The calendar has turned to October once again, and you know what that means, right? Pumpkin spice being pumped into the water supply? Check. Endless repeats of Hocus Pocus on television? You got it.
But more important than that, it is the beginning of the NHL season. Yes, it seems like only yesterday that the Washington Capitals were hoisting the Stanley Cup in triumph. But the hockey offseason is brutally short, meaning that it’s time for players around the league time to lace up the skates once again in search of that elusive Cup.
For those of us whose slap shot isn’t what it used to be (or can’t even skate in a straight line without falling down), we can still take part in all the action. That’s because we can bet on the NHL hockey season, taking advantage of the exploits of our favorite teams and players. Maybe, along the way, we can build up a pretty good bankroll along the way.
Yet there is no way to accomplish this without first finding out which sites are the best to take your betting capital. This is no easy task, as websites which allow you the opportunity to bet on the NHL are plentiful. You can easily be led astray by all of the choices you have at your disposal.
For those looking to jump straight into the betting action on the NHL, here are the top sites we recommend:
Still, you have to make sure you do your research to find the ones that are the most reliable and beneficial to you. You can follow the guidelines that we’ve laid out for you, of course. And, if you want to make it really easy on yourself, you can pick one of the sites that we’ve recommended on this page, as they each meet the criteria that we’ve determined are the most important among NHL betting sites.
This is too important a decision to take lightly, as both a fan and a bettor. To make the most out of your upcoming season, take a good look at our suggestions. In the meantime, let’s get you caught up on what’s going on heading into the NHL season.
Where We Left Off
The 2017-18 NHL season was a typically wild scramble, with many playoff positions being decided in the final hours of the regular season. The St. Louis Blues and Florida Panthers knew ultimate heartbreak in that they both missed out on the postseason by a single point, with Colorado, Columbus and New Jersey just eking their way into the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the dominant teams put together some impressive records. The Nashville Predators were the top team with 117 points, while Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, and Boston all topped the 110-point marker on the regular season. An impressive 11 teams finished with winning percentages higher than .600.
In terms of individual performances, Taylor Hart put the Devils on his back for much of the season, earning Hart Trophy honors as the league’s most valuable player. The Islanders’ Matthew Barzal led a bright contingent of newcomers by capturing the Calder Trophy as the league’s top first-year player. Other standouts in terms of awards were Nashville’s Pekka Rinne, awarded the Venina Trophy as top goalie, while Tampa’s Victor Hedman captured the Norris Trophy as top defenseman.
As far as statistics were concerned, nobody could top Connor McDavid with his impressive total of 108 points on the year, as he finished in the top 6 in the league in both goals and assists. Washington’s Alex Ovechkin easily won the goal-scoring title with 49, five more than his nearest competitor, while Philly’s Claude Giroux and Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler shared assist honors. There are many stats to measure goalkeeping proficiency, but St. Louis’ Carter Hutton stood out for topping the league in both save percentage and goals against.
In the postseason, form held for the most part for the first two rounds. Yet the conference finals witnessed two lower-seeded teams coming up with upsets, as Washington took a seven-game marathon over Tampa Bay and Vegas continued their magical expansion season by overpowering Winnipeg in five games. In the Stanley Cup finals, the Golden Knights’ impressive run finally came to an end, as the more experienced Capitals rolled to a 4-1 series’ win, with star center Alex Ovechkin winning the Conn Smythe as the finals’ MVP.
Top Storylines’ Heading Into The 2018-19 NHL Season
A lot can change in the course of an offseason. Player movement is massive during the summer months in a typical NHL offseason, and this year was no different. Taking a look at those moves and considering the returning teams and players yield some interesting stories for the year aheed.
- The Capitals Defend Their Title: With how well they played in the playoffs, it’s easy to forget that the Caps were actually third in their conference and sixth in the league in points. Yet they were unstoppable when it counted behind Ovechkin and company. Their quest for a second straight Cup title will take place under the guidance of new coach Todd Reirden, as Barry Trotz left to coach the New York Islanders.
- Vegas Looks For An Encore: Nobody saw the Golden Knights coming last year, and they almost surprised all the way to a title. The expectations can be weighty, so they’ll have to find a new motivational tool to propel them past any malaise that might set in this time around. They appear to have strengthened the roster with the addition of Max Pacioretty, formerly captain of Montreal.
- Other Big Moves: You won’t find any offseason move in any sport that received as much as attention as John Tavares’ signing with Toronto did in the sport of hockey. His presence has implanted the Maple Leafs as the betting favorite in Vegas to upend the Capitals and win the Stanley Cup in the upcoming season. Watch also how Eric Carlsson, one of the league’s top defensemen, impacts the San Jose Sharks with his arrival.
Top NHL Bets
Before you consider what betting site to choose, you should get a handle on which bets are right for you. Whether you’re looking for a big one-time score or a steady drizzle of income, you can find bets that are right up your alley. Make sure any site that you choose offers you a wide variety of these wagers.
Since the season begins on Wednesday night with a slate of regular-season games, you are running out of time to make pre-season proposition bets on things like which team acquires the Stanley Cup, which players will win individual awards, and other propositions which might play out over the course of the season. The lure of these wagers is the fact that you can get excellent odds in most cases, as opposed to once the season gets well underway. You are taking a chance, however, since anything can happen during the course of the campaign. (For example, who would have seen Vegas doing as well as they did a year ago?)
Once the season begins, you will most likely be concentrating on betting on the NHL on a game-by-game basis. And the most popular way to do this for a novice is by utilizing the money line. The money line simply allows you the chance to decide who will win any game.
So how does the money line work? Everything is tied into a base number of 100. Imagine that you have a favorite listed as -$125. That means that you would have to wager $125 to win $100 if the favorite wins.
Now imagine that you want to bet an underdog listed at +125. That means that you could wager $100. Should the underdog come in, you would win $125.
Suppose you’re not sure which team is going to win a particular game, but have a pretty good idea about whether the game will be high-scoring or low-scoring. That’s where an over/under bet comes in handy. Oddsmakers set a number of goals to be scored for the game, and you then bet on whether the final total will end up being over or under that total.
Other Hockey Bets
Many betting sites also offer point-spread type bets similar to what you would see in football on hockey games. They might set their own spread or go with so-called “puck line” bets, in which the spread is set at 1.5 goals. You can also find bets related to regulation play, over/under for every game played on a single day, and many more exotic proposition wagers related to individual games.
How To Choose Your NHL Betting Sites
Now that you know what kind of wagers are available for you and what the NHL looks like heading into the new season, you can start to make choices about what kind of site will be right for you. As stated above, we have already done a lot of the hard work for you by listing sites that we feel will be good choices for betting on NHL action. Here are some of the things that we demand of such sites, which means that you should do the same.
Customer Service Excellence
This should be a no-brainer, but many customers are so excited about getting in their wagers that they neglect to check on this important characteristic. Yet imagine you have a problem with a specific bet you’ve made on NHL action. What do you do then?
You need to be sure that any site you visit can be easily contacted with any problems or concerns you might have. In addition, you should be assured that they will quickly respond and do everything they can to address whatever it is you have brought to your attention. The last thing you want is for your NHL betting to be ruined by a bad experience with customer service.
Bonuses and Perks
The start of the NHL season is a time when many sites will be looking to draw you in with the hopes that you will stick around and bet with them all season long. You should take advantage of that by doing a little comparison shopping. Which site can give you the best bang for your NHL gambling buck?
Look for sites that can offer you some percentage bonus on any opening deposit you might make. Sites should also offer you some program that rewards you the more that you bet with them. If you don’t have any incentives coming your way, it could be a sign that the site in question really doesn’t deserve your business.
Withdrawal and Deposit Procedures
This is an often-overlooked feature of online gambling by novices, yet its something that you really should have in mind when you pick your site. First of all, you should determine whether or not the site accepts deposits in the manner you prefer. For example, you might want to use a specific credit card, PayPal, or even cryptocurrency, so you should check their payments page to see what they allow.
Withdrawal processes from betting websites can often be long and arduous. What you should do is either read the regulations for withdrawals that a site has or contact their customer service department to see what they are. In this way, you can decide if you’re all right with what it takes to get money out of your account when you need it.
Ease of Use and Navigation
It is a good idea to do a kind of test run of any site you might use before actually committing to it. If the site allows you some free play before you have to deposit, you can then ascertain whether or not the site is easy to use. You can also check out whether you can get from page to page without any problems.
Reputation and Other Factors
A site’s reputation is something that should be on your mind when making your NHL betting site decision. Customer reviews are very important, especially if they come from people who also frequently bet on hockey. You can usually find them in betting forums and, of course, you can use our recommendations. Every site listed here has an excellent reputation with their customers.
You also might want to check to see that the site you choose allows you to bet from different sources, such as a tablet or smartphone, so you can make picks from anywhere. Finally, the site should provide proof that they can keep your personal information. After all, you probably don’t want your NHL betting activity to become a matter of public record.
We are all getting excited for the start of the NHL season. Many are just thrilled to back their favorite teams in their quest for the Stanley Cup. But many more of you are savoring the chance to bet on the action. Those of you who fall into the latter category should pay close attention to the guidelines and sites listed here before placing your hockey wagers.