If you thought the NHL was exciting before, wait until you have some skin in the game. We can now see that for ourselves right here in Illinois. Sports betting is legal here, meaning the NHL is on the betting menu.
You’ll have your choice of a plethora of games to bet on from the beginning of the regular season through to the Stanley Cup playoffs. There are options to bet on the performance of individual players, the season as a whole, and even to live bet as the games play out.
Our complete guide to NHL betting covers it all. We’ll show you the best spots to bet online, where you can find the best odds and much more.
For every game on the NHL slate, Illinois sportsbooks will post odds on the outcome. The numbers can shift in advance of the game, but staying on top of the latest lines is a breeze via our live NHL odds feed.
These are real-time odds directly from leading online sportsbooks here in IL, so check back often. Click on any odds to go directly to the sportsbook, claim your bonus and lock your bets in.
Getting started with NHL betting is a fairly simple process, but there are some things you need to know before you begin.
There are several options to consider for NHL betting. Let’s take a quick look at the most popular bet types on the menu:
We’ll cover additional details for several of these bet types as we move forward. For those new to hockey betting, moneyline bets, totals and props are three ways to get started.
Throughout the NHL season, you’ll have a whole slew of sports betting options. Those aren’t the only ways to get in on the action. You can place some bets on the entire season with futures, or open the doors to more game wagers with props.
The futures market for the NHL revolves around events that will happen once the season comes to a close. Odds for the available bets will come out in the offseason, and many of the markets stay active all year. Here are some of the more popular bets you’ll see:
Props are additional bets on individual games. You’ll find all the prop bets available for a contest by clicking on the game listing. There will be props based on team and game situations, as well as several that revolve around player performance.
On the game and team side, you might see props on which side will have more shots in the contest or if a shootout will be needed to decide things. Props are an awesome way to get even more engaged with the games you plan on betting on anyway.
Many sports betting rules are pretty standard across the board, but there may also be some variances from operator to operator. A good rule of thumb to always review the house rules.
For sportsbook apps and online sites from regulated operators, you should be able to locate them via the “Help“ section. Here’s the gist of what you need to know when it comes to wagering on the NHL:
Once again, we have to emphasize that the rules in specific circumstances may vary by operator. If you take just a couple of minutes to review the terms and conditions where you are playing and understand how a particular sportsbook lists NHL bets, you may save yourself some confusion down the road.
If you thought the action on the ice moved fast, then wait until you check out NHL live betting. Also known as in game betting, these are wagers that you can place in real time. The NHL betting odds and offerings are based on what’s happening on the ice.
Live betting is incredibly popular, and leading operators stand at the ready with great platforms for you to dive in and take advantage. DraftKings and FanDuel are among those leading the way with great live betting features on mobile. Here are some of the bets you might come across.
This area of betting can be lots of fun, incredibly exciting and potentially profitable. That said, remember not to get too swept up in the action. As with all types of wagering, always bet with your head and never over it.
The NHL has an incredibly loyal and passionate following in Illinois. Naturally, the Chicago Blackhawks are at the top of the charts in terms of interest. The team competes in the NHL’s newly realigned Central Division. The seven other teams that make up the division are among the Blackhawks’ biggest rivals:
The Blackhawks are also one of the original six NHL franchises, so games against the other five squads on that list — Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs — are traditionally always among the highlights of the season. However, for 2021, all regular season games will be played against other Central Division teams.
Here are the details on where you can catch Blackhawks action in person:
The Blackhawks franchise traces its roots back to the founding of the NHL. There has been a good deal of success, including a trio of Stanley Cup wins. Here are some of the key details about the franchise:
Chicago has made it to the postseason in 63 of its 93 NHL seasons. The most recent appearance came in 2019-20, which snapped a two-year drought. The club took down the Edmonton Oilers in the qualifying round before falling to the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round.
Power rankings are a handicapping tool that bettors of all experience levels can use. In a nutshell, the rankings attempt to quantify teams into a numerical value based on their strengths and weaknesses.
In theory, you compare the rankings for two teams and factor in home-ice advantage. The result should point you to the more likely result and an estimated margin of victory. While there are no foolproof systems in handicapping, power rankings can be a useful tool to use as part of an overall strategy.
Many seasoned handicappers create their rankings that factor in a number of variables, such as goal differential, strength and weakness on special teams and effectiveness at home and away.
There are also several free-to-use power ranking systems available on the internet, including the popular Sagarin ratings. Power rankings can be helpful, but remember that projected results are no guarantee, as anything can happen when two teams step on the ice.
The lengthy NHL season traditionally begins with the preseason in the fall and runs all the way through to the Stanley Cup Final, which typically doesn’t wrap up until June. This year, the condensed season will skip preseason games, with the puck dropping on January 13 for the start of the regular season which will run till May 8. The playoffs will immediately follow, with the Stanley Cup being awarded sometime in July. Every step of the way, you’ll have plenty of betting options.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, for the 2021 regular season, each team will play 56 games, all within their newly realigned division. The Blackhawks and the other squads will play 26 home and away games each, with two to three games played consecutively vs. each team in the same arena to reduce team travel. This means that there will be plenty of opportunities for heated rivalries to start (or continue) with each mini series played.
While each game on the docket will attract its fair share of betting action, marquee contests and nationally televised affairs will see the most. There’s a spike in interest come postseason time as the Stanley Cup playoffs are among the most entertaining parts of the yearly sports calendar.
Dozens of players who were born in Illinois have made it to the pro ranks. Here’s a quick look at five of the all-time best from that list:
The NHL is a fun sport to bet on, and there’s profit potential to boot. That said, it can take some getting used to, especially for those new to the game. Here are three tips you can use as you begin your NHL betting journey:
Knowing what to do when NHL betting certainly helps, but knowing what to watch for is also helpful. Included on that list is trying to bet on every single game or chasing your losses in an attempt to recoup funds. As opposed to those two trouble spots, look toward taking a focused approach and learn to accept that losses will happen.
Basically, the puck line bet is the NHL equivalent of a point spread wager. As opposed to numbers that can be all over the map, the puck line is typically set at 1.5 goals. To cover, a favorite would have to win by two goals or more. The underdog covers by keeping the margin to a goal or by winning the game outright.
The top four teams from each of the four divisions – North, West, Central and East – will advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs at the end of the regular season.
The tournament works in series. For the first round, there are eight pairings with eight teams advancing. It’s down to four pairings in the second round, with the division winners being re-seeded based on their regular season records to move on to the Stanley Cup Semifinals. The winners of the two Semifinals series meet to decide the winner of the Stanley Cup. All four rounds of the playoffs are best-of-seven series, which means that the first team to win four games advances.
Well, it depends on the bet you choose. Some bets revolve solely around regulation time, and others that include the overtime and shootout. Sportsbooks will label the terms of the wager, so take the time to review your selections to ensure you are betting on what you want to.
NHL period betting continues to grow in popularity, especially those revolving around the first period of action. These are wagers that are all about a single period of action. The goal is to choose the team that will come out on top for that frame of action. This bet can be ideal for those who have a good sense of how teams start out in games, and a good starting point for those new to NHL betting.
Sportsbooks have a ton of data at their disposal while setting lines. While using the assistance of computers and algorithms, the team responsible for setting the lines will crunch the numbers while considering several variables. Once the oddsmakers are happy with the results, they release the NHL betting lines to the public.
The NHL draft lottery decides which team is entitled to the next entry draft’s first overall selection. All the teams who failed to qualify for the postseason are entered. The team with the worst record has the best shot at the top pick, followed by the second-worst and so on. Trades can sometimes jumble the order as clubs will use picks as capital to acquire other assets. The most recent lottery on Aug. 10, 2020, was won by the New York Rangers. The team selected left wing Alexis Lafreniere with the top selection in the draft, which was held from Oct. 6-7, 2020.