Betting Early Season NHL Games

In the midst of the college football and NFL regular season and the MLB playoffs, bettors also have a chance to wager on the NHL with its new regular season starting up early in October. The top online sportsbooks have you covered with a full set of betting odds for all the games.

The most popular way to bet on NHL games is on the money line. In a straight-up clash, you have to risk more money to bet on the favorite while earning a bigger return on your bet for going with the underdog. 

Betting the NHL total line is another popular way to bet on hockey games. Total lines usually range from five goals on the lowest end to 6.5 goals on the high end. Some sportsbooks will offer reduced juice options to bet one way or the other. 


Check out the odds to win the NHL Stanley Cups


An example of the difference between a standard total line at 10 percent commission and an adjusted total line is listed below.

Montreal Canadiens   Over 5.5 (-110)
Toronto Maple Leafs  Under 5.5 (-110)

Montreal Canadiens  Over 6.0 (+110)
Toronto Maple Leafs  Under 6.0 (-125)

In this scenario, Book A is offering this game at 5.5 goals with a standard 10 percent commission for the OVER and the UNDER play. Book B moved the total line to six goals, but you would have to bet $125 to win $100 taking the UNDER. You would collect $110 on a $100 winning bet on the OVER.


Find NHL betting previews and predictions


The beginning of any new NHL season offers more questions than answers when it comes to handicapping the games. Given the offseason turnover in personnel, changes in the coaching staff and lingering injuries, there will be an impact on a team’s early play. Rust is sometimes the biggest factor from a star goalie giving up a few soft goals to a top scoring line struggling to return to form.

When it comes to some general betting advice, you should pick and choose your spots betting early NHL games. All 31 teams are looking to get off to a fast start but some will stumble out of the gate. 

The Oddsmakers are also going to make mistakes with soft betting lines for a few of the games. Slight favorites at home can be a good bet with home ice being more of a difference early in the schedule. The UNDER on high total lines could be another good play. In general, the defense may have a slight edge over offense through the first few weeks until the top scorers find their form.

Betting division matchups is another early tip. There is more history between the teams to shed some extra light on predicting future results. Betting against teams playing back-to-back road games or multiple games in a short period of time is another early tip. Rust and fatigue could be a factor early on.


Take a look at all the NHL current scores and odds


Another betting tip would be to study the betting lines across a number of different books. By noting the difference in the money lines, total lines and puck lines you should be able to find a few opportunities to enhance your return.

Once every NHL team gets a few games under their belts, their true form will begin to emerge. The top contenders will start to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. This is when handicapping the games leans more heavily towards evaluating the matchup at hand based on the early results.