Hockey Betting Rules at Online Sportsbooks

Before diving in with NHL betting odds, you have to understand the rules. This goes beyond just figuring out how the odds work and knowing what to look for before you make your picks and place bets.

Legal online sportsbooks will have their own rules that cover the placement and settlement of bets, as well as circumstances that can impact your wagers. Read on as we cover the NHL house rules that you need to know.

When do you have action for NHL bets?

When you have action on an NHL game, that means you have placed a bet and have a stake in the outcome. Bets that you place in advance of game time will move over to the pending wagers section of your account.

Once the puck drops and the game goes live, your bets are officially action. If the game doesn’t go on as scheduled, the sportsbook will consider bets to be no action and refund all wagers. In order to have action, you need the game to go off without a hitch.

What happens if there’s a schedule change?

While the majority of NHL games will happen as scheduled, the occasional quirk can pop up. Weather delays could impact travel for a visiting team, or there could be some problems at an arena, for example.

When a game moves to a later date in the season — or to a new location a few days down the road — the sportsbook will void the original game listing. If you’ve placed a bet before that happened, the sportsbook will refund your bet in full.

How do sportsbooks handle cancellations and shortened games?

In the event of a cancellation, legal online Canadian sportsbooks will remove the NHL game odds for that game from the board. Any bets people have already placed will also receive full refunds.

It gets a little trickier when it comes to delayed or shortened games. For slight delays with the game resuming the same day, there won’t be an issue. Your bets will still be action and will play out as normal.

For games that end early, there must be five minutes or less of game time remaining for the bet to be action. The exception is for wagers that won’t change with additional time, such as first- or second-period bets.

If an NHL game halts with the expectation that it will resume soon, sportsbook rules generally call for it to end within 48 hours of the original start time. Bets will be action if that happens but no action if it doesn’t.

What happens with an NHL season cancellation?

If the NHL were to cancel an entire season, sportsbooks would have some work to do. For starters, any bets on upcoming games will be null and void and receive refunds.

Next, the same thing will happen with any futures bets. Sportsbooks will void them, and you can expect a refund for any such bets you’ve placed. If the season gets shortened from its original length, such as down to 60 games from 82, it becomes a little cloudier.

Bets on team win or point totals and season-long player props will be void as sportsbooks would have based their lines on a full season. Meanwhile, futures bets on the Stanley Cup, conference, and division winners can still go off as there will be a conclusion to the season.

NHL house rules by bet type

All individual NHL bets also have some things for you to keep in mind. Specific instances will appear in the rules section at online sportsbooks. Let’s take a look at some of the main points to know when betting on the NHL online or at a live sportsbook.

Puck lines

This is the hockey version of a point spread bet with a standard spread of 1.5 goals.

  • Bet settlement depends on the official final score of the game.
  • Games must be complete for the bet to be final, or have no more than five minutes of playing time remaining for contests with a clear winner.


Bet on which team will win the game.

  • Delayed games must be underway within 48 hours of the initial start time to have action.
  • Sportsbooks will void and refund moneyline bets in the event of cancellation or a lengthier postponement.


Wager on the total number of goals in the contest.

  • Official game data and statistics will dictate the settlement of all bets.
  • Totals that land exactly on the sportsbook’s line will result in a push.

Live betting

Continue betting on the game after it starts.

  • For period betting, the period must play out in full.
  • On multiple-choice wagers in which a non-listed outcome is the result, the bet will be a push.


Combine multiple bets on a single slip, either from multiple games or a single contest.

  • For multi-game props, if the sportsbook ends up voiding one or more legs, it will remove those legs and adjust the odds on what remains.
  • Same-game parlay bets will have limitations on what you can combine.

Game props

Bet on side events within a game or smaller portions of that game.

  • Period bets are solely for that timeframe of the game.
  • For odd/even bets, zero counts as an even number.

Player props

Place your bets on the accomplishments of individual players.

  • Sportsbooks will void bets on players whom a team has ruled out prior to the start of the game.
  • Overtime counts for bet settlement, but shootout stats do not.

There’s a lot of uniformity among top sportsbooks such as DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM when it comes to hockey betting rules. However, that doesn’t mean that each book will be exactly the same. Take the time to review the house rules wherever you play for complete clarity.

Do overtime and shootouts count for NHL bets?

Overtime periods are fairly common in the NHL, while the shootout serves as the deciding factor if the game remains tied after overtime. Unless the bet terms state otherwise, both will count in the results. Exceptions can include the following:

  • If the bet rules specify 60 minutes or regulation only.
  • Wagers on any individual period.
  • A third-period wager may be for that period only or for that period plus any extra time.

When you visit an online sportsbook and see the main betting lines, the odds are for the game in its entirety, including OT.

Settlement of NHL bets

After NHL games end, you can expect sportsbooks to settle your open wagers quickly. If you win, profits will hit your account right afterward. Official game results and statistics will decide all wagers.

In the event of a tie, such as an over/under bet of six goals in a game that winds up with a final score of 4-2, the bet is a push. There’s no winner or loser, so you will receive a refund for the amount of your wager.

The final result is what it is, whether you agree with it or not. Sportsbooks will not entertain disputes on things that you feel impacted how the game played out, such as a missed penalty call or disputed calls on pucks crossing the goal line.

Settlement tends to happen quickly at legal sportsbooks, but it won’t always be instantaneous. If your winning bets haven’t settled after a substantial amount of time has passed, you can always reach out to customer support for an update.

Do sportsbooks allow correlated plays for NHL betting?

The theory behind correlated plays is that if one thing happens, the next is likely to happen as well. Sportsbooks aren’t fans of these types of plays, such as betting on a team winning the third period and the game outright. You won’t be able to make correlated picks as a result.

That said, same-game parlays are now commonplace across the industry. Bettors can tie together multiple bets from the same contests, but limits do apply. If you try to create a parlay that the sportsbook doesn’t allow, you’ll see a notification on the bet slip.

From there, you’ll have to tweak the wager until you land on an acceptable mix. Sportsbooks are well aware of high correlation, probabilities and related strategies for NHL betting, and they have their guard up to prevent such occurrences.

Minimum and maximum NHL bets

You can place your NHL bets for as low as $0.10 at some sportsbooks, while others may require a minimum of $0.50. On the opposite end of the spectrum, each book has its own rules for the maximum it allows. For a general rule, sportsbooks will post limits on payouts for individual sports bets:

  • BetMGM: $1 million
  • Caesars: $2 million
  • DraftKings: $1 million
  • FanDuel: $1 million

Books won’t accept any bets that would generate a payout over the maximum amount. Outside of those who are playing at incredibly high stakes, the average bettor shouldn’t have too much to worry about. Additionally, each type of bet may have its own limits.

Sportsbook promotion rules and conditions

Legal online sportsbooks will have bonus offers that new players can claim. See here for some top sportsbook bonuses and promotions, how they work and what you need to know about the terms and conditions.

Can sportsbooks refuse wagers?

Sportsbooks have the right to refuse wagers, and you’ll find language along those lines if you take the time to read through the full terms and conditions. However, they’ll need to have a reason for doing so, as their ultimate goal is to accept as much action as possible. Here are some of the situations that could lead to a sportsbook refusing your NHL bet:

  • You’re trying to bet over the approved limit for a specific wager.
  • The payout on your bet would exceed the sportsbook’s maximum.
  • The bet is no longer available.
  • You’re banned from playing at that sportsbook.

A sportsbook could also refuse a bet for an egregious mistake in the odds or line, such as massively inflated odds on a simple moneyline wager. For the majority of bettors who run into a refused bet, it’s generally for a simple reason. You can always place an inquiry with customer support for additional clarity.

What happens if a sportsbook messes up?

Sportsbooks can slip up at times. The odds can be off the mark in one direction or the other, for example. For a big mistake such as this, remember that the book has the right to void bets and remove them from the board.

When it’s a minor error, it’s possible to see a goodwill gesture from the book to honour all bets regardless. However, don’t expect it to place itself on the hook for massive payouts due to an obvious error.

In today’s always-connected world, big mistakes will rarely escape notice. You can expect a correction as soon as the sportsbook notices the issue. If you happen to place a “sure thing” hockey bet at ridiculous odds, don’t get your hopes up that it will stand.

How to handle a dispute with an online sportsbook

If you run into trouble with an online sportsbook when betting on the NHL or any other sport, the first step is to hit up customer service. If it’s something simple, you should be able to get help fairly quickly.

But what happens is it’s a major problem and you’re just not getting any assistance? In extreme cases such as this, you can contact the gambling authorities in your province, a link to which should be available on legal sportsbook websites.

Regulatory bodies for sports betting are there to help protect consumers with legitimate issues, such as a book refusing to pay out a clear win or something along those lines. Of course, this only applies to legal and regulated sportsbooks, so do yourself a favour and stay away from risky offshore books that don’t have to follow the same rules.

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