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NHL Futures Betting Explained

hockey stick and puckNHL futures are betting markets that are generally decided from a few days to a few months in advance. Unlike other bet types like totals and money lines which are decided on the day of the game, futures bets are wagers set for something in the future.

These bets are one of the most popular betting markets in hockey. Betting on who will win the Stanley Cup and Playoffs are particularly lucrative. The Cup draws in millions of bettors and viewers every year. Those who are serious about betting on sports will most definitely make NHL futures bets. Since the odds are so high, and hockey is such an unpredictable sport when it comes to who will be champion of the league, the stakes – and winnings – are high.

Let’s take a look at what betting on futures is all about and some of the popular NHL futures betting markets.

Best NHL Futures US Sportsbooks 2020

For some of the best odds and lines on NHL futures for US bettors, check out our recommended online sportsbooks below.


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What you’ll find in this NHL futures guide:

What are NHL Futures?

So, this type of NHL bet is a grouping of wagers made on NHL matches that still have to be played. The most common and popular type of NHL futures bet is winner of the Stanley Cup. This bet is placed at the beginning of the NHL season.

The way oddsmakers determine the futures odds depends on how well the team performed in the previous season. Teams that have recently won or had the strongest showing in preseason games tend to have the best (lowest) odds against them. On the other hand, bookies are likely to give worse (higher) odds against those that didn’t play well. However, if you place a future bet on a team with high odds against them and they win, your payout will be quite large. Plus, you get bragging rights.

NHL Futures Betting Examples

For US bettors, futures bets are mainly written in the form of money line odds based on a $100 bet. Let’s take a look at some popular NHL futures wagers for Americans.

Stanley Cup Futures

Most NHL futures bets are made on who the winner of the Stanley Cup will be. This cup is the championship trophy of the entire NHL. Placing a future bet on the Stanley Cup is easy. The tricky part is guessing who the outright winner will be.

At your favorite sportsbooks, you add the team you want to wager on to your bet slip. Then, choose how much you want to bet and click on submit. The 2019/20 NHL future bets on the Stanley Cup generally look like this:

  • Boston Bruins: +800
  • Washington Capitals: +800
  • Colorado Avalanche: +800
  • Tampa Bay Lighting: +1200
  • Toronto Maple Leafs: +1300

As you can see by these odds, the favorites pegged to win the Stanley Cup are the Boston Bruins, with odds at +800. While oddsmakers think that the Detroit Red Wings have a dismal chance with odds on them at +100000.

hockey players in an arena

Other Hockey Futures Markets

Other sports like the NFL or NBA draw more future bets than the NHL. However, when it comes to NHL futures, hockey tends to have more offerings. The number available largely depends on the sportsbook. Other future markets in the NHL include:

  • NHL division winners
  • Eastern and Western Conference winners
  • Which teams make the Playoffs

Futures Payouts: Working Out Your Edge

Hockey futures are considered a high vigorish market, with sportsbooks holding often between 20% to 30%. But this doesn’t mean that there isn’t any value in them. To see your break-even percentage with futures bets, add the money line odds of your pick and calculate the implied probability.

Check out our other NHL betting guides:

NHL Futures Betting Tips

Although no set of tips and strategy guarantees wins all the time, it’s good to go in with an idea of dos and don’ts. Having a basic strategy with NHL futures is not only recommended but smart betting. Let’s take a look at our three expert tips for betting futures on the NHL.

Shop for the Best Lines

Markets for futures have the most variation across sportsbooks than other NHL betting markets. Shop around for a sportsbook that has the better odds on your team. In fact, you can go as far as wagering at more than just one sports betting site.

Hedge Your Futures Bets

Hedging is helpful in futures betting if you want to make a profit, even though it isn’t recommended with other bet types. Let’s say your future bet team makes it to the final. Then, you can bet on their opponent to win or lose the final, guaranteeing you a profit.

Don’t Have too Many Futures Bets

However much value future bets may have, you still shouldn’t dedicate all of your betting bankroll to them. They tend to tie up your money for extended periods of time because you have to wait for some time before the final outcome. Only put a small portion of your bankroll towards NHL futures bets.

Check Out Our Top Sports Betting Guides

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