The NHL season is a nine-month feast for fans with an 82-game regular season that climaxes with the Stanley Cup Final in mid-June.
Boston Bruins fans are undoubtedly ready for legal online sports betting to come to Massachusetts with all NHL teams and players on the table. That will mean they can bet on daily game lines, game-by-game and seasonal player props, team point totals, and league awards including the Hart Memorial Trophy and Calder Memorial Trophy.
If and when Massachusetts legalizes sports betting, these are the betting sites you’ll want to go to for NHL betting action.
Best NHL betting sites
Online sports betting isn’t legal in MA yet but the state Legislature appears to be making progress. Neighboring states Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York do offer legal sports betting, and Massachusetts legislators are well aware of the lost revenue as bettors leave the state to make legal NHL bets.
When Massachusetts eventually allows sports betting, significant sportsbook brands including FanDuel, BetMGM and the Boston-headquartered DraftKings will likely all be among the best online betting sites to launch.
Here’s what these sportsbooks might offer NHL bettors:
FanDuel Sportsbook MA
FanDuel Sportsbook has a simple, user-friendly interface for NHL betting with the following odds markets:
- Daily odds and parlay boosts on game lines and alternate lines.
- Daily specials on that day’s highest-scoring team and goal total.
- Stanley Cup, conference, and division winner futures.
- Several out-of-market streamed games every night.
FanDuel also offers a dedicated parlay builder for every NHL game.
BetMGM Sportsbook MA
BetMGM Sportsbook is another solid online option for NHL bettors. Here are some of the main features:
- Extensive player award odds.
- Bet on the country of the Stanley Cup winner.
- An Original Six Stanley Cup winner prop.
- Daily specials on games, including scoring and goaltending props.
BetMGM also offers cross-sports parlay specials and daily boosted player and team props.
DraftKings Sportsbook MA
DraftKings Sportsbook is a Massachusetts-based company. It is also the NHL’s official sports betting partner and offers the following features alongside the expected puck lines, moneylines and over/unders for every game:
- A same-game parlay builder.
- Futures bets on whether a team will make the playoffs.
- A daily special on the highest-scoring game.
As the NHL’s official partner, DraftKings offers another advantage for NHL fans. It now integrates league stats and trends into its sportsbook.
Best NHL odds boosts and promos
Each of these sportsbooks offers various daily odds boosts and promos. Because DraftKings is the official NHL partner, it will have boosts tailored to nationally televised games. These boosts may be convenient for Bruins fans who want to bet on other NHL games.
BetMGM offers a daily “Lion’s Boost” on specific games. For example, in a game featuring the Edmonton Oilers and the Washington Capitals, BetMGM’s Lion’s Boost was for both teams to score in the first period at +200 odds.
How to get an online betting account
Getting an online sportsbook account is similar no matter which book you choose. Once you click through one of the links on this page you’ll have to provide the following information:
- Full name
- Email address
- A username and password
- Phone number
- Final four digits of your Social Security number
These sportsbooks must verify your age and address before you place a bet. If you download the application on your phone, they will ask you to enable your location services. Wagering online is illegal if your current location doesn’t permit online betting.
Once you work through the initial sign-up process, you’ll receive a welcome bonus for new players. These bonuses often take the form of deposit matches or risk-free initial bets. After the sign-up process is complete and you receive your bonus, you can start placing NHL bets.
How to read NHL betting lines
A large amount of NHL betting involves three primary bet types:
NHL puck lines
NHL puck lines are the hockey version of spread bets that are popular for football odds and basketball odds. Because of the scoring structures of those sports, the spreads move more frequently.
For NHL games, the puck line is a standard 1.5 goals. If you bet the puck line, you are betting on the favorite to either win by two or more goals or the underdog to keep the game within two goals or win outright.
NHL moneylines work the same as any other sport’s moneyline wager. It’s a bet on which team will win the game. For example, say the Bruins are playing the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Bruins are the favorite at -125. That means a wager of $125 stands to win $100 if it’s correct.
These bets are also known as totals. They involve betting on how many goals both teams will combine to score during a game. The sportsbook sets the number, and you bet over or under that total.
NHL alternate lines
NHL alternate lines are a way to get a different puck line number for a game. They can sometimes work in a bettor’s favor because the standard puck line number rarely moves.
Alternate lines may flip the line on the favorite and underdog. Let’s say tonight’s Bruins puck line is -1.5 (+140) against the Penguins. An alternate line would be Bruins +1.5 (-500). In this case, your bet has more of a chance to hit, but your payout would be considerably less. Doing the same for the Penguins would maximize upset odds.
The problem with alternate lines is the NHL’s margin of victory. The average NHL victory margin in 2021 was 2.08 goals. Expecting an underdog to regularly win by two or more goals isn’t a feasible long-term betting strategy.
How to find the best NHL game odds
Finding the best NHL betting odds requires the use of multiple sports betting sites. While the odds on a particular game might look similar across multiple sportsbooks, even small edges can add up.
NHL lines aren’t static. They’re fluid and move based on injuries, roster adjustments and betting action like any other sport. Finding the best NHL line is about finding the most profitable number.
In the Bruins vs. Penguins example, one sportsbook may have the Bruins as -125 favorites. Another book, however, may list the Bruins as -115 favorites. The -115 line has a potential $86.96 profit on a $100 bet. Betting the same amount at -125, meanwhile, has a potential profit of $80.
Best NHL props and futures
Props and futures bets exist on a spectrum on all sportsbooks for NHL betting. Players can make expansive, league-wide futures bets like trying to pick the Stanley Cup winner. There are also player props like betting on how many goals the Bruins will score in the first period of a January regular-season game.
Futures bets are wagers based on long-term predictions. Here are a few examples of NHL futures bets:
- Stanley Cup winner.
- Eastern Conference winner.
- Winner of the Art Ross Trophy (NHL’s leading scorer).
- NHL team point totals
Some sportsbooks offer futures bets on whether a specific team will make the playoffs. Many of these NHL futures are available both before and during the season.
Because many futures are long-term predictions involving multiple potential outcomes, the odds for the bets can have a higher potential profit. For example, betting on even a favored team to win the Stanley Cup at the beginning of a season may have odds of +1500.
Props are bets on specific occurrences during an individual game. Here are a few examples of what are prop bets:
- Whether a specific player will score a goal.
- Total points by a specific player.
- Total shots by one of the teams.
- Team goals scored during a specific period.
As you can see, prop bets are generally separate from directly betting on the outcome of a game. You can bet on a Bruins player to score over 1.5 goals and win the bet even if the Bruins lose.
NHL live betting
The proliferation of legal, online sportsbooks has changed the way people bet on the NHL and other sports. Online sportsbooks allow you to bet on games that are in progress. This is called “in game” betting or micro betting.
Why is live betting so popular? One reason is that you can potentially find favorable odds during a game that wouldn’t be available before the game.
In the Bruins vs. Penguins example, say the Bruins out-shoot the Penguins 15-5 in the first period. They’ve dominated offensive zone possession time, but they’re down 1-0 on a fluke deflection goal.
Down a goal, the pregame favored Bruins (-125) are now the underdog (+115). Given the discrepancy in gameplay and score, if you wanted to bet on the Bruins, you could do so at a more favorable line.
DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM all offer live betting on NHL games. FanDuel streams several out-of-market NHL games each day, so you can live bet while watching the game within the app.
What sets NHL betting apart?
Hockey is a beautiful game. It combines the precision of basketball with football’s physicality — all while played on a sheet of ice at incredible speeds. Here are some things that set NHL betting apart from betting on other sports:
The empty-net goal
NHL rules allow a team to substitute another skater for its goaltender. Teams often pull their goalie in the final minutes of a game when trailing by a goal. While the team employs six skaters, this also leaves the net wide open.
According to data from the 2018-19 NHL season, teams that pull their goalie get scored on 44% of the time. Now, consider the 2.08 average margin of victory and the static puck line of 1.5. When you play the puck line, you’re often betting on the probability of an empty-net goal.
In NFL games, a touchdown is worth six points. A team can then kick an extra point or attempt a two-point conversion. A field goal is worth three points, and a safety is worth two.
The NBA also has a byzantine scoring structure. A foul shot is worth one point, a bucket from inside the arc is two, and a score outside the arc is worth three.
In the NHL, a goal is worth one point. In MLB, a run is worth one, as well. Because of this structure and the static MLB spreads of 1.5, NHL betting shares similarities with MLB betting.
Regular season games employ a five-minute sudden-death overtime period followed by a shootout if the overtime period passes without a goal. The winner of the shootout receives a single goal on the scoreboard.
The value of a goal combined with the OT scoring structure makes betting on the NHL far different from betting on any other major sport. Once a regular-season game reaches OT, the margin of victory will always be one goal. The same is true of a playoff game, where teams play an indefinite number of sudden death overtime periods.
These overtime rules set NHL betting apart compared to the other major sports leagues, including MLB. MLB games go into extra innings, but a team can still win by more than one run in those instances.
NHL betting rules at sportsbooks
When it comes to player props, be aware that goals during the overtime period count. However, goals during the shootout do not count toward prop totals.
If you bet on a goalie shutout prop on DraftKings, the starting goalie must play the entire game without allowing a goal. If the team substitutes the starting goalie for any reason, the bet is void if the starting goalie had not allowed any goals before the substitution. Check the full rundown of NHL betting rules.