NHL Odds and Predictions: A Guide to NHL Futures and Prop Betting
The NHL may not be as big as the NFL or NBA, but it’s arguably the most exciting major sports league just due to the nonstop, fast-paced action that hockey provides. Toss in sports betting and you’ve got a whole lot of entertainment. Two of the growing areas of NHL betting are futures and prop bets, with NHL player props rolled into the prop betting area. In this NHL betting guide, we’ll cover both NHL futures and prop bets from top to bottom.
One of the reasons the NHL has grown in popularity on the sports betting scene is because Las Vegas now has its own hockey team, the Vegas Golden Knights. Not only is the gambling capital of the world more tied to the leading professional ice hockey league than ever, but the Golden Knights have been quite good since launching as an expansion team in 2017. That first year, the Golden Knights made a run to the Stanley Cup Final. That first season, Vegas sportsbooks almost got crushed by NHL futures on the Golden Knights.
What is an NHL futures bet?
|What is an NHL futures bet?||An NHL futures bet is a wager on an NHL event that has yet to happen (in the future). Most commonly, it is a bet placed on the outcome of an NHL event in the current or upcoming season.|
An NHL futures bet is a wager on an NHL event that has yet to happen (in the future). Most commonly, it is a bet placed on the outcome of an NHL event in the current or upcoming season. Although not the same as wagers placed on individual games, futures bet have become just about as popular.
Sportsbooks and oddsmakers provide the futures odds for every team for certain categories of bets. Many times, such as with the NHL futures market pertaining to who will win the Stanley Cup, odds are posted as early as the conclusion of the most recent season.
Of course, these futures odds can change. In fact, the odds will likely change, both leading up to a season and during the course of a season. Odds changes can be due to performance, roster changes, coaching changes, injuries, or the sportsbook looking to balance the money they’re taking.
As with any futures bet, it’s important to understand that placing a futures bet will lock in that part of your bankroll for an extended period of time. With normal bets, once a game is over, you get access to your funds almost immediately because the game is graded once it’s complete. In the cases when you win or push, the money comes back to you right away. With futures bets, you’ll have to wait until the time period for the bet is over. In most case, this is an entire season, so your funds will be locked up for that duration.
In the NHL, the most popular futures bets are ones made on who will win the Stanley Cup.
Example of an NHL futures bet
An example of an NHL futures bet could be that the Vegas Golden Knights are listed at +750 (7.5-to-1) to win the Stanley Cup. This means that a $100 bet would return an $850 payday ($750 win plus the $100 bet).
You might also see teams listed with shorter odds, at say +300 (3-to-1) or +400 (4-to-1), and you can also see teams listed with much longer odds such as +4000 (40-to-1) or +5000 (50-to-1). The bigger the number, the longer the odds, which means a team is more of an underdog to win the Stanley Cup.
As mentioned, futures odds can change, but bets will be locked in at the prices at which the bets were made. For example, let’s say you made the bet on the Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup at odds of +600 but then their goalie has an extended injury, the team loses some games, and the odds drop to +1200 (12-to-1). The odds on the bet you already placed don’t change. Those are still locked in at +600. But if you made another wager, you would get the current price of +1200. The same goes if the odds move the other way.
For NHL futures, there are more options than just the bet to win the Stanley Cup. You can often bet on division winners, conference winners, if teams will make the playoffs or not, and more.
What is an NHL prop bet?
|What is an NHL prop bet?||An NHL prop bet is a type of side bet that is placed on something not determined by the final outcome of a game, such as a specific statistic for a given player. The term prop bet is short for proposition bet. Bets that are tied to players are referred to as NHL player props.|
An NHL prop bet is a type of side bet that is placed on something not determined by the final outcome of a game, such as a specific statistic for a given player. The term prop bet is short for proposition bet. Bets that are tied to players are referred to as NHL player props.
When it comes to prop bets from the four major sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL), NHL prop bets may be the least popular. That said, just as is the case with the sport of hockey, the popularity is growing. Hockey is getting more popular so more people are becoming more interested in NHL betting, and more sportsbooks are offering NHL prop bets, which include NHL player props.
The most common NHL prop bets are either over/under or yes/no options.
Example of an NHL prop bet
An example of an NHL prop bet commonly offered from sportsbooks is which team will score first in a game. The odds likely won’t be the same on each side, due to the teams being unevenly matched and one team playing at home.
- Washington Capitals to score first (+125)
- Boston Bruins to score first (-140)
In the above example, the Bruins are favored because they are at home, but there could be other reasons. Maybe there are injuries to Washington or the team is playing on the second night of a back-to-back. When making these prop bets, make sure you do some research.
Example of an NHL player prop
NHL player props are a lot of fun to wager on and you’re often betting on a statistic for a given player. Here’s an example.
- Alex Ovechkin over 0.5 goals (-140)
- Alex Ovechkin under 0.5 goals (+125)
In this example, you’re betting on whether or not you believe Ovechkin will score a goal in the game. As you can see, the odds for Ovechkin to score, priced at -140 in this example, as the more favored odds so this is the side the sportsbook has priced as more likely to happen.
At many sportsbooks, you can also bet on over/under shots, assists, and total points for skaters, or over/under saves for goalies.
Season-long NHL prop bets
Season-long NHL prop bets are a combination of prop bets and futures bets. The most common season-long NHL prop bets are on point totals for a team. Specifically, if a team will go over or under a posted point total.
In the NHL, point totals are used because that’s how the standings are based and there are different points given for going to overtime depending on the result, so it’s a little more tricky to use wins.
You might also find points totals for players available for season-long prop bets, which can also be referred to as season-long player props. These can include total points, total goals, or total assists.
General NHL betting tips and advice
- Underdogs have value: Hockey is one of those sports where the teams are much closer to even on a game-by-game basis as compared to other sports. We previously talked about the success the Vegas Golden Knights had in the team’s first season and that’s an example of just how wide-open hockey can be. On any given night, an underdog can upset a favorite and it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise to those who follow the NHL closely. This can also happen plenty of times in the playoffs, like when we saw the Columbus Blue Jackets sweep the record-setting Tampa Bay Lightning. The public often bets the favorite more, so there can be added value on taking the side of the underdog. Furthermore, the odds often lend to value on the underdog.
- Pay attention to injuries: Hockey players are tough, but that doesn’t mean injuries don’t affect them. With hockey not getting as much of the sports spotlight as the NFL or NBA, injuries can often be overlooked, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook them. As a bettor, look into the injuries on a team because those injuries can have big implications. For one, maybe a player isn’t playing fully healthy. Two, if a player is out, it will cause the line combinations to be shifted around and there can be implications there that are overlooked.
- Special teams play a big role in hockey: In hockey, powerplays are a huge part of the game. They give teams big advantages to play up men and put the opponent at a disadvantage. That doesn’t mean all powerplays are created equal, though. Some are much better than others. Similarly, some teams are very good at defending against penalties than others. You can find stats on NHL special teams by doing a little digging and we’d recommend you do so.
- Goalies: The last line of defense, goalies play a big role in NHL outcomes. Some teams have very good starting goalies but then don’t have good depth. Other teams have solid, interchangeable pairs that can both get the job done on any given night. Starting goalies are often made available before game time, but you can get a sense of which goalie will start based on a team’s recent schedule and following beat reporters from around the league. Doing so can give you a jump on the betting prices that will likely shift unfavorably once the starting goalies are officially announced.
- Line shop: As always, it pays to line shop. Don’t be lazy and do it. Especially in today’s betting world with more and more legal sportsbooks becoming available to bettors, it pays to shop around the market to get the best price you can. You may think these price differences are small peanuts, but they can add up greatly in the long-run.
More NHL futures and prop betting links and resources
Scott Berry became $100,000 richer when he placed a futures bet on the St. Louis Blues to win the Stanley Cup in the 2018-2019 season. Berry’s bet was for $400 and he received +25000 (250-to-1) odds. The Blues went on to win the Cup and score Berry a huge payday. We’re not telling you this so you can go out and blindly fire a few hundred bucks on every longshot on the board. Rather, there are a lot of things bettors can learn from Berry’s futures bet. We’ve identified six of them.
The SharpSide sports betting app is a great place to test your skills at betting NHL props, including player props. It’s free-to-play but you can win prizes through the app’s various contests, so check it out. It’s a great way to test out your NHL betting skills for free before moving towards putting real money down at a sportsbook. The app is available for iOS and Android devices.
We’d also like to suggest that you check out RotoGrinders.com for hockey content. Much of the daily fantasy sports (DFS) content from RotoGrinders can be applied to NHL player props, including expert picks and projections.
Remember to check back here for more on NHL futures and prop bets!