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Now that sports betting is legal in Maryland, hockey fans in-state can bet on the Stanley Cup Playoffs every step of the way.
The NHL postseason is a unique experience for fans and the betting public. It’s known for exhilarating games in every series that feature physicality, intensity, and plenty of sudden-death overtimes.
The playoff is a treat for the viewer and naturally, NHL bettors gravitate toward this kind of action. Luckily for the betting public, online sportsbooks in Maryland offer a huge range of NHL betting odds from the opening rounds through the Stanley Cup Final. We’re here to help with all that you need to know about betting on the NHL postseason.
Stanley Cup Playoff odds
See below for the latest Stanley Cup odds direct from Maryland online sportsbooks.
How to read NHL playoff lines
During the NHL postseason, bettors are blessed with a huge variety of betting markets to choose from for every game in every series. Many of the same options are available throughout the regular season but the abbreviated schedule during the postseason gives extra value to the additional choices.
The most popular markets for NHL bettors are the moneyline, puck line, and the total. So as the time comes to go into detail about each one including how to read the odds and calculate the potential risk and reward, this is where we start.
NHL Playoff moneylines
A moneyline wager is simply a bet on which side will win the game, regardless of the score. Favorites have a negative moneyline, while underdogs have a positive line, and figuring out how much you risk and reward with these bets can easily be done if you use the number 100 as a base.
When betting favorites, the moneyline represents the amount you need to risk for every $100 in profit. In our example, the Capitals are the favorite at -125, meaning it will take a $125 risk to win $100.
For underdogs, the moneyline is the amount bettors can win on a bet of $100. The Bruins are the underdog at +105, meaning a $100 risk could win $105 in profit.
NHL Playoff puck lines
The puck line is hockey’s version of a point spread. So even if you haven’t heard the term before, you can imagine what it is if you’re aware of how the spread works in other sports such as basketball and football.
Just like point spreads, the puck line represents how much a team must win or lose to win the wager. The favorite has a negative symbol next to its puck line and the underdog has a positive sign next to its puck line.
Unlike spreads, however, the puck line is the same for every game, as the favorite is -1.5 goals and the underdog is +1.5 goals. Oddsmakers account for a difference in quality between the two teams by adjusting the prices on each side of the puck line, rather than the spread of 1.5 goals.
At -1.5 (+200) Capitals are the favorite and need to win by two or more goals while a $100 bet can win $200 in profit. At +1.5 (-250) the Bruins can lose by a single goal and still win the bet, but it will be a $250 risk for every $100 in winnings.
Essentially, the payout for a puck line bet turns the moneyline favorite into an underdog from a betting perspective. And vice versa, as the game underdog becomes the favorite according to the betting line.
NHL Playoff over-under
Totals are another popular bet that is easy to understand. All bettors are required to do is predict whether the total number of goals in the game will go over or under an amount set by oddsmakers.
In our example, the total is 5.5 and the line is -111 on both sides. An over 5.5 bet needs six or more goals to win, while under 5.5 bet cashes with five or fewer goals. With the matching -111 price, both sides need to risk $111 to win $100 in profit.
Similar to the puck line, the total is the same for both sides, though the over and under could have different lines attached. Most NHL games have totals of 5.5, 6, or 6.5 goals, depending on the teams.
NHL Playoff props
Props are a growing part of hockey betting and are especially popular during the postseason when there are fewer game lines to choose from on the schedule. Props are essentially any wager that isn’t the full-game moneyline, spread, and total, and most of them (not all) are completely independent of the final score. The prop betting options include but are not limited to:
- Alternate puck line & totals
- 1st/2nd/3rd period moneyline, puck line, & totals
- Goal scorer (First, Last, Anytime)
- Shots on goal
- Player to score 2+ goals/hat trick
- Player to record X points (1+, 2+, 3+)
- Exact game score
- To win in shutout
- Team total goals
Many props have modest lines but depending on the market, some can pay out huge profits. Predicting goal scorers, the exact score of the game, or for a player to score a hat trick are all examples of options that can come with a large payout.
Live betting in the NHL Playoffs
Live betting is the process of betting on games after they’ve already begun, and it’s another growing market at online sportsbooks. In-game NHL hockey odds are constantly being updated as the clock ticks, and it can be an exciting way to take in a game and continuously stay in on the action.
For every NHL postseason game, betting apps like the Caesars MD app offers a range of options including the following:
- Moneylines (Full Game & Periods)
- Puck line (Full Game, Periods, Alternate)
- Totals (Full Game, Periods, Alternate)
- Next team to score
- Next goal scorer
Playoffs & Stanley Cup futures odds
Some bettors out there only associate futures betting with the beginning of a season, but that’s not the case. It used to be true that the only time to place wagers on future events was long before they settled, but online sportsbooks today have plenty of NHL futures betting markets available throughout the playoffs. Among the options from the PointsBet sports app are the following:
- Stanley Cup winner
- Conference winner
- Conference finalist
- Division Of winning team
These markets will first appear in the offseason when odds for the upcoming season are posted. But at some sites, they’ll remain open throughout the season with constantly updating Stanley Cup betting lines.
There is also a huge range of futures for individual playoff series, which can settle in anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on its length. This is what you’ll come across at Maryland online sportsbooks, including DraftKings online sportsbook MD, which is known for its variety of options:
- Series winner
- Series outcome
- Total games played
- Series game spread
- Series exact result
Stanley Cup betting trends & tips
The playoffs, including the Stanley Cup, can be a difficult postseason to bet on compared to other sports.
The reason is that the NHL playoffs have more parity than other leagues do. That means there are upsets scattered all across the playoffs and in the end, top-seeded teams don’t always win the Stanley Cup, so don’t be afraid to look past the so-called ‘better’ teams sometimes. In addition to that bit of advice, here are some more Stanley Cup betting tips and trends to keep in mind:
- Pounce on props in playoffs: With fewer games on the schedule, there aren’t as many betting options to choose from in the postseason. But each game still has plenty of prop betting options, and this is the perfect time for it. These odds aren’t poured over with nearly the same amount of detail by sharps and the public, and there’s oftentimes value in prop lines. They’re perfect for the fantasy hockey player.
- Versatile teams win the cup: No team wins the Stanley Cup as a one-trick pony. Champions need to be multi-dimensional, or at least play that way in the postseason, to win the 16 games necessary to win the title. So when you’re considering championship contenders, keep the list limited to teams that are strong on both sides of the rink, have strong goaltending, and can win any type of game.
- Choose defense over offense: As we just pointed out, the goal is to bet on a well-rounded team that has no holes in its game. But the truth is that most teams don’t appear on the surface to be the total package. So which way do you lean? With defense over offense. Many have outscored teams on their way to the postseason, but it becomes much harder to do in the playoffs. Games slow down while physicality and defense tend to take over.
How do the Stanley Cup Playoffs work?
The NHL postseason format has seen several shake-ups over the past few seasons but moving forward it’s expected that the league will continue with the four-division alignment first created in 2013.
The Metropolitan and Atlantic divisions make up the Eastern Conference while the Central and Pacific divisions house the Western Conference teams. The top three teams in each division advance to the postseason along with two wild-card teams in each conference for a total of eight teams per conference and 16 for the postseason.
Each series from the first round through the Stanley Cup Final is a best-of-seven set following a 2-2-1-1-1 format. Home ice advantage is awarded to the higher seed in the first two rounds but after that, it is given to the team with the better regular-season record followed by tiebreakers.
In total, 16 victories are required to emerge from the playoffs as Stanley Cup champion.
How to start betting on the Stanley Cup in Maryland
Online sportsbooks in Maryland make it very easy for bettors to wager on the NHL playoffs, but first, you need to create an account. The first step is reaching the registration page, which can be done in multiple ways.
The easiest way would be to click one of our links that go with the sportsbook of your choice. This will redirect you to the signup page. Prospective bettors can also download the app on their mobile device or visit the site in their web browser to get started. If you do either of those things, however, be sure to have one of our online sportsbook promo codes handy to receive your welcome bonus.
Once you’re there, follow these steps:
- Fill out all required fields (name, address, email, upload photo ID, etc.). If you have a promo code, it can be entered on this page.
- Agree to all terms of service and complete your registration. An email confirmation will be sent upon account creation.
- Locate and clock the deposit button to add money to your new account. Enter the amount you wish to deposit and all required banking information to complete the transaction. This will only take a few moments.
- Your deposit will be immediately reflected in your account balance. If receiving a deposit match bonus, it will be added to your new balance following the deposit.
- Fill out your bet slip and wait for the puck drop.