’s easy to see why. They are simple to place, easy to understand, fun to watch unfold and potentially very valuable.
This is very similar to a moneyline bet, except the bet finishes at the end of the three periods of regular time, and thus includes the draw or tie.
Remember the line we saw earlier?
Toronto Maple Leafs -132
Arizona Coyotes +235
This is an example of a regular time bet. As you can see when compared to the moneyline, the odds of each team improve when betting on the result after 60 minutes only.
The Puck line is a kind of point spread betting that is unique to hockey, and is similar to the run line in baseball. With a puck line bet, the spread is set at 1.5 goals. The favorites start the match with a -1.5 handicap while the underdogs are given a +1.5 advantage.
The line is then moved to account for the spread. In order to win your bet, the team you choose must cover the spread – meaning the favorite needs to win by 2 clear goals, while the underdog just needs to avoid losing by 2 clear goals.
Let’s take a look at our previous example except this time on the puck line:
Toronto Maple Leafs -1.5 (+120)
Arizona Coyotes +1.5 (-140)
As you can see, the odds on each team have changed dramatically. Now, with their 1.5 goal advantage, Arizona are the favorites on the puck line having been the underdogs on the moneyline.
This is due to the fact that hockey games are usually fairly low scoring, and very often the result is determined by one goal either way. This is also the reason the puck line spread is basically always set at 1.5, unlike other sports like NFL or NBA where the point spread varies a lot game by game.
In the above line, you could bet on the Arizona Coyotes and win your bet if the final score is Maple Leafs 2-1 Coyotes. Even though they lost the game, the Coyotes’ 1.5 goal advantage means the Leafs didn’t score enough to cover the spread.
With the moneyline, you are betting on the result. With a puck line bet, you are betting on the number of goals, or the margin of the result but not the result itself.
Betting on the puck line is a good idea when you think a game is going to be really close, and very likely determined by a single goal. It’s also a great option for taking the underdog but removing a large element of risk, since they are given a positive handicap.
Of course, it will mean taking reduced odds, so it’s up to you to figure out if it’s worth it.
With a totals bet, we are once again betting on the number of goals scored. Only this time, we are only interested in the overall number and not which team scores.
A totals bet is a bet on the total number of goals scored in a game.
A typical line might look like this:
Vancouver Canucks vs Boston Bruins
Total Goals (5.5)
In this case, if you take the over you are betting there will be at least 6 goals scored in the game. It could finish 5-1 or 3-3 or 3-4 and in each case, you would win your bet.
Any score with fewer than 6 goals in total, like 1-0 or 1-2 or 3-2 will result in you losing the bet.
However, if you take the under all of those results will win you the bet.
Sports betting sites try to set the total so that both the over and under is not too far off even money, and the odds reflect this.
In the above line, the total is not a whole number, instead, it’s 5.5. Since you can’t score half goals in hockey, this means the total bet will always either win or lose. However, some sports betting sites do include whole numbers in their totals.
For example, imagine the above line was (6) instead of (5.5).
In that case, if the final score had exactly six goals (rather than over or under) you would get your money back. This is known as a push.
Scoring in hockey is fairly consistent compared with other sports, so the total is usually somewhere around 5 or 6.
Totals are a great betting option when you have a real feel for how a match will pan out, but aren’t sure about the result. Two really tight defensive teams tend to make for a cagey low scoring match, which makes betting on the under a good move.
On the other hand, two teams with weak defences or one or two superstar offensive players means you can expect lots of goals, and take the over.
Related to parlay bets which we will also talk about, combination bets or combos involve combining some of the bets we have already talked about. To win, each part of the bet must come in.
For example, you might bet on a team to win and cover the puck line spread, or bet on a draw in regular time along with the under.
Since multiple predictions have to be correct to win these types of bets, you can often get very good odds on combination bets.
Different sports betting sites offer different kinds of combos, and some allow you to create your own. One of the most common combinations is the Moneyline/total, which might look like this:
Moneyline and Total Goals (5.5)
Toronto Maple Leafs and Over +165
Toronto Maple Leafs and Under +175
Arizona Cardinals and Over +400
Arizona Cardinals and Under +425
Now we’re getting into some of the more technical betting available on hockey. Prop bets, short for proposition, refers to betting on things that happen in a game which may or may not have any impact on the result.
Often prop bets are relevant to how the match might finish – betting on a certain player to score 2 or more goals suggests his team are more likely to win for instance.
But you can also find prop bets that really have little bearing on the result – like the timing of the first goal.
Sometimes sports betting sites offer funny props too, like how many fights break out or what style of celebration a player will do.
Props may seem like something of a novelty form of betting, and sometimes they are. But props can also be really profitable if utilized correctly.
There is so much information and statistics out there about the NHL that it allows us to make informed predictions about things the average person wouldn’t even think about – and prop bets let us take advantage of these predictions.
Below are some examples of typical props in hockey.
All of these types of bets relate to the game, rather than the players. Game props can include the following:
You can also bet on just about all of these in each period individually.
Some of these bets, like which team wins the face off for example, are basically up to chance and really are just included for the fun of betting.
Others however really allow you to exploit something you might have spotted about the game. Take the number of shorthanded goals. This is a great way to bet when you know that one or both teams have a tendency towards ill-discipline or there is a history of a lot of penalties between the two teams.
These are all props related to the players themselves, and can be really profitable.
Again, you can often split these bets up into individual periods too.
So much of making predictions in hockey rests on understanding the talents of the individual players. Making player prop bets allows you to take advantage of your player research on a micro-level.
A parlay bet is also called a multi-bet or an accumulator. It consists of a series of different bets placed together. In order to win, every leg of your parlay must come in.
Parlays often take the form of a series of Moneyline bets strung together. You might predict the winners of three different games from a single round for example. However, lots of sports betting sites also allow you to make parlays using all kinds of bets, like totals and props.
Parlay bets tend to have attractive odds, and the more legs you add the better the odds become. More than other types of bets, parlays allow you to win big from a small stake. If you are a regular parlay bettor, you can easily lose more bets than you win and still turn a healthy profit.
Although statistically harder to win, parlays are beginner-friendly and also good for both casual and more experienced players. It’s especially exciting when all of your bets but one have come in, and you’re just sweating on the last result for a big payday.
Another type of betting which can let you win big from a small stake. A futures bet is any kind of bet on an outcome that is a long way off, usually with a lot of variables still in play. Usually, this is the overall winner of a competition or trophy.
The most popular futures bet in hockey is always on the winner of the Stanley Cup.
You can bet on the Stanley Cup winner anytime throughout the season and it’s still considered a future until you reach the playoff finals.
Since it’s hard to predict winners so far in advance, you generally get attractive odds on futures, but the lines are adjusted as the season progresses. As a rule of thumb, the earlier in the season you bet the better your odds – especially if you’re betting on the favorites.
Other futures bets include the winners of each conference, the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy (or Stanley Cup MVP), the top scorer in the NHL and more.
As well as being potentially really profitable, futures are great for giving you something extra to root for over the course of the season.
Most of the top sports betting sites these days will let you bet on hockey matches as they are happening. This is an incredibly exciting way to bet, especially if you are watching the game live too.
The options for live betting are often more restricted than pre-game betting, but many sports betting sites still offer a full menu of totals, props, combination bets and more with odds changing every moment in relation to how the game is progressing.
Live betting opens the door to all kinds of advantages for smart bettors. Watching the game live allows you to analyze and make predictions in real-time, and exploit sports betting sites who don’t move their lines accordingly.
You might spot something like an injured star player before the commentators, which would definitely have an effect on the betting lines. If you move quickly, you can take advantage.
Unlock regular betting, which rewards methodical thinking and careful analysis, live betting on hockey is much more about having an instinctive feel for the game and trusting your gut feeling in the moment.
So far on this page, we’ve aimed to give you a thorough overview of everything you need to know to start betting on hockey – from signing up to a sports betting site to understanding how different types of bets work.
In this section, we want to introduce some betting strategies into the mix.
Understanding the nuts and bolts of hockey betting is the foundation, but strategy and critical thinking is what makes the difference between a regular bettor and a regular winner.
Below, we asked our experts to put together their top 5 tips for betting on hockey.
Our first tip is especially important for beginning bettors. You should always let your analysis and predictions determine your bets, not the other way around.
Hockey, and NHL is particular, is a really popular sport. This means that there is no shortage of ways to bet on it. With so many interesting markets available, especially fun props, it’s easy to fall into the trap of just placing bets for the sake of it.
This is not a habit of winning hockey bettors.
Avoid placing a bet just because you see a market. Before you even look at the betting lines, you should have a clear idea of how you think the game will go, and what kind of lines would constitute good value. If you think a certain team is pretty likely to win, have a figure in your head for the odds you would want to make them a good bet.
Don’t be tempted by an interesting looking bet that you haven’t actually put any thought into.
Look, we don’t want to be killjoys here. There’s nothing wrong with making a casual bet for fun without a ton of research – we certainly do it from time to time here at SuperLenny!
But if you want to be a long term winner, it’s important to work off the concept that research and predictions come first, and finding a suitable bet to utilize them comes second.
NHL teams play 82 games in a regular season, with half of those on the road, travelling the length and breadth of two huge countries in the frozen winter. You can bet this impacts on performance.
Some teams travel better than others. Reading up on a team’s stats on the road can be really revealing.
Such a gruelling schedule also affects team selection – even the brightest of star players can’t play every game and are going to need to rest throughout the season.
Successfully predicting when teams are going to underperform on the road, or rest star players for long trips give you a really valuable edge.
Maybe not necessarily an edge over the sports betting site, since they are also well aware of things like this and will set their lines accordingly, but an edge over casual bettors.
Remember that betting lines move in response to bets placed by the public. Imagine this scenario:
The Calgary Flames are heading to the Florida Panthers, and at a casual glance, they look in great shape. They have won 6 of their last 8 games and lots of people like the look of them to beat the Panthers.
However, when you look a little deeper you notice that of those 6 victories, 5 were at home and the other was a comparatively short trip to Edmonton. The two games they lost were both on the road, and they were well beaten. Calgary have played 3 games in the last week before this match, while Florida have played only one. Plus, the last four times they have made the long trip to Florida in recent seasons, they lost every time.
After considering scheduling factors and checking the history of performance on the road, suddenly the Flames don’t look like such a good bet after all.
Casual bettors who haven’t bothered with this research might still bet on Calgary, pushing out the line in favor of Florida and creating more value for you.
The concept of line movement in response to the public is important. Which brings us to our next tip…
As we know, hockey is a serious business in Canada. Think about the media hype in the run-up to the Stanley Cup Finals – the previews, the player profiles, the crazy predictions.
Now, let’s think about the aim of sports media. Is it to make accurate yet conservative predictions well-grounded in boring statistics? Is it to preach caution and realism regarding the performance of high-profile players? Is it to predict boring outcomes?
No. It’s to make people excited. It’s to create hope for big performances, big games, big results.
Just like the casual sports fans who watch TV and read the previews, the media are rooting for excitement.
The more you notice the media hyping up one side of a bet, the more attention you should be paying to the other side.
Casual fans are easily swayed. If all you hear is how great one superstar name is, you are way more likely to bet on them. This pushes the line in favor of the underdog, making an already attractive bet even more valuable.
To take advantage of this, you don’t even necessarily have to bet on the underdog to win. You could bet on them on the puck line, or even take the under in a totals bet if you think people are getting carried away expecting a high scoring game.
Of course, this tip doesn’t just mean that you should always bet against whatever there is a lot of media hype for. Your bets should still be based on your own research and predictions. But be aware that hype generates bets, which generates line movement.
In short, beware of hype men.
Line shopping simply means looking around on different sports betting sites for the best available odds. Since lines move all the time, there is plenty of variation to be found. For example, you might find better Moneyline odds on one sports betting site, but better totals odds at a competitor.
While this tip can be applied to all betting in a general sense, it is especially relevant to particularly popular sports like hockey.
Lots of interest means lots of betting options, which means a lot of different betting lines, which naturally leads to variation.
Taking the time to check the odds on a variety of different sports betting sites can save you decent money in the short term, and A LOT of money in the long term.
Obviously statistical research is extremely important before making your predictions. The recent record of each team, injury list, conference position, coach styles, historical results between the teams – all of these are considerations.
But hockey is one of the few sports where you can find statistical resources that go much deeper than the above.
This is especially true of player statistics.
Look out for stats like average time on the ice, shots per game, overtime goals, game-winning goals, interceptions, as well as more straightforward stats like goals and assists.
For goalies, you can find their save percentage, shut outs, shots faced and more.
The average bettor probably won’t bother spending too much time comparing these kinds of stats before placing their bets, but if you do it can be really valuable.
Often the best way to take advantage of your player statistical analysis is via a prop bet.
Maybe you notice a goalie’s save percentage is way down in the first period compared with the overall figure, while the opposing team has a forward who has scored early in his last few games.
This analysis might not be incredibly useful to predicting the overall result, but you can still make a prop bet on the player to score in the first period.
The deeper you get into stats, the more prop opportunities will turn up.
We love hockey. It’s great to watch live, interesting to study and exciting to follow over the course of the season – which makes it just about perfect for betting.
On this page, we’ve covered everything and more that you could need to know to start betting on hockey today. Check out our recommended sports betting sites to put what you’ve learned into practice.
They say hockey is the fastest sport in the world. If you follow our betting advice, you can hit the jackpot in the blink of an eye.