Beginner’s Guide To Betting On The Stanley Cup Playoffs

Written By Jose Colorado on June 20, 2022
How to bet on the Stanley Cup. The Stanley Cup on display in Washington

The Colorado Avalanche is only two wins away from claiming its third Stanley Cup victory.

Following a convincing 7-0 beatdown in Game 2, the Avalanche is up 2-0 in its best-of-seven series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The series shifts back to Tampa tonight, where the club should feel revitalized.

If you’re new to the Canada sports betting market, there are still plenty of opportunities to try betting on the NHL final. We, at PlayCanada, look at some NHL bets that hockey fans may find interesting.

What is the most common NHL bet?

Of the four major sports, the NHL is the least popular sport by betting handle in North America. But for those who bet on NHL, moneyline betting is the most common.

What is moneyline betting? Betting the moneyline means wagering on the outright winner of a single game. A positive (+) sign indicates the underdog, while a negative (-) is the favourite. Typically, there is a favourite for each game.

Remarkably, for this year’s Stanley Cup, most of the major legal sportsbooks in Canada have Game 3 wholly squared. There is no favourite or underdog except for BetRivers.

Game 3 Stanley Cup odds tonight

Colorado Tampa Bay
BetRivers Canada1.92 (European)
-108 (American)
1.93 (European)
-107 (American)
BetMGM Canada1.91
-109
1.91
-109
Caesars Canada1.9
-110
1.9
-110
Bet365 Canada1.9
-110
1.9
-110
DraftKings Canada1.9
-110
1.9
-110

Puck lines aka betting the spread

In hockey, the puck line is usually 1.5 goals, but that can change based on various factors. But for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup – it is set at such.

What is puck line betting? Puck lines – or goal lines – are another popular NHL bet when gambling on a single game. Essentially you are “betting on the spread.” Odds are given based on a team winning or losing by a certain number of goals.

Game 3 puck lines odds

Colorado AvalancheTampa Bay Lightning
BetMGM +1.5 (1.36 European)
-277 (American)
-1.5 (3.20 European)
+220 (American)
BetRivers -1.5 (3.25)
+225
+1.5 (1.35)
-278
Bet365 +1.5 (1.38)
-260
-1.5 (3.15)
+215
Caesars +1.5 (1.37)
-270
-1.5 (3.20)
+220
DraftKings +1.5 (1.37)
-265
-1.5 (3.25)
+225

Avalanche futures odds to win the Cup

While single-game betting is tight currently, a clear favourite does emerge in the futures bet category.

What is a futures bet? Futures refers to any bet placed that will occur in the long(er)-term future, like the eventual result of the two-week Stanley Cup battle. 

When taking a step back and looking at the entire series, Colorado is the clear favourite. Perhaps that’s to be expected; they’re up 2-0 and fresh off a 7-0 victory.

Tampa Bay is also coming off back-to-back championships, and they’ve looked more tired than experienced in the finals thus far. History isn’t on their side either. No team in the NHL has won three consecutive championships since 1982.

Hockey’s physicality and nature of play are unlike other major sports (except football). Players wear down after repeated playoff runs, preventing successive championships in the sport typically. Tampa — thus far — is succumbing to that reality.

Stanley Cup outright winner odds

Colorado AvalancheTampa Bay Lightening
BetMGM1.16 (European)
-625 (American)
5.50 (European)
+450 (American)
BetRivers1.15
-670 
6.0
+500
Bet3651.16
-600
5.5
+450
Caesars1.16
-600
5.5
+450
DraftKings1.16
-600
5.5
+450

Conn Smythe Trophy odds

A popular futures bet is the Conn Smythe Trophy. Typically, in the other major sports leagues, the league only recognizes an individual player in the postseason for their finals performance.

Consider the other major four sports leagues’ awards:

  • NFL: Super Bowl MVP
  • NBA: Bill Russell Finals MVP award
  • MLB: World Series MVP
  • MLS: MLS Cup MVP

Hockey does it differently.

The league awards its postseason MVP award for a player’s performance throughout the entirety of the playoffs – not just the finals. The difference is considerable, and punters must account for it accordingly.

For instance, should the NBA adopt such a policy, there is no chance Andre Iguodala would have won his lone Finals MVP over Stephen Curry in 2015. But because Iguodala hit his stride at the right moment, he could snatch the award from Curry. Despite Curry clearly being the Warriors’ catalyst throughout the postseason.

Conn Smythe award prone to surprises

The Conn Smythe trophy has only been given to a player outside the Stanley Cup champion five times in its 56-year history. It’s only ever happened once in the other leagues:

  • NFL: Chuck Howley, 1971
  • NBA: Jerry West, 1969
  • MLB: Bobby Richardson, 1960

Conn Smythe Trophy winners by position

PositionNumber of times won
Centre19
Goaltender17
Defensemen11
Winger9

Beyond that, there is minimal bias around position when looking historically at the award. And that makes for an unpredictable and lively betting atmosphere for lucky punters to cash in. Contrast that to the NFL, where 31/56 (55%) of Super Bowl MVPs all-time have been quarterbacks.

Cale Makar trophy odds

Colorado’s Cale Makar is the favourite to win this year’s honour. He would be the 12th defenseman to win.

Here are the Makar Norris Trophy odds at other Canada sports betting apps:

  • BetMGM: 1.57 European odds, -175 American odds
  • BetRivers: 1.51, -195
  • Bet365: 1.5, -200
  • Caesars: 1.5, -200
  • DraftKings: 1.5, -200

Best NHL app: BetMGM

Whatever type of hockey bet you’re seeking, BetMGM in Canada is the optimal choice.

Simply put: the sportsbook has more skin in the game. In 2018, the operator became the official sports betting partner of the NHL. The move was transformative for the app. BetMGM gained access to the league’s official data, which means more in-play betting options.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Jose Colorado

Jose Colorado is a British Columbia-based writer. He lives in Burnaby and loves sports, anime, writing, business and the occasional walk on the beach.

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