NHL Odds: How To Bet On Hockey During The 2021 Off-Season
Betting on Hockey
© 2021 iStockphoto

With a 2021 NHL season that began in January and ran into July now behind us, oddsmakers are already looking towards next season’s odds and prices. Usually, the first numbers on the board are Stanley Cup Odds to WIn and this year is no different, with the Colorado Avalanche the odds on favorite to win their first Stanley Cup since the 2001 season according to bookmakers.

These odds are based on NHL futures bets, which are no different than NFL bets to win the Super Bowl during the off-season. Bookmakers and odds experts evaluate the talent, schedules, and other intangibles and come up with odds to win the championship.

Stanley Cup Final Odds

Perhaps the easiest of futures bets are the Odds to Win the Stanley Cup. Often posted within minutes of the conclusion of the Stanley Cup FInals, the Odds to Win the Stanley Cup is a classic future bet on which team will win next season’s Stanley Cup.

As mentioned above, Colorado is currently the favorite at +550. Just behind the Avalanche are the Vegas Golden Knights. Despite entering just their 4th NHL season, Las Vegas is a +600 to win its first Stanley Cup trophy. Rounding out the top three teams are the defending champion and back-to-back winners Tampa Bay Lightning. At +700 they lead all Eastern Conference contenders as they look for the first three-peat since the Islanders won 4-straight Stanley Cups in the early ’80s.

Division and Conference Bets

Much like Odds to Win the Stanley Cup, Division and Conference futures odds are set by bookmakers. The NHL is planning for a 2021-22 season with a full 82-game schedule and fully vaccinated players returning to pre-COVID-19 conditions. This will be the first time in two years that teams will play to a full regular schedule and it will make for a more traditional wagering off-season.

The league plans to release the 2021-22 schedule before the NHL Draft on July 23. Division and Conference odds are usually released shortly after the schedules are set. One caveat this year is the 2022 Bejing Olympics. In the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, the NHL did not participate, breaking a string competing in five consecutive Olympic games from 1998-2014.

Team Points Totals

Another interesting futures wager that is popular is the over/under season points total bet. Bookmakers set team points totals for each team and the wager is over or under, and pays according to moneyline odds.

Last year in a shortened 56 game season,  the Lightning led all teams in season point totals at 75.5, finishing just under with 75 points. Behind them were the Avalanche (74.5), Golden Knights (73.5), and the Boston Bruins (71.5), three teams that finished the 2021 season with more points than oddsmakers predicted. Much like the division and conference futures, points total odds won’t be set until after the official league schedules are released.

Other Futures and Props

Other future bets and props will also start appearing on betting boards including goals leader, scoring leader, and Hart, Vezina, and Norris Trophy winners. These bets are often set in the weeks and days before the start of the regular season.