How to Bet on the NHL Playoffs


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NHL Playoffs Betting Guide: Strategies, Tips, and Odds.

The 2023 NHL Playoffs are right around the corner! The best time of the year for hockey fans all over the world is finally upon us. After arguably the most dominant regular season in NHL history, the Boston Bruins are well aware that it’s championship or bust in this year’s postseason. 

Meanwhile, the reigning champion Colorado Avalanche put together an exceptional regular season performance and will look to become the third team since 2016 to win back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals. However, the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and many other worthy competitors aren’t likely to go down without a fight. 

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about the 2023 NHL Playoffs in order to make strategic, well-informed bets when it comes to picking series winners, conference champions, and who will be the last team standing in June.

Introduction to NHL Playoffs Betting

There are a wide variety of ways for hockey fans to bet on the 2023 NHL Playoffs. You can place a wager on the length of a series, the number of goals scored in a game, the leading goal scorer in a series, who will face off in the Stanley Cup Finals, and much more. Futures bets, in particular, are especially popular during the postseason.

Although the NHL playoffs are a very exciting time of the year and can present an incredible opportunity to bettors, it can be quite beneficial to take a tactical and pragmatic approach when placing bets. You will want to make calculated wagers that are based on facts, statistics, past experience, or historical outcomes. There are a few interesting trends and surprising pieces of information that you should be aware of as we approach the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

First, upsets are fairly common in the NHL postseason, especially compared to other professional sports leagues in the United States. The winner of the Presidents’ Trophy has not reached the Stanley Cup Finals since 2013, and the previous seven winners have failed to make it past the second round. In addition, division winners have won just 64% of their first-round matchups against wild card teams since 2014.

Second, scoring tends to decrease in the playoffs each year. Since 2008, the number of goals scored per game has decreased by 4-5% on average from the regular season to the postseason. This change could be the result of greater intensity, fewer penalties, or better goaltending in the postseason. No matter the reason, this is certainly something that bettors will want to take into consideration when betting on the NHL playoffs this year.

Overview of the NHL Playoffs Format and Schedule

Although special formats were adopted for the 2020 and 2021 postseasons as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2023 NHL Playoffs will follow the traditional scheme that has been used every other year since 2014.

Eight teams from each conference will make the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The top three teams from each conference’s two divisions are guaranteed a spot in the postseason, while the final playoff berths (i.e., the wild card spots) will go to the two remaining teams with the highest point totals, regardless of their division. Therefore, it is possible and even relatively common for one division to have five playoff teams and the other to have only three.

The NHL playoffs consist of four rounds of best-of-seven series. The First Round begins on Monday, April 17 and includes matchups between the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in each division as well as matchups between each division’s No. 1 seed and one of the conference’s two wild card teams. The top-ranked team in each conference will face off against the lower-ranked wild card team, and the other division winner will face the higher-ranked wild card team.

Unlike the NFL, there is no reseeding in the NHL playoffs. In the Second Round, the two series winners from each division will compete against one another, and the winner of those two series will meet in the conference finals. The winners of the Eastern and Western Conference finals will then square off in the Stanley Cup Finals beginning on Thursday, June 8.

Betting on NHL Playoff Teams and Players

Since there are so many high-quality players and teams in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it can be difficult to predict who will outperform the others. After setting the NHL record for most wins and points in a single season, the Boston Bruins have everyone’s attention. They have the best defense in the league, ranking first in goals allowed, first in save percentage, and third in shutouts. The Bruins are led by Vezina Trophy frontrunner Linus Ullmark and will look to claim their first title since 2011.

Meanwhile, the Vegas Golden Knights are the Western Conference’s top team. Recent injury concerns have overshadowed their impressive regular-season showing, and there is still uncertainty regarding the status of team captain Mark Stone who underwent back surgery in late January. Nevertheless, after missing the playoffs last season, the Golden Knights are hoping to finish off their comeback season with a deep run in the 2023 NHL postseason.

You may also want to keep an eye on the Edmonton Oilers, who enter postseason play as one of the hottest teams in the league. Connor McDavid, the odds-on favorite to win the Hart Memorial Trophy, and the Oilers have a chance to become the first Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup since 1993. In addition, despite their recent struggles, Nikita Kucherov and the Tampa Bay Lightning have a chance to make their fourth consecutive appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Overall, it is quite clear that there will be no shortage of talent and interesting storylines in the NHL playoffs this year. It can be difficult to keep up with all the latest news, injury updates, and daily performances by players and teams across the league. However, hockey bettors have access to a wide range of bet types that allows them to place wagers that best fit their interests and expertise while also offering the best chance for success.


NHL Playoffs Betting Strategies and Tips

A few helpful tips to keep in mind when betting on the 2023 NHL Playoffs are listed below.

  • Stay Informed: Doing your best to stay informed (when it comes to player injuries, team news, or any other important factors that can affect betting odds) can always be beneficial. Whether it’s knowing when a team’s star player is unavailable or considering the regular-season head-to-head results between two teams, you are sure to be better off if you have all the relevant facts and information at your disposal.

  • Consider Statistics and Historical Trends: It can also be helpful to consider statistics and historical trends that may serve as an indicator of the most likely outcome for a game or series. For instance, the Presidents’ Trophy winner has not made it beyond the second round of the playoffs since 2015. As a result, you may think twice before deciding the Boston Bruins are a lock to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals.

  • Take Advantage of Overreactions: It is always a good idea to look for market overreactions after a good or bad performance by any given team or after a player is announced to be out for a game. The odds may shift drastically in one direction and allow you to find value on the other side.

  • Shop Around To Find the Best Odds: Lastly, it may be a good idea to sign up for accounts with multiple sportsbooks. Therefore, you will be able to shop around for the best odds before placing your wager. For example, at the time this article was written, the Edmonton Oilers had +1000 odds to win the 2023 Stanley Cup on FanDuel Sportsbook but just +800 odds on DraftKings Sportsbook. As a result, if the Oilers win the title, a $100 wager would earn you an extra $200 in profit if you bet on FanDuel ($1,000 in winnings) instead of DraftKings ($800 in winnings).

NHL Playoffs Odds and Predictions

Shown below is a complete list of the 2023 NHL Playoff teams and their odds to win the Stanley Cup Finals.


Odds To Win 2023 Stanley Cup Finals

Boston Bruins


Colorado Avalanche


Toronto Maple Leafs


Edmonton Oilers


New Jersey Devils


New York Rangers


Vegas Golden Knights


Carolina Hurricanes


Dallas Stars


Tampa Bay Lightning


Minnesota Wild


Florida Panthers


Los Angeles Kings


Winnipeg Jets


Seattle Kraken


New York Islanders


*Note: These odds were provided by FanDuel Sportsbook and last updated on April 13.

Top Choice: Colorado Avalanche (+700)

The Colorado Avalanche are the top pick to win the 2023 Stanley Cup. After some mid-season struggles that were largely due to injuries, they are now healthy and have found their rhythm, as they are 14-2-1 since March 11. The Avalanche have arguably the most talented roster in the league with three MVP-caliber players in Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen.

In addition, repeat champions in the NHL are more common than you would think. The Pittsburgh Penguins won back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017, and the Tampa Bay Lightning won consecutive league championships in 2020 and 2021. Overall, the Avalanche may not be the same team they were last year, but they still have the talent, experience, and grit needed to bring another title home to the city of Denver.

Value Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning (+1700)

The Tampa Bay Lightning have clinched a spot in the playoffs for a sixth-consecutive year and now have the opportunity to make their fourth-straight appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Lightning have one of the league’s best goaltenders in Andrei Vasilevskiy, and they have plenty of offensive weapons on the roster, including Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Brayden Point.

It will not be easy for the Lightning, as they will likely need to knock off the Maple Leafs and Bruins just to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. However, they have a track record of exceeding expectations and getting it done in the postseason. Therefore, there may be some value on betting Tampa Bay to win the 2023 Stanley Cup.

Frequently asked questions about NHL playoffs betting

  1. What are the NHL playoffs? 

The NHL playoffs, also known as the Stanley Cup playoffs, are an annual postseason tournament in the National Hockey League. A total of 16 teams, eight from the Eastern Conference and eight from the Western Conference, qualify for the NHL playoffs based on their regular season points totals. The qualifying teams from all over the United States and Canada compete in four rounds of best-of-seven series, and the last team standing takes home the Stanley Cup.

  1. How can I make informed NHL playoff betting decisions? 

The best way to make informed NHL playoff betting decisions is to stay up with all the latest news involving players, coaches, and teams in the league. In addition, it may be helpful to be aware of statistical trends and historical outcomes. In order to accomplish this, it may be helpful to sign up for our platform’s newsletter, which provides all the latest sports betting news and also includes bet picks, sportsbook promotions, and much more!

  1. How do I bet on the NHL playoffs?

The easiest way to bet on the 2023 NHL Playoffs is by using an online sportsbook that is available in your state or location. DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars, BetRivers, and PointsBet are some of the most popular betting platforms that are widely available across the United States. If you do not already have an account, you can easily sign up for one today on your preferred sportsbook’s website or mobile app and start placing bets on this year’s NHL playoffs.

  1. What are some NHL playoff betting strategies?

Every sports bettor has a different strategy that works best for them. We all have different areas of expertise and experience that we rely on when placing wagers. Therefore, a strategy that works for someone else may not be what’s best for you. That said, some helpful tips and general rules to follow when betting on the NHL playoffs are listed below.

  • Look for Value on Road Teams - Home ice is often given too much significance.

  • Ride Momentum - Recent performance is often more important than a team’s overall body of work.

  • Only Use Relevant Statistics - Know the difference between useful statistics and random facts.

  1. How do NHL playoff odds work?

The odds set by a sportsbook reflect the likelihood of an event occurring. Many important factors can affect the odds for any given bet on the NHL playoffs, including regular-season success, recent performance, injuries, and home-ice advantage. When looking at the odds set by a sportsbook, they are usually provided as a number with a “+” or “-” symbol in front of it.

The “+” symbol represents the less likely outcome, while the “-” symbol represents what is more likely to happen. The number following a “+” sign is the amount you will win for a $100 wager. For example, a bet with +300 odds would pay out $300 for every $100 wagered. On the other hand, the number behind a “-” sign is the amount you will need to bet to win $100. If you placed a bet at -500 odds, you would need to bet $500 to win $100.

NHL Playoffs Free Picks & Predictions

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