The Stanley Cup playoffs offer a huge number of betting opportunities. In fact, 2020 will have even more picks than 2019 due to the addition of eight additional teams (24 rather than the traditional 16). This is an interesting season for NHL Stanley Cup odds.
Last year, the Finals pit the St. Louis Blues against the Boston Bruins. While the (initially thrilling) series went to game seven, the Bruins’ early lead in the last game and dominance in game six gave neutral fans little exhilaration toward the end.
Unless, of course, those neutral fans had money riding on the game.
Here’s a look at the Stanley Cup odds for those who want to guarantee, if nothing else, extra excitement over the course of the tournament.
Odds To Win The Stanley Cup – Whose Odds Are Increasing?
The Bruins Are On The Road To Redemption
The Bruins are the far and away favorite among the experts when it comes to the odds of winning the Stanley Cup in 2020. They have a fantastic regular-season record, the league’s best points percentage, and momentum is on their side. They also lost the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals, which may be postseason sports’ biggest motivator.
Unsurprisingly, most (if not all) bookmakers have the Bruins as the most likely winner.
But St. Louis Could Repeat
Don’t discount last year’s Stanley Cup Champions. They won ten out of the last 12 games leading up to the coronavirus pause, after all.
But, and perhaps most notably, their time between their championship win and this year’s playoffs is longer than any other in NHL history, giving ammo to people who doubted the (pretty much proven) Stanley Cup hangover theory.
The Avalanche And Stars Are Potential Forces Of Nature
Of the other teams that have a bye, the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars seem to be the next most likely to lift the Cup.
The 2020 Stanley Cup odds are favoring the Avalanche with several players off their injury list and ready to play, especially with that bye. Meanwhile, the Stars haven’t forgotten about almost beating 2019’s eventual champions in last year’s playoffs. We see them returning with a vengeance on par with the Bruins.
Odds To Win The Stanley Cup – Who’s In Trouble?
The Oilers Would Need To Turn Things Around
If home advantage applies even when there’s no crowd, then the Oilers may have a better shot than we think. But they could just as easily lose to the Chicago Blackhawks, one of the playoff’s worst prospects, in the first series.
The 2018 Stanley Cup Champions Don’t Look Particularly Exceptional
Discounting any of the teams that didn’t make the top eight is easy. But feeling worried about a team with a bye weak that won the Cup a mere two years ago? That’s a bit more difficult. That’s the situation for the Washington Capitals when it comes to the odds to win the Stanley Cup in 2020.
That is, unless you consider one of the worst seasons by their veteran goalkeeper Braden Holtby, whose only possible replacement would be a rookie. We say be careful with this one.
Biggest Long-Shots: Chicago and Montreal
The Chicago Blackhawks and the Montreal Canadiens have the slimmest NHL odds to win the Cup let alone make it to the Finals. But that means they’ll likely have the highest payout potential on a Futures bet. Even $1.00 on a long-shot pick can pay out nicely.
What’s Different In The 2020 NHL Season?
On March 12, 2020, the NHL’s paused regular-season play, which meant 189 games weren’t played. Teams had to cut their 82-game seasons short after playing between 69 and 71 games. Now, the playoffs are set to begin on July 30, 2020, with a qualifying round and seeding round-robin.
That would put the Stanley Cup Finals ending somewhere between late-September and early-October. Because hockey season usually starts in October, the ‘20/’21 season will be pushed forward a bit, but so far it looks like it will proceed in its entirety.
Normally, sports analysts would use that full season to make predictions on the Stanley Cup playoffs. NHL odds in 2020 are kind of a mess. They’re dealing with the most significant variable in NHL history, and that’s including the lockouts: a four and a half month gap between the regular season and the playoffs.
The unprecedented nature of this year’s playoffs may be more advantageous to the bettor than the bookmaker. In addition, an additional eight teams will qualify for the playoffs this year beyond the normal 16. This makes the odds of making the NHL playoffs easier for more teams.
How will the gap affect the different teams? Will a team’s early-season performance be a better indicator than the leadup to the March 12 pause?
Until we’re well into this postseason, your guess is as good as theirs.
Where Can I Bet On The Stanley Cup Online?
Every legal online sportsbook in the United States will take bets on the Stanley Cup. You can legally bet on sports online in the following seven states:
In Mississippi, you can be on your mobile device from inside some state casinos, but you can’t once you leave state grounds.
If you do happen to live in one of the states where sports betting is legal, the next step is looking for the one that’s right for you.
Your best bet right now is to look for the sites offering the best odds on Stanley Cup futures as well as any promotions. If you do take advantage of a promo, make sure to read all the terms and conditions.
However, the states of Nevada and Iowa require you to register at the sportsbook in-person, so choosing the one that’s best for you may simply come down to geography. Most PA sportsbooks also let you deposit and withdraw in cash at certain casino cages.
How To Place Online Stanley Cup Bets
Here’s a step-by-step guide on placing an online bet on the Stanley Cup playoffs.
1. Find The Right Sports Betting Site Or App
Your state will have a limited number of legal online sportsbooks. Browse the different options to see which have the best Stanley Cup betting odds, explore the reviews, and consider the bonus offers.
2. Register At The Site
Once you’ve chosen a sports betting site or app, create an account. In most cases, you’ll need to verify your identity. You may have a free bet offer just for signing up, but you’ll probably need to deposit before you can withdraw any winnings.
3. Make A Deposit
To place a real-money bet at an online sportsbook, you need to fund your account. You can use a variety of methods, including credit and debit cards, PayPal, and other methods.
4. Place Your Bets
Make a selection, choose the amount you want to wager, then submit the bet. It will then be added to your bet slip, where you can track all bets you place.
5. Withdraw Your Winnings
If you have winnings at the end of the Stanley Cup, you can withdraw it by requesting a direct deposit, PayPal transfer, and a few other methods.
Where Can I Bet On The Stanley Cup In Vegas?
You can check Vegas odds for the Stanley Cup at any Nevada sportsbook. Generally speaking, the larger the facility, the more bets they’ll offer. But the odds and points spreads are pretty consistent across the board.
The most renowned place for sports betting in Vegas is the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, which is the largest sportsbook in Nevada. For what it’s worth, it’s also a great place to watch the games because it almost always has a decent crowd of spectators.
However, due to COVID-19 reopening restrictions, you may want to just bet at a legal Nevada online sportsbook from home. With Westgate, Caesars, and other major sportsbooks at limited-capacity, you may get turned away.
See our guide to Online Gambling In Nevada for more information.
How Stanley Cup Betting Odds Are Calculated
If you’re betting on the Stanley Cup in the US, the odds are likely listed as American Odds (rather than fraction or decimal). However, online sportsbooks will let you change how the odds are presented. You can also use online odds calculators to determine how much you stand to win.
With American Odds, the number with the minus sign (-) represents how much money you need to be to win $100. The plus sign (+) represents how much you’ll win if you bet $100.
Generally speaking, the underdog team will have the plus and the favorite will have the minus. As is the case with all forms of gambling, the lower the likelihood of winning, the higher the potential payout. And the higher the chances of winning, the lower the prize.
Let’s use the DraftKings Sportsbook for Pennsylvania’s odds on the Winnipeg Jets vs. the Calgary Flames game. At the time of writing this article, they only listed the moneyline, which means the scoreboard doesn’t matter beyond who wins or loses. The odds were:
WPG Jets (+120)
CGY Flames (-148)
If you were to bet $100 on the WPG Jets and they won, you’d win $120. If you bet $100 on the CGY Flames and they won, you’d win $69.
How sports analysts determine the odds are based on a number of factors. Individual player performance, overall team performance, injuries, trades, and a bevy of other variables come into play.
How many people bet on the different outcomes also affect the odds, which will regularly change as faceoff grows closer.
Off-Season Betting Odds For The Stanley Cup Breakdown
Interestingly, both free agency and trades did little to affect the odds for the Stanley Cup in the long-run.
In June 2019, four months out from the start of the season, the top five favorites (in order) to win the Stanley Cup were:
- Tampa Bay Lightning (+700)
- Vegas Golden Knights (+1000)
- Boston Bruins (+1000)
- Toronto Maple Leafs (+1000)
- Colorado Avalanche (+1200)
Also in June 2019, the New Jersey Devils got the number one draft pick and chose Jack Hughes, then received P. K. Subban in a trade. The combo made them an early potential contender, but not enough to ever make it into the top five at the sportsbooks.
In July 2019, the Nashville Predators picked up Matt Duchene, the Rangers got Artemi Panarin, and Dallas scored both Corey Perry and Joe Pavelski, bumping them all up in the odds.
But none could maintain that early promise. Dallas, for example, were +900 or so at the sportsbooks in late November 2019, but back to +1800 by early December.
Now, the top five teams are:
- Boston Bruins (+650)
- Tampa Bay Lightning (+650)
- Colorado Avalanche (+700)
- Philadelphia Flyers (+800)
- Vegas Golden Knights (+800)
What’s changed? Obviously we are dealing with an unprecedented NHL season with the almost four-month pause in play. During the first part of the season and the pause in play, the Flyers replaced the Toronto Maple Leafs. And not much else. Let’s take a closer look at each of the top five NHL futures odds:
1. Boston Bruins
The Boston Bruins have been a reliable bet since June 2019. Their position as one of the easier choices to win the Cup has faltered little. They started the season pause with the league’s best record of 44-14-12.
But in March 2020, right before the pause, is when the Bruins really locked themselves into the minds of NHL futures bettors: they beat Tampa Bay during an eight-game winning streak.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning
The early favorites for winning last year’s Stanley Cup have been fairly consistent all season, hitting the pause with a 43-21-6 record.
They dipped a bit early on. But in January, a nine-game winning streak reminded sports bettors that they’re a major contender.
Then they picked up Blake Coleman and Zach Bogosian in February and again rose to a favorite, remaining stable through to today.
3. Colorado Avalanche
The Avalanche acquired forward Vladislav Namestnikov in February 2020, adding him to the roster alongside one of the best centers in the league: Nathan MacKinnon.
The Colorado Avalanche remained a top tier competitor all season long and ultimately hit the pause with a very respectable record of 42-20-8.
See our full guide to Sports Betting in Colorado.
4. Philadelphia Flyers
Philly’s nine-game winning streak that started on February 13 came to an abrupt end in their last game before the pause – against the Bruins.
Over the course of the break, many bettors put their money on the Flyers to take the Cup. And the odds have adjusted accordingly.
Their record of 41-21-7 is good, but it’s that “recent” winning streak that sets them apart.
See our full guide to Sports Betting in Pennsylvania.
5. Vegas Golden Knights
Vegas entered the ‘19/’20 NHL season as the second favorite to win the Cup after the Lightning.
We headed into November 2019 with Vegas maintaining the second spot while the Bruins replaced the Lightning for number one. But then they hit a rough patch between mid-November that lasted until mid-February.
Thankfully for Vegas, they’ve hit their stride again and entered the break with the Pacific Division’s best record of 39-24-8.
NHL Stanley Cup Odds And Betting
Because of the popularity of betting on the NHL, you have a wide range of Stanley Cup bets from which to choose.
NHL Moneyline Bets
An NHL moneyline bet is picking which team you think will win. The final score does not matter. The game ending in a shootout doesn’t matter either; however, there are no shootouts in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Points Spread Bets In The NHL
Betting the spread means you’re also betting on how much a team will win or lose by.
If you choose the favorite, they need to win by that many goals. If you choose the underdog, they either need to win or lose within that many goals. Point spreads are how you go for the biggest wins when you want to bet on the favorite.
NHL bets also have puck line and regulation time bets, which have a standard points spread of +/- 1.5 and +/- 0.5 respectively. The regulation time bet also pays out if the underdog takes the favorite into overtime.
Over/Under And The Grand Salami
An over/under bet is guessing if the total number of goals scored by both teams combined is over or under the bookmaker’s number.
The Grand Salami is a bet unique to ice hockey where you can bet the over/under on all goals scored by all teams that play that day.
Game Lines Vs. Series Lines
During the Stanley Cup, you can bet on individual games as well as the series as a whole.
Can You Parlay Stanley Cup Bets?
Yes. Most sportsbooks will let you parlay Stanley Cup games.
To parlay means to guess the results of multiple games to increase your win potential, and you’re only paid if all guesses are correct.
What Is An NHL Futures Bet
An NHL futures bet is guessing who will win at the end of a tournament. In this case, the Stanley Cup playoffs.
You can bet NHL futures right now at all sportsbooks. To win, your selected team just needs to win the conference or the Stanley Cup finals depending on which you choose.
You can usually place a futures bet months in advance of the Stanley Cup. However, a sportsbook may choose to wait until the teams that made it to the playoffs are determined.
You can also place futures bets after the tournament has started. But futures odds are subject to change at any time based on a variety of variables, the most significant being game results.
What Is A Stanley Cup Prop Bet
In all sports, a prop bet is where you place a wager on a specific outcome. For the Stanley Cup, prop bets are usually separated into two categories: player props and exotics.
Player props are where you bet on a specific player’s performance. You can bet on who will win the Conn Smythe Trophy, which is closer to a futures bet than a traditional prop bet. Usually, player props are game-to-game and involve specific players taking a certain number of shots, scoring goals, saves, minutes in the box, and so on.
Exotic bets are usually in-game events. Examples include number of faceoffs, offsides, and total points in a specific period.
NHL Prop Bets
Season-long prop bets are offered by some sportsbooks, both online and in-person.
Examples of season-long NHL props normally revolve around individual trophies and awards. The most common examples are top goalscorer, top goaltender, most outstanding rookie, best defenseman, and the Hart Memorial Trophy, which is the regular season MVP.
However, most sportsbooks likely voided all season-long NHL props bets this year. These bets normally come with the stipulation that all games of the season need to be played for the bet to qualify.
In the case of voided bets, the bookmaker will simply refund the wager.
NHL Odds For The Stanley Cup FAQ
It is legal to bet on the Stanley Cup at licensed, brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in the following states:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
The following states also legalized online sports betting, although some states are in the process of finalizing the launch of online sportsbooks:
Learn more in our comprehensive Guide To Online Sports Betting In The US.
The legal gambling age in the United States ranges from 18 to 21. For online sportsbooks, the age is usually 21. This includes Stanley Cup bets.
However, in most states in the country, people 18 and older can play Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) online and win real money. The major outlets like FanDuel and DraftKings are sure to have Stanley Cup DFS.
You can bet on the Stanley Cup by visiting a physical sportsbook or by betting online if that’s an option in your state.
Some of the best legal online sportsbooks in the US include:
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- FOX Bet
- FanDuel Sportsbook
As long as you place a bet with a legal sports betting site, it’s safe to bet on the Stanley Cup online. By safe, we mean that they keep personal information private, finances secure, and pay you your winnings.
If you do not live in a state where online sports betting is legal, then all sites who accept your bets are illegal, offshore sites. Proceed at your own risk.
Yes. Most online sportsbooks offer Stanley Cup in-game bets (AKA live betting).
In-game bets are when you can place wagers on a game after it begins. This is a very popular practice, especially for an event as high-profile as the Stanley Cup.
The only reason an online sportsbook wouldn’t offer in-game bets for the Stanley Cup is if it’s against state law.
The Boston Bruins are the current favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2020. This is consistent across all major sportsbooks.
However, the St. Louis Blues are a close second. And in terms of NHL futures odds, the top five all offer fairly comparable win potential.
The uncertainty surrounding the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs means the outright favorite is particularly difficult to identify.
Yes. The 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs will begin on August 1st, and the latest the last game could be played is October 2nd.
This is because the COVID-19 pandemic forced the league to pause from March 12 through August 1st, a roughly four-and-a-half-month break.
The late Stanley Cup will also postpone the ‘20/’21 NHL season, but so far it looks like all 82 regular-season games will be played.