NHL Betting – Legal National Hockey League Sports Books

National Hockey League Betting

The National Hockey League, or NHL, is a professional North American ice hockey league that features a total of thirty-one ice hockey teams. Seven teams are based in Canada, and twenty-four teams are based in the United States.

The thirty-two teams are divided into two conferences, and each conference is divided into two divisions. The Eastern Conference consists of the Atlantic Division with eight teams, along with the Metropolitan division which also has eight teams. The Western Conference includes the Central division with seven teams and the Pacific division with eight teams. Headquartered in New York City, the National Hockey League is considered the top league for professional ice hockey and is one of the four major professional sports leagues in both Canada and the United States.

Each NHL game is 60 minutes long, comprising of three 20-minute periods with an intermission between each period. If the game is tied after 60 minutes of gameplay, the game enters overtime. Overtime periods are five minutes in length, and whoever scores the first goal will win the game. Should there still not be a goal during overtime, a shootout will take place. Three players from each team will take a penalty shot. During the playoffs, there are no shootouts. Instead, sudden death will go into effect with each period being 20-minutes long until a team scores.

In my NHL article, I will include popular hockey leagues that are similar to the NHL, provide the most common NHL betting types that you will find at a range of legal sports betting sites, and offer beneficial strategies and tips that you can use when making a bet on any NHL game. Furthermore, I will take an in-depth look at the legality of NHL betting, include the most commonly asked questions surrounding the NHL and give you insight into why I believe betting on the NHL is highly recommended.

Should you already be familiar with NHL betting, and consider yourself to be a self-proclaimed expert merely looking for a legal and reliable online sportsbook, you are more than welcome to choose any of my listed sports betting sites below. However, if you are new to NHL betting or looking to brush up on your current NHL knowledge, there’s loads of information provided in my article.

List of Sports Betting sites accepting players from the USA:

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Similar Ice Hockey Leagues

Apart from the NHL, there are several other ice hockey leagues and tournaments around the world that bettors can use to make a potential profit. Most of the legal sports betting sites I included in my article will feature these ice hockey leagues, and with games played throughout the year, there is always plenty of betting opportunities available. I included the most popular ice hockey leagues below and briefly explained what they consist of, as well as when they take place.

Swedish Hockey League

The Swedish Hockey League, or SHL, is considered the highest division when it comes to the Swedish ice hockey system. Established in 1975, the SHL consists of fourteen different teams in the league starting in late September through to the beginning of March. The regular season features a total of fifty-two games. The 14 teams play against each other in a pre-determined schedule, while the playoffs occur from March through to April. The playoffs are an elimination tournament featuring two teams playing against each other through a best-of-seven series to ultimately determine a Swedish champion that will receive the La Mat Trophy.

The Kontinental Hockey League

The Kontinental Hockey League also referred to as the KHL, is a professional international ice hockey league established in 2008. The KHL consists of 27 teams, or clubs, that are based in Russia, Slovakia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, China, Finland. And Latvia. There’s also plans to expand the number of clubs in the league. The league is the top ice hockey league in both Europe and Asia and considered second in the world. The league features a total of 56 games starting in late August and finishing in early March every year. The winner of the league receives the Gagarin Cup, while the best Russian team receives the Champion of Russia title.

American Hockey League

The American Hockey League, or AHL, is an ice hockey league that consists of thirty teams from both the Canada and the United States, serving as the main development league for the NHL. Twenty-six teams U.S based, and four teams are based in Canada. The thirty teams are divided into two conferences, including the Western Conference and Eastern Conference. Each conference is further divided into two divisions. The regular AHL season gets underway in early October and ends in late April.

Types of NHL Bets

The National Hockey League encompasses fast-paced action that is both entertaining and extremely fun to watch. This highly demanding and physical sport is not only great to watch, but also provides bettors with a variety of betting markets to make a potential profit on every game. I included the most popular NHL betting types below along with a description below:

Canadian Line

Canadian lines are basically point spreads that function as an advantage for underdog teams by essentially levelling out the playing field between teams. Therefore, the favourites in a game are required to beat their opponents by more than the advertised spread for your bet to win. Canadian lines offer both an active and balanced market for the two teams in a bet. A Canadian line will be presented as follows:

Chicago Blackhawks -2.5 (+130)

Detroit Red Wings +2.5 (-150)

In my example, the Chicago Blackhawks are the favourites over the Detroit Red Wings. The positive and negative symbols indicate the Canadian line. It also tells you which team is giving points and which team is receiving points. The odds on the far right will reflect the payout you’ll receive for a winning bet. The Blackhawks are required to win by three or more goals to win the bet, while the Red Wings are required to lose by less than two goals to win the bet. The odds will tell you how much you can potentially win. For instance, you’ll need to risk $100 on the Blackhawks to win $130 or risk $150 on the Red Wings to win $100.


Moneyline wagers basically remove the Canadian line, as you only need to decide which team will win the game outright. Both favourites and underdogs will have different odds attached to them to balance the markets for the two teams. A moneyline will be presented as follows:

Anaheim Ducks -175

Vegas Golden Knights +135

In my example, the Anaheim Ducks are the favourites over the Vegas Golden Knights. As there’s no Canadian line, you can easily classify the underdogs with the positive symbol, and the favourites with the negative symbol. You’ll need to risk $175 to make a profit of $100 on the Anaheim Ducks and risk $100 on the Vegas Golden Knights to make a profit of $135.

Game Total

Game Totals include a set number of goals that bookmakers believe the two ice hockey teams will end up scoring together. You will need to predict if the predetermined total goal amount will be more or less at the end of the game. A Game Total will be presented as follows:

Nashville Predators vs Dallas Stars

Over 5.0

Under 5.0

In my example, the game totals are set to 5.0, and you’ll need to wager on whether the combined goal score from both teams will be over or under this set number. If the Nashville Predators defeat the Dallas Stars with a 1-3 score, the game total will be 4, meaning the game went under the total.


Parlays consist of a single wager that combines anything from 2 individual bets up to 12 individual bets. All individual bets on a parlay need to be correct before your parlay wager will be deemed successful. Should one individual bet be incorrect, your parlay bet will be invalid. Parlays are very popular in the NHL as they provide bigger payouts with greater odds.

Prop Bet

Prop bets are any bet that is not affiliated with the final result of the game. Instead, it will focus more on team performances, as well as individual player performances. You can make bets on the how many goals a certain player will score, or the number of goals a team will score in a single game.

NHL Betting Tips and Strategies

The National Hockey League is a fast-paced and extremely physical team sport with loads of different aspects that bettors need to be fully aware of before placing a bet. There are loads of different strategies that you can use to improve your chances of winning. I have included the most popular strategies and tips below in the hopes of boosting your winning potential.

NHL Betting Tips and Strategies

Early Schedules

As the NHL season kicks off, I highly recommend that you print the entire NHL schedule for every team and carefully go through it to identify various aspects. These aspects include teams playing on consecutive days, as well as teams playing away or at home. You will then need to highlight teams playing at unusual times, as this can have a huge affect on internal body clocks. In addition, you need to check for extended road trips that include a Western team playing in Eastern time zones, or the other way around. These aspects will provide a good indication of teams that won’t play at their best, providing the perfect opportunity to have an additional edge over bookmakers.

Be Aware of each Goal Tender

This is the most important position in any ice hockey team. You will need to ensure that you have a reliable and reputable source to keep up-to-date with who starts as goal tender in each game you want to bet on. It’s also worth mentioning that consecutive games won’t feature the same goal tender, so keep an eye on replacements and their level of experience.

Avoid Game Total Short Odds

NHL game totals normally feature the same numbers, starting at five and climbing as high as six on rare occasions. Bookmakers will have an advantage in most cases and offer shorter odds when statistical information tells them the total score will lean towards a certain number. NHL games exceeding five only happens 45% of the team, NHL games falling exactly on five only happens 30% of the time, and NHL games that go under five only happens 25% of the time. Therefore, it will be beneficial to rather avoid game totals that are presented as five.

Legality of NHL Betting

NHL betting is immensely popular in the United States and Canada. However, once you venture outside of Montana, Oregon, Nevada, or Delaware, betting at online sportsbooks are considered illegal in every other state. The same can be said about citizens in Canada. They have regulated sports betting sites in every region that are government approved, but the betting odds are much worse when compared to other leading sports betting sites around the world.

Luckily, the regulations in both Canada and the United States are only valid inside the borders of both countries. This allows sports bettors to seek more competitive odds, and an overall better experience, at legal offshore sports betting sites. These legal sportsbooks provide more superior bonuses and promotions, as well as greater customer support, and faster processing times on both deposits and withdrawals.


With an action-packed schedule, along with fast-paced and physical requirements, NHL betting is one of the tougher options in the online sports betting world. Fortunately, it provides loads of additional rewards for astute bettors while using one of the leading online sportsbooks that not only provides some of the best odds in the industry, but also offers superior service. A bettor’s success will lie with their capability to transform their knowledge of the NHL into a lucrative long-term strategy.

NHL FAQ Section

When was the National Hockey League established?

Who are the current NHL champions?

Who has the most titles in the National Hockey League?

What are the measurements of an ice hockey rink in the NHL?

Why I Would Recommend NHL Betting

David Nugent Editor

First off, I want to say hi and wish a warm welcome to all gambling aficionados out there! My name is David Nugent and I am editor-in-chief of LegitGambling.com. I have always enjoyed various sports, primarily soccer, as I am a die-hard Everton fan.

Over time, I learned more about sports betting and discovered the fascinating online gambling industry. Eventually,...

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