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NHL Playoff Betting Guide

nhl playoff bettingNHL Playoff betting is the US hockey bettor fan’s favorite time of the season. The NHL playoffs, which lead up to the Stanley Cup, are a hotly contested tournament for both National Hockey League (NHL) teams and its fans. A normally quiet betting market experiences a sudden spike in betting action just before the NHL hockey playoffs and during the series. Bettors wager on Stanley Cup series odds on everything from individual games to futures.

Because of the exciting and unpredictable nature of the NHL playoffs, it draws in even those that aren’t that interested in NHL hockey. NHL playoff betting is extremely rewarding in that it’s anybody’s game, whether a team’s the underdog or the favorite. Beginning in early April, this is an exciting period of the year that ends a few days into June.

For US bettors looking to cash in on NHL playoff odds and get to know something about playoff betting, you’ve come to the right place. Our guide on NHL playoff betting covers everything you need to know. Our guide is designed to help you make the best possible bets you can on the NHL playoffs and Stanley Cup bracket.

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What you’ll find in this NHL playoff betting guide:

How do NHL Playoffs Work?

When the NHL playoffs were started in the 1979-80 NHL season, the series had 16 teams which competed against each other in five games. However, after the 1980 playoff expansion, the number of games was increased to seven and they introduced playoff seeding to the series.

Now currently, the Stanley Cup playoffs is a best-of-seven series with seeding playing an important role in the postseason. This practice is a bit controversial in the league due to the current playoff format. So, for the purposes of NHL playoff betting, the playoffs work as follows:

  • The winners of the two Divisions within each Conference play against two Wild Card teams.
  • There’s another series that runs between the teams that placed second and third in their Divisions.
  • The winner of the second and third place series then plays the winner of the series between the Division champion and Wild Card. This is the Stanley Cup final and the winner of this game is the NHL champion for that year.

NHL Playoff Betting: How to Bet on NHL Playoffs

Whether bettors in the United States are betting on the regular or postseason, the NHL playoff betting rules remain the same. However, the main difference between regular season and postseason betting is the betting limits and available markets to wager on. These are higher during the NHL playoffs. If you want to take part in the betting action, here’s how you can bet on the NHL hockey playoffs:

  1. Find a sports betting site with NHL market: most sites that cater to US bettors will have the NHL available for betting. Look out for the number of lines, events, and promotions on offer.
  2. Research the teams playing: before placing real money on NHL playoff betting at a site you’ve picked, research the teams. Look at previous games played against their rival team that day and recent performances. Furthermore, check out the goaltender. They’re a very important factor when it comes to betting on an NHL game.
  3. Make your deposit: after you’ve picked a match and which team you want to bet on, you’ll have to go to the cashier section to make a deposit. There are various banking methods to choose from, with some sportsbooks running promotions on cryptocurrency deposits.
  4. Place your bet: once you’ve entered the USD amount you want to bet, confirm your bet.
  5. Enjoy the game: finally, now all you can do is watch the game and hope your pick was correct.
nhl 2017 playoffs

NHL Playoff Odds 2020 Types

Something that’s worth familiarizing yourself with when engaging in NHL playoff betting are the odds and bet types you’ll come across. Below are common NHL playoff odds American bettors can use.

Futures and Props

All top-notch sports betting sites offer NHL futures well before the actual start of the Stanley Cup series. However, once the NHL playoffs begin, the futures are brought down to 16 options – the teams that are remaining. The NHL playoff odds have betting lines on the odds of them winning their Conference and the Stanley Cup itself. Generally, in the NHL playoff bracket, the biggest underdog’s odds are at +2000.

NHL betting experts recommend that to get the best value for your futures bet after the playoffs have started, you need to go for the odds on Division runner-ups.

It’s important to note that most betting sites remove the futures and props before the NHL playoffs begin. So, if you’re looking to bet on props like Rookie of the Year, NHL MVP, and NHL’s top goal scorer among others, then place them before the end of the NHL regular season.

Live Betting

With the exponential growth in technology, betting online has blessed us with ability to wager on a game as it’s happening. The sophisticated technology allows sportsbooks to update their odds in real time, adding a whole new and exciting dimension to NHL playoff betting. US bettors get to place sides, totals, and puck line bets while the game is being played.

Money Line

This betting option is popular among US bettors during the first round of the playoffs. The simplest NHL bet –  the money line – is about picking the outright winner of the game. But, it’s not that simple when it comes to betting on hockey, especially if you’re just looking at the underdog vs favorite dynamic. Once the postseason begins, the odds on games are much closer. Also, hockey is a highly unpredictable sport when it comes to betting, so do your research and say a prayer when placing a money line bet.


In this betting line, bettor bet on whether the final score will be more (over) or less (under) than the predicted score set by the oddsmaker. The over/under bet in NHL playoff betting remains relatively the same during the postseason. In fact, bettors can expect to find higher scores than average during the playoffs as the postseason tends to see more goal scoring.

Puck Line

The puck line bet, similar to point spread in other sports, isn’t as popular in the playoffs as in the regular season. This is because in the NHL hockey playoffs, road teams tend to win about 50% of games. Therefore, if road teams – who are the underdogs majority of the time – win half of the games, it’s better to bet on them on the money line.

For more on betting on the NHL, check out our guides below:

NHL Standings Playoffs 2020

These are the most recent NHL standings based off division.

Eastern Conference

Metropolitan Games Played Won Lost Shootout Losses Points
Washington Capitals 41 27 9 5 59
NY Islanders 39 25 11 3 53
Pittsburgh Penguins 40 24 11 5 53
Carolina Hurricanes 40 24 14 2 50
Philadelphia Flyers 41 22 14 5 49
Columbus Blue Jackets 41 19 14 8 46
NY Rangers 40 19 17 4 42
New Jersey Devils 40 15 19 6 36
Atlantic Games Played Won Lost Shootout Losses Points
Boston Bruins 42 24 7 11 59
Toronto Maple Leafs 42 23 14 5 51
Tampa Bay Lightning 39 22 13 4 48
Florida Panthers 40 21 14 5 47
Buffalo Sabres 42 18 17 7 43
Montreal Canadiens 41 18 17 6 42
Ottawa Senators 41 16 20 5 37
Detroit Red Wings 41 10 28 3 23

Read more on the Eastern Conference

Western Conference

Central Games Played Won Lost Shootout Losses Points
St Louis Blues 42 26 10 6 58
Colorado Avalanche 41 24 13 4 52
Dallas Stars 41 23 14 4 50
Winnipeg Jets 41 22 16 3 47
Minnesota Wild 41 19 17 5 43
Nashville Predators 39 18 15 6 42
Chicago Blackhawks 42 18 18 6 42
Pacific Games Played Won Lost Shootout Losses Points
Vegas Golden Knights 44 23 15 6 52
Arizona Coyotes 43 23 16 4 50
Vancouver Canucks 41 22 15 4 48
Edmonton Oilers 43 21 17 5 47
Calgary Flames 43 21 17 5 47
San Jose Sharks 42 18 21 3 39
Los Angeles Kings 42 17 21 4 38
Anaheim Ducks 41 16 20 5 37

NHL Playoff Bracket Predictions for 2020

Playing the playoffs bracket is another way of getting in on NHL playoff betting. It’s basically about predicting which teams will face off in which round. The brackets work as follows:

Round 1: Division Semifinals

Here the top four teams from each Division within their Conferences play against each other in a best-of-seven tournament.

Round 2: Division Finals

For the division finals, the winner of each division match-up in their respective Conferences play against each other.

Round 3: Conference Finals

Here the winners of the Eastern Conference Division match-ups play against each other; like wise with the Western Conference. And the two teams that are crowned their Conference’s champions play for the Stanley Cup.

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