View by Category
Our NHL futures page is designed to direct you to the best bets and odds available across all the major sportsbooks. If it's unclear as to what a futures bet is, don't worry. All futures means is you're betting on an outcome that won't pay off until a while in the future.
This guide serves to help you understand what futures are, how to read the odds and to clearly distinguish between the various types of futures wagers we have available for you on this hub by way of the best legal online sportsbooks in the US.
All odds are in relation to bets of $100. If it helps to think of it in slightly smaller terms in the event your sports betting bankroll isn't that high, you can also do the math with hypothetical $10 bets.
Let's walk through an example. After winning the 2020 Stanley Cup, the Tampa Bay Lightning had +950 odds to win back-to-back titles the following season. If you were to bet $100 on the Lightning and they won the Cup, you'd win $950; if you wagered $10, it'd be a $95 payout.
Apply this math to every odds board listing, and you'll have no problem figuring out what the potential payout will be on the team you want to wager on. What's more, at abe and any other sports betting site, you'll have the payout calculated for you.
As opposed to betting on basic lines such as a puck line, moneyline, or Over/Under or Total, NHL futures have much more of delayed gratification and require bettors to have a far longer-ranging view of the season. This is part of the beauty — and, perhaps, frustration — that comes with these types of bets in general.
It's frequently not as clear-cut as to who the contenders and pretenders are thanks to how star-laden and deep most rosters have to be in order to compete for a title. There are eight playoff teams per conference, and most series are quite evenly-matched. The real measure of a team's true identity starts to come to the surface a little deeper into the postseason generally speaking. Especially in the NHL, a great regular season guarantees nothing.
The odds to win are long because, well, the NHL season is a lengthy grind not for the faint of heart. Single games are far easier to predict than which team will win the championship — or even a division. When there are lines for single games, you have a series of bets. You even have the aid of a puck line to increase your margin for error. Futures don't require any sort of goal differential or even so-called style points. Scores don't matter. It's all about who gets it done, and who's left standing at the end of the Stanley Cup Finals.
All this poses a steep challenge for the bettor. That's undeniable. However, in the NHL, future forecasting can be a lucrative business for the keenest bettors. Continue reading as we break down the biggest types of NHL futures bets you'll see.
Bettors are most often going to wager on the team they think will win the Stanley Cup. You can place bets on any team to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup throughout most of the NHL season and beforehand. The only time you can't bet on an NHL futures line is when they're eliminated from championship contention. This means they're out of the playoff picture and won't qualify for the postseason, thus rendering it illogical to list them as a contender.
All this makes sense because when there are 31 teams in the NHL and all of them need to be assigned Stanley Cup odds, even the prohibitive favorites will have betting odds that are fairly high and therefore offer excellent value. As was reflected in Tampa Bay's Stanley Cup odds from the first subsection, even as No. 3 favorites, the Bolts had really long odds to win it all.
Nearly every sportsbook features futures bets on the Stanley Cup as a central pillar on their main NHL pages before the season tips off. NHL championship odds are posted prior to the start of the regular season, so the earlier you jump on just about any club, the longer your odds tend to be, and that increases your profit ceiling.
Unless a team makes a midseason rally after a slow start or wins the championship as a massive underdog, most futures betting odds will reward you for betting on a winner earlier rather than later.
Odds fluctuate at all the online sportsbooks throughout the season, and the opening lines are a great spot to land a bargain deal.
Injuries to key players can often tank a season for any sports franchise, and that certainly applies to the NHL, particularly if a club is missing a stud goaltender. Thus, bettors who take the plunge early must be mindful of that. Free agency looms larger than ever and must be taken into account, and the trade deadline alone can cause oddsmakers to drastically change NBA championship odds up in drastic fashion.
When the NHL resumed action following the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, the Lightning weren't exactly oddsmakers' darlings to win the Stanley Cup. They collapsed the prior postseason, getting swept by Columbus in the opening round despite posting the best record in the regular season.
Obviously, things changed once the playoffs hit, yet it's a prime example of how quickly odds can shift. The Lightning actually exacted vengeance on the Blue Jackets for the prior year, winning their rematch series 4-1 en route to an eventual championship.
It's almost as tough to pick a conference winner as it is to predict who will win the Stanley Cup title, but the task is at least slightly less daunting. One important fact that you must know before jumping into betting conference championships futures: there can be confusion as to whether this means the regular-season winner — aka the No. 1 playoff seed — or whether it's the eventual Stanley Cup Finals participant.
A futures wager of this variety is indeed for which team will win the Western Conference Finals or the Eastern Conference Finals. The regular-season Western Conference and Eastern Conference titles are completely separate from this, so if the team you go with ends up earning the top playoff seed, don't count on a payout right away. They still have to win three more postseason series to validate your winning bet slip.
Circling back to the Lightning for yet another case study: They were 21 points ahead of Boston in the final standings for the Eastern Conference lead, yet proceeded to lose four straight to Columbus in one of the biggest playoff collapses of all-time. That's part of what makes sports, and the NHL in particular, so exciting when teams must win four out of seven in the heightened playoff atmosphere.
When it comes to betting Eastern Conference odds and Western Conference odds, it's almost always an excellent idea to reassess where you want to bet once the postseason rolls around. Although the NHL often has a considerable gap between the best and the worst, there's plenty of parity when it comes to the playoffs.
The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012 after securing the eighth and final postseason berth in the Western Conference. That's an extreme example, yet it isn't uncommon to see teams stage similar types of Cinderella runs in the NHL. This past postseason, the sixth-seeded New York Islanders ran all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, upsetting a hot Philadelphia Flyers team along the way.
Unlike the last futures odds section, this particular type of bet doesn't pertain to the playoffs. You'll get paid out for a successful wager once the grueling 82-game slate finishes off. So, what to consider when making predictions for NHL division winners?
Organizational stability, coaching, and star power in some combination often determine who wins a division. Contrary to other major sports leagues in North America, though, the NHL has eight teams in each division, which innately makes it more difficult to forecast from season to season.
It often pays to wager on NHL futures favorites if you can get them at any sort of bargain. Usually, you can narrow down certain perpetual contenders or winners of the respective divisions, and favorites to win NHL divisions still have far better odds value than in other sports simply due to the sheer number of teams involved in the betting action.
Taking a flier on NHL futures bet just because the odds are good basically amounts to throwing money away. Watch out for any single one of the following elements as a red flag for a prospective bet: a team that's breaking in a new coach, an inexperienced or mediocre core of players, and a bad organizational culture.
Exhibit A of this phenomenon: Before 2019-20 began, in a loaded Eastern Conference Atlantic division, you wouldn't expect the Montreal Canadiens to make a run to a division title. Despite a deep, rich history of hockey excellence, the Habs hadn't made the playoffs in three of the prior four seasons and have largely struggled to assemble a talented roster around franchise goalie Carey Price.
Due to their roster construction, lack of recent winning culture, and only Price to hang their hats on as a surefire superstar — not to mention the presence of the Bruins, Lightning, and high-scoring Maple Leafs in the division — you can see why a bet on Montreal to win the Atlantic would be a stretch in the first place. Just because sportsbooks list a team's futures doesn't mean you should bet on them.
Whichever type of NHL futures odds you place wagers on, whether it's what we have available here or player futures like, say, Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl to win the Hart Trophy as league MVP, the tactic of hedging is always recommended. If you're to heed any tips on NHL betting strategies, this would probably be the top priority, as it mitigates some of the innate risks.
Hedging a bet means you're betting on a different outcome to guard against the potential that your initial bet doesn't hit. The benefits of this are harder to see when it comes to betting on a single game and is virtually nonexistent on binary Yes/No prop bets. This wouldn't work for team win totals, for instance. When it comes to the pure team or player futures, though, it's a no-brainer to hedge.
In our deeper, overall dive on futures betting, we discuss how you can view futures as building a daily fantasy lineup. That is, you'll probably want to pick a couple of heavier favorites, but the long shot a team is, the higher the potential payout is.
You can find tons of value on the futures market for Stanley Cup odds by unearthing dark-horse contenders. Take a favorite or even two or three of them, and hedge accordingly with long-shot teams you feel good about.
When it comes to odds to win the Stanley Cup or Eastern and Western Conference futures, that's where you'll have the best luck with hedging. But again, even in the case of division winners, the NHL uniquely rewards bettors for these odds with much better listings thanks to there only being four total divisions to house all 31 teams.
For more guidance, tutorials, and betting tips about pro hockey and much more, visit abe's "How to Bet" page, where we provide plenty of tools for beginning bettors and even experienced players who want to sharpen their skills. Do make use of our odds comparison engine on our main odds page as well, so that you don't miss out on maximizing your payouts on every bet.