The NHL is a league that has been an excellent source of entertainment for over a century. As one might expect, the game has evolved and changed a lot throughout the years, which has led to the fast-paced gameplay NHL fans know and love today. Nowadays, NHL hockey lends itself naturally to a variety of bet variations. This, along with its popularity, has ensured that bookies give NHL hockey the attention the league and its teams deserve during its regular and playoff seasons.

No punter will be able to truly enjoy what the NHL has to offer without having a proper understanding of the odds, how they work, and how exactly they can influence one’s wagering decisions. In addition, having a good understanding of the underdog and the favorite, as well as the bets that rely on this relationship, is yet another aspect of NHL betting that you need to be well-acquainted with.

NHL Odds

Anyone about to start their NHL wagering journey should first familiarize themselves with the odds formats used at the bookies they have access to. The odds show you how much money you need to put at stake in order to win, or how much money you will part with if you lose.

If you reside somewhere in the West, you will typically run into three odds formats. These are the decimal odds, fractional odds, and American odds. Their availability is reliant on the users a bookmaker caters to. For instance, American odds will always be an option at US-friendly sportsbooks. In addition, there is also a group known as Asian odds. They are referred to as such because of their origins and usage.

NHL Odds Formats Summary
TeamDecimal OddsFractional OddsAmerican Odds
Florida Panthers1.6513/20-155
Winnipeg Jets4.103/01/22310

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds originate from Europe, and this is why you might come across certain bookies or guides that call them European odds. They show the odds by using decimals, and are therefore considered the easiest format to work with and are even preferred to the traditional fractional odds.

These odds show you how much you will win in addition to your stake, i.e., your payout, which makes calculating said payout based on your stake all the easier. We will use the previously shown odds as an example, and we will utilize the following formula to find the return of a $10 bet on the Florida Panthers: Stake x Decimal Odd Number = Total Payout. This is how the calculation looks like:

10 x 1.65 = $16.5 payout

Of you wish to find only your profit, all you need to do is subtract your stake from the previous result:

16.5 – 10 = $6.5 profit

Bear in mind that you will not need to work out these numbers on your own, seeing as most bookies will do so automatically. Nonetheless, it is still important to get accustomed to the process and how to quickly tell who the underdog and favorite are so that you can be quicker with placing your bets.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are a classic in the sports wagering world. They were first used only in horse racing, but quickly became a staple at British and Irish sportsbooks. They use fractions to represent the profit of a given bet. The first number of a fraction is called the numerator, and it shows how much you will win if you wager the denominator. For instance, if you were to place a bet on the Florida Panthers on odds of 13/20, you would win $13 for every $20 you bet.

Calculating the profit for your specific stake is a matter of using this formula: Stake x (Numerator/Denominator) = profit

Therefore, if we wager $10 once again, this is how the profit will be found:

10 x (13/20) = 10 x 0.65 = $6.5 profit

As for figuring out what your total payout would be: (Stake x (Numerator/Denominator)) + stake = total payout

(10 x (13/20)) + 10 = (10 x 0.65) + 10 = $6.5 + 10 = $16.5 payout

Evidently, we reached the same results we got when we used decimal odds. This is due to the fact that the odds formats are simply a different way of showing the same thing, and you are free to go with whichever one you like the most.

American Odds

American odds, which are often referred to as moneyline odds, differ from the formats we discussed previously. All in all, they show how much you will win or lose depending on whether you back the favorite or the underdog. For instance, if you want to win $100 by placing a bet on the Florida Panthers, you would need to place a $155 stake because this is the favorite of the event.

As for those who wish to go with the underdog, in this case, the Winnipeg Jets, a $100 wager will result in $310 won, provided this team manages to beat their opponents. Regardless of which option you choose, you will also get your stake back along with the profit. In the Jets’ case, that means you will end up with $410 ($310 profit + $100 stake).

Overall, moneyline odds are straightforward to use. They are a staple at US-friendly bookies, and punters, in general, tend to get used to them pretty quickly.

Asian Odds

This is an odds format category that features several formats which enjoy significant popularity in Asia, especially in their respective countries. These formats include Hong Kong odds, Malaysian odds, and Indonesian odds.

Hong Kong odds closely resemble the decimal format. So much so, in fact, that converting decimal odds to HK odds is a matter of subtracting 1. As for the calculations, the profit of a given bet can be found if you multiply your wager by the HK odds. The formula for figuring out the payout is almost the same, except you need to add 1 to the HK odds. This is all there is to it, and this odds format is generally considered to be the simplest Asian odds format out there.

Malaysian odds, on the other hand, bear a resemblance to the US odds format as well as decimal odds. Basically, they use decimals to represent the odds, but they also present the favorite and underdog with a minus and a plus, respectively. The plus sign, though, is often not shown in favor of keeping things neat and simple. Odds of 0 represent a 50/50 bet.

Last but not least, there are the Indonesian odds. These odds are also reminiscent of US odds, although here, the odds are based around the units you will wager, and the plus and minus signs are in reverse. For instance, positive odds show that winnings will always result in you getting at least twice your stake. In general, positive odds represent the underdog. As for the favorite, their odds are negative and showcase the amount you need to wager in order to win one unit.

NHL Draws

The NHL’s handling of game ties is an integral part of wagering on NHL events, and it can significantly affect the decisions you make when wagering. To put it simply, NHL hockey is a sport where a match will, in practice, never actually end with a tie. Overtime and shootouts guarantee this.

We will first focus on games that happen during the NHL’s regular season. If a winner is not determined by the time the sixty minutes are up, the teams will need to compete in overtime. Overtime takes five minutes, and the players are reduced to six in total, meaning each team will have three players.

As one might expect, however, games can end in a draw even if overtime is included, and this is why the shootout was implemented. During shootout, the teams have three times each to score goals. Therefore, three players go one-on-one against their opponents’ goaltender, and whichever team has the most points by the time they finish these penalty shots wins.

This type of shootout can also result in both teams’ points remaining the same. In such cases, a sudden death commences. Sudden death is something that has been part of NHL hockey for more than a century, and it entails that each team will take shots until one of them scores. The first team to score will be the winner.

Interestingly enough, things are slightly less complicated during the Stanley Cup playoffs. Overtime lasts 20 minutes and is played five-against-five. As for how the winner is determined, this type of overtime is sudden death as well. Therefore, it all comes down to which team will be able to score before their opponents.

Knowing the differences between these situations is integral to successful NHL betting, as it is yet another thing that needs to be taken into account. You should also pay close attention to bookies’ own rules regarding situations like this, as there are some that offer bets which do not factor in anything that happens after the first 60 minutes of a match.

NHL Moneyline Betting

If you are still a novice when it comes to NHL betting, wagering on the moneyline is the most appropriate type of bet to focus on at first. As for why, the moneyline is practically the easiest wager to get the hang of. When you place such a bet, you back the team you believe will win, and that is that. This simplicity is part of what makes the moneyline the most popular way of wagering on NHL matches, to the point where NHL hockey is considered a moneyline sport.

As we have already established, you will need to know how draws are handled by both the NHL league itself and the sportsbook. For instance, there are bookies that will offer you the so-called 60-line bet. This means that if you place such a bet, the only thing which will affect your wager is the first hour of an event. Thus, you will have access to a draw bet, as opposed to the ordinary moneyline, which includes both overtime and the possible shootout.

Last but not least, the odds reflect which team is considered likelier to win, which is why the following examples have odds that differ to such an extent:

Montreal Canadiens: 2.28
New York Islanders: 1.64

Here, the Montreal Canadiens are the underdog. Therefore, their chances of winning are not as high as their opponent’s, so the bookmaker has given this team superior odds in order to tempt punters into taking this riskier bet. As for the favorites, they would be the New York Islanders. Since this team is expected to beat the Canadiens, their odds are less competitive to compensate for this advantage. This means that you will often need to choose between safe but ultimately not all that profitable bets, and ones that carry more of a risk but also have the potential to be more lucrative.

NHL Puck Line Betting

The puck line in NHL hockey is what we typically call the point spread in other sports. It is the handicap that expresses a team’s status as an underdog or a favorite, and it is the second most popular bet type for NHL hockey enthusiasts.

The way it works is that, traditionally, the favorite will have a puck line of -1.5 and will need to win by two points or more to cover the spread. The underdog’s puck line, however, is +1.5. In other words, all they need to do is lose by 1 point, or less, for your underdog bet to be successful. In addition, the puck line typically includes both overtime and shootout.

Apart from the classic puck line, certain sportsbooks also offer what is known as alternate puck lines. These bets allow you to choose a puck line that ranges from -1 and +1, to -2.5 and +2.5. It offers a bit more freedom of choice, which is definitely welcome for punters who love to have more control over their bets.

NHL Puck Line Betting Summary
Puck LineTeams
Winnipeg JetsFlorida Panthers
Standard puck line(-1.5) 6.28(+1.5) 1.13
Alternate puck line(-1.0) 4.77(+1.0) 1.20
Alternate puck line 2(+1.0) 2.55(-1.0) 1.56
Alternate puck line 3(+1.5) 1.92(-1.5) 1.98
Alternate puck line 4(+2.0) 1.65(-2.0) 2.34
Alternate puck line 5(+2.5) 1.47(-2.5) 2.80

Other puck line variations 3-way puck line and the period puck line. Typical puck lines, like most handicaps, feature half points so that the bet will not end in a push. The 3-way puck line, however, offers a whole number, although it functions in a unique way. As opposed to introducing the possibility of a push, this type of bet allows you to back a draw selection that will win if the favorite wins by exactly the same points as the puck line. In such a situation, the ones backing the underdog or favorite will lose.

Another puck line variation is the period puck line. As the terminology implies, this is a bet that concerns the final score of a single period, which means that the puck line will be -0.5 and +0.5.

NHL Over/Under Betting

Over/under bets are wagers that are placed when you believe that the combined score of both teams will be either above or under a certain number. Typically, the totals offered tend to hover between 5.5 and 6.5, and some punters consider these numbers to be NHL’s key numbers as far as totals go.

As you can see, the typical total bet contains half points, eliminating the possibility of a push. This will not always be the case, however, so be on the lookout for such situations. As for other peculiarities, we should note that there is no difference between the odds of the over or under bet. Instead, it is expressed in the plus and minus before each option’s points.

Apart from ordinary over/under bets, there is also a variation named the Grand Salami. When you place such a wager, you are betting on the combined total score of every game of a single day.

Seasonal totals are also popular. With these bets, you wager on how much points a team will win, as a whole, by the end of the season. Do note that we are not referring to their goals, but instead, the points a team receives after a game. They will get one point if the match reaches overtime and two points if they win the game outright. Another variant of such seasonal bets is betting on how many total wins a team will manage to achieve.


At the end of the day, it is undeniable that you have lots of options to pick from as an NHL bettor. This means that there will always be something interesting to find at sportsbooks during the annual NHL season. Moneyline selections and over/under bets are always an option, and if you fancy yourself an exciting game where you are cheering for both teams, placing bets on the totals is yet another excellent opportunity.

Moreover, the experience will not be difficult either because pretty much all reputable sportsbooks tend to offer options in terms of the odds formats you can utilize. Regardless of whether your odds preferences lie with decimals, fractional odds, or the US format, bookmakers have got you covered. is a media website dedicated to sports news and reviews of the most popular sports betting sites. Here you will find comprehensive guides on where to bet on football, tennis, NBA, NFL and information about the most popular betting deposit methods.