How to Bet on the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

The NHL playoffs usually begin in mid-April. Sixteen teams battle in a best-of-seven series as they look to hoist one of sport’s most famous trophies, the Stanley Cup. With almost two months of NHL playoff action, there are lots of opportunities to bet on hockey games. Here we will break down some of the best ways to wager on the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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NHL Single game bets

The most popular types of NHL playoff bets are on a single outcome. These can be moneylines, puck lines, props, or totals. There are also same game parlays, which tie together several potential outcomes, like a side, total, and player statistical props.

Game lines

The simplest way to bet on single games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is game lines. These include puck lines, moneylines, and totals. Puck lines will usually be set at 1 ½. You can bet -1 ½ on the favorite to get increased odds, or you can bet +1 ½ on the underdog if you think the game will be close. You will usually lay money on puck line underdogs in the NHL playoffs. The games are often too close for there to be that large of a favorite, especially after the first round.

Moneylines are listed with a favorite and an underdog. Usually, the higher seed is favored in the early rounds of the postseason. Later in the playoffs, the home team is usually the favorite. The total is often set somewhere between 5 ½ to 6 ½. This is the total amount of goals scored between the two teams in the game.

Game props

Another way to bet on the NHL playoffs is game props. Some of the most popular game props are three-way money lines and alternate game lines. Three-way/ 60-minute money lines are ways to bet on either team to win in regulation or the game to go to overtime. Alternate game lines offer different spreads and totals on the game. 

You can also bet on the winning margin for the exact amount of goals a certain team will win by. There are bets on the team to record five shots on goal first. There are also spreads and totals for each period. You can also wager on whether both teams will score in the game or period. Bets on which team will score first and last are also offered.

There are game props on whether or not a goal will be scored within the first five or first ten minutes of the hockey game. Depending on how high or low scoring the two offenses are, you can find favorable bets here. Another game prop offered is whether the final goal total will be odd or even.

In the first two rounds, while there are multiple games per night in the NHL, you can bet on the Grand Salami. The Grand Salami is the total amount of goals scored in all the games on that night. There is usually an over/under attached to it, which you can wager on.

While there are multiple games per night, you can bet on the night’s highest and lowest-scoring teams. There are prop bets on which game will have the highest and lowest total amount of goals scored in it. 

Player props

Single-game bets also offer wagers on player props in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. You can wager on whether players will score a goal in the game or an over/under on their point total in the matchup. Usually, these point totals are set at 0.5 unless it is one of the more dominant players in the postseason. There are also bets on who will score the first goal of the game.

There are player props based around shots as well. You can bet which players will have 2+, 3+, 4+, and 5+ shots on goal in the game. There are over/under totals set for players if they will get over a certain shot number in the matchup. Looking at different players’ average shots on goal per game is a good way to bet on these games.

Another way to wager on player props is through goalie props. You can bet on the over/under for each starting goaltender’s save total in the game. There are also bets on whether either goalie can earn a shutout in this game. Looking at previous game shots and save totals is a good way to bet the over/under in the postseason.

Live bets

Most of the common live bets are used for updated moneyline, spread, and total bets. Here you can bet on crazier spreads. If a team is up 2 goals late in the third, you could bet them to win -2 1/2, betting on them to hold the other team scoreless and add an empty netter late. Usually, live game lines do not have as favorable odds as if you had bet before the game. The spread is larger, meaning the online sportsbook has a larger house edge.

There are live bets for games in the postseason, where you can bet on the next team or player to score a goal. You can also bet whether another goal will be scored in the period. There are player props on if certain players will record a point for the remainder of the game.

Same game parlays

Another wager offered in the Stanley Cup playoffs are same game parlays. These are parlays based on a single game. You can add game lines, game props, and player props into these bets. These offer big odds, but like a regular parlay, all legs must hit for the bet to payout.

Some sportsbooks offer promotions for same game parlays in the early rounds and on big games late in the postseason. You can find promotions offering odds boosts and bonus bets at sports betting sites like DraftKings and FanDuel. When using these promotions, make sure you read them carefully as there is usually a minimum odds total and leg total attached.

NHL Futures

The most common future bets in the playoffs are betting on how far teams will make it in the playoffs. You can bet which teams will win the Stanley Cup, make the Stanley Cup, make the Conference Finals, and win the current series they are in. Finding mismatches between teams in a series is a good way to find some value in future bets. 

Another way you can bet on series in the Stanley Cup is by how many games a team will win by. If you bet on a team to win by 1 ½ games, you would need that team to win the series 4-2, 4-1, or 4-0. Depending on the seeds between the teams, the spread of games can vary in the early rounds.

Another futures bet you can make during the Stanley Cup Playoffs is who will win the Conn Smythe. The Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded to the MVP of the playoffs. Almost every time it is a player from the team that wins the Stanley Cup. One aspect to note though is unlike other sports the Conn Smythe is the MVP of the entire playoffs, not just the finals.

Tips for betting on NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

There are several ways that you can increase your chances of winning and avoid picking a bad side in the NHL playoffs. This includes different scenarios that tend to lead to victory. However, you should price your picks against the market. Some of the situations described below are priced into the odds, while others may not be. 

Avoid offense heavy teams

One situation to avoid when betting on a team to go far in the playoffs is one that relies heavily on their offense. Some teams can be successful in the regular season by simply outscoring teams. In the playoffs though, scoring goes down and teams need to have strong defense and goaltending to make deep runs. 

Consider betting teams down 2-0 going home

One of the most successful bets in a playoff series is betting on teams down 2-0 going back home. Usually, with the team down 2-0, they are underdogs or very slight favorites at home, which gives good value to them. There are not a lot of sweeps in the postseason and most series will go 6-7 games in the playoffs.

Experience is key

Another important feature to look for in the NHL playoffs is teams with experience. Teams with a lot of players making their first postseason appearance are unlikely to win it all. Teams who have experienced some tough playoff failures are more likely to win it all. Betting against teams without experience later in the playoffs is a good bet.

Watch how teams enter the postseason

Another thing to watch for when making bets in the NHL playoffs is how teams are entering them. Teams coming into the postseason on a hot streak, have a better chance to keep that momentum going early in the playoffs. Teams that have been stumbling toward the end of the season are teams to avoid.

Last Updated on August 5, 2023 by Kristina Mehaffey