When betting on the NHL, knowing the odds is crucial.  The NHL odds should be a major variable in determining which team to bet on in any given game because the odds determine your return on investment.  In general, the bigger the favourite a team is the less you will win by betting the moneyline on that team and vice versa.  The bigger the underdog, the more you will win if that team pulls off the upset.

This page will look at the different types of odds you will encounter while betting on the NHL and explain how to read them with some examples.

Check out the NHL futures betting page for Stanley Cup betting odds and more.

First, let’s look at the two types of odds that you will come across at most only sportsbooks.

Decimal Odds

This is the odds format we primarily use for our picks here at NHL Betting Tips.  I find it’s the easiest odds format to understand because it involves only a simple multiplication to find your payout.  You simply multiply your wager amount by the decimal odds of your selection to find your potential payout.  Now, you have to remember that your payout includes your original wager, so it’s different than “winnings” in that way.

Here’s a quick example.  Say the Ottawa Senators have odds of 1.80 to beat the Leafs.  A $10 bet on the Sens would payout $18 (10 x 1.80), which means your winnings would be $8.

American Odds

American is the other popular odds format used by online sportsbooks and you may find some examples around the site in this format, so it’s important to understand.

In this format the odds are stated as either a positive or a negative number of 100 or higher.  If the odds are shown as a negative this means the team is the favourite and that you must bet this amount to win $100.  If the odds are shown as a positive this means the team is the underdog and the number shown is how much you would win if you placed a $100 wager.  Here is an example:

Buffalo Sabres +120
Vancouver Canucks -140

As you can see, the Canucks are slight favourites to win this game.  If you bet $140 on the Vancouver Canucks you would win $100 or a total of $240 if they won the game.  On the other hand if you bet $100 on the Buffalo Sabres you would win $120 or a total of $220 if they won the game.


Now that you understand how to read the two popular odds formats, you’re ready to begin placing NHL bettors. Which team to bet on? That is entirely up to you, but for some helpful tips and free picks check out our NHL betting predictions. We will provide free picks for many games throughout the season that we feel provide great value for our visitors!