NHL Futures Betting Explained

NHL Futures Betting Explained 


National Hockey League future bets are the definition of high-risk, high reward. NHL future bets are exactly as they sound. They are bets that happen far into the future. Some fans like to bet NHL futures for the high reward aspect but also for the thrill of keeping up with specific teams and or players.

Most NHL futures are “+” money bets, which if you don’t know what that is, it means there is a higher payout if the bet hits. Keep in mind NHL futures are high risk and harder to hit, so please always bet responsibly. Through this guide you will learn what an NHL future is, how to bet them, and much more.


What are NHL Futures Bets? 

An NHL future bet is very simple and sometimes easier to understand than some of your other bets such as spread bets, over/under bets, etc. An NHL future means that you are betting on a certain team to win a certain something, or a certain player to hit a certain milestone, whether it be goals or a season award, such as Most Valuable Player or Rookie of the Year. Essentially, the main difference between a future bet and a moneyline, spread, over/under, or prop bet is that future bets take place across a longer period of time, instead of just one game.

I like to compare bets to the stock market, if that is your thing. Think of your standard moneyline or spread bet as your short term plays, expected to cash or lose within a short period of time. Instead think of futures as long term plays since the payout is typically higher. These bets will stay in your betslip as active for a long time until the future either hits, or it loses. The best part of NHL future bets is that you can bet them at any time, even in the Stanley Cup Playoffs! You don’t have to place your bets before the season, and the odds will increase or decrease depending on the live success of the team or player, but you certainly can if that is what you like to do.

NHL Futures Examples:

Typical examples of NHL team futures include the team winning some sort of title. There are future bets for winning their division, conference, and the Stanley Cup, with the odds increasing each step respectively. For this guide, we will use the Washington Capitals as an example. As of the time of writing, the Washington Capitals are +3000 to win the Stanley Cup, +50000 to win the Metropolitan Division, and +1500 to win the Eastern Conference. Don’t worry if you don’t understand the odds as those will be explained in an upcoming section. 

As mentioned earlier in the guide, you don’t have to place a future bet before the season starts, but that is where odds are most likely to be at their highest and arguably you get the most enjoyment from your wager. 

That way you can follow the team all season long. I did mention the odds can change for futures depending on when you place the bet and that is what I am going to show now. Before the season, the Vegas Golden Knights were +700 to win the Stanley Cup. As of the time of writing, they are +2000 to win the Stanley Cup. This is because they haven’t been having as good of a season as people first expected them to, so their odds have increased accordingly.

Although not as common, team wins do fall into the NHL future bet category. Before the season starts, most sportsbooks will set an over/under amount of wins or points. You can bet that a certain team will eclipse the set win mark or fall short, however you think that team will perform for that given season. 

Let’s take a look at an example. Before the 2021-2022 season started, the over under for Florida Panthers team points was 98.5, with both the under and the over paying out -110 odds. As of April 6th, 2022, the Florida Panthers have 104 team points, thus marking the over. 


NHL Player Futures

Teams aren’t the only thing that you can bet futures on. You can even bet on NHL player futures. It works the same exact way as the team futures do, but instead of following an entire NHL team, you follow NHL players. Also, instead of betting on teams to win their division, conference, or the Stanley Cup, you bet on NHL players to win the major NHL awards.

Most, if not all sportsbooks will have NHL player futures for the Hart Trophy (League MVP), Art Ross (Scoring Leader), Rocket Richard (Goal Scoring Leader), Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year), and sometimes more. Here is an example of an NHL player’s future. Auston Matthews opened the season at +950 to win the Hart Trophy, and with only a few weeks left in the NHL season, Matthews is the -110 favorite to win the trophy.

In some cases, although a rarer bet, you can bet on NHL players to hit a certain goal or point total, just like in team futures. For example, let’s say you found a bet of Leon Draisaitl to score over or under 105.5 points. You can bet over or under that total for his season production. Be careful with these bets though, as missed games will hurt the over.



NHL Futures Odds Explained

As mentioned earlier, we said that we would take a deeper look into NHL future odds and what exactly they mean. So, let’s say that today you want to place a wager on the Washington Capitals to win the Stanley Cup. 

At the time of writing they are +3000 to win it, meaning that you would make some good money if you were to place a wager. 

The “+” means it is less likely to happen but it pays out more if it does. Most people call “+” bets “underdogs”. The number behind the plus signifies how much you would profit if you placed $100. If you bet $100 on the Washington Capitals to win the Stanley Cup, you would win $3000. If you aren’t a big spender and you placed a $10 wager on the Washington Capitals to win the Stanley Cup today, it would payout $310 for $300 profit. Keep in mind you always get your wager back if it wins. It is almost like a down payment. You obviously do not get it back if it loses.

As you get later into the season, sometimes the favorites turn from a “+” to a “-”, as with the Auston Matthews NHL players future example. He is a -110 favorite to win the 2022 Hart Trophy. With only a few weeks left, it is likely that Matthews will win the Hart Trophy.The number behind a “-” is how much you need to bet to win $100. So, in this case, if you bet $110 on Auston Matthews to win the Hart Trophy, you would win $100. 


NCAA Hockey Futures

The NHL isn’t the only level of hockey that you can bet futures on. You can bet on team futures on NCAA hockey as well. You can not bet on player futures in the NCAA however as it is against NCAA rules and regulations. 

So for the NCAA, it is just team futures. The team futures work the same way they do in the NHL. Let us use a hypothetical situation for this example. Let’s say that you want to bet on the University of Massachusetts Amherst Minutemen. You can, with most sportsbooks depending on your state’s laws, bet on teams to win their conference or the National Championship. So in our example here, you could bet on University of Massachusetts Amherst Minutemen to win the Hockey East Conference or the national title. College hockey has less of a following than the NHL so these odds may not be what you would expect them to be, but it is still fun to bet and follow regardless.


Hockey Futures Pro/Cons




– Futures are great value bets

  • The value and payouts in these bets are unmatched across the betting world. Someone has to win, right? It could very well be your futures picks
  • NHL Futures can be a lot of fun to follow
      • If you are a fan of the NHL, future bets can be so much fun to follow. Whether you are watching games rooting for a specific player or the team to win, it is a lot of fun to watch over a longer period of time. There is nothing like watching your team cash a long term NHL future bet.
  • Keeping Interest Alive
    • We all go through hot and cold streaks in sports betting. However, even in the coldest streak you may have, you will always have this future bet open until it settles.
    • Lower probability
      • Although the value is great for these bets, the probability of it hitting isn’t as high as a daily moneyline or spread bets. Someone does have to win but instead of only betting against one team like a normal competition, you are betting against many teams who have a chance at winning.
  • Unpredictability of Hockey
      • Hockey is a very wild sport with upsets happening all the time. The better team does win a lot, but we have all seen our fair share of crazy upsets and anything can happen in a game of hockey.
  • Length of bet
    • Any future bet whether it be on a player or a team can take a while to settle. This means that the bet and your funds will be held in your betslip until the bet either cashes or it loses, so that can also be viewed as a con..


NHL Futures Strategy

Betting on futures can be a lot of fun and if you hit the right ones, they can be very profitable for you. So, how do you do it effectively? Well, there is no foolproof way to pick the correct winner every time, as is the case with every bet out there. Anything can happen in the world of sports and that is important to remember before placing a wager.

One thing that you should always do before placing a future bet is researching the team and players. Research does not take a long time but it does increase your chances of picking a winner. 

If you research how good a certain team’s goal scoring is, or how their goal prevention is, or their power play success against teams in their division, to name a few, you can get a better grasp on the bet you may want to place. You can research anything with all the stat websites out there and you can make yourself more confident and find a bet you like.

Another strategy to consider is to be realistic. Yes, upsets happen in sports and that is the beauty of hockey is that it can be unpredictable at times. However, with that being said, the +50000 underdog future is almost never going to hit. Maybe once in a blue moon does a crazy bet like that hit, but you may lose more money betting on those than you will make if one ever hits, and that is a big if. Instead, look more towards the top of the list in terms of odds. Be realistic with your selections and choose a team that you think genuinely has a chance to win whatever you are betting for.

One last strategy is to not chase money. What I mean by that is two different things. Just because a bet has a payout of thousands of dollars does not mean that it is a good one. Also, do not bet money that you do not have to lose. Be smart. Be responsible.


Hockey Futures Considerations

As I mentioned before there are many things that can affect an NHL future bet. The sport of hockey is one of the more unpredictable ones with it allowing anything to happen. We have seen 16-seeds reach and even win the Stanley Cup. It is a thrilling and exciting sport for sure, especially in the playoffs. However, with the unpredictability comes things that can affect your NHL future bet for better or for worse.


  • Injuries
    • Hockey is a very physical sport and injuries are common. This is something to keep in mind before placing an NHL future bet. If the team that you bet ons star player gets hurt and is out long term, that can affect how well your team performs which could have negative implications on the chances of your wager. If you place a future bet on a player and that individual player gets hurt, no matter how long, that can drastically impact your bet.


  • Non-refundable bets
    • Depending on the sportsbook, most times the bets are not refundable if something unforeseen such as injuries happen. If you bet on Auston Matthews to win the Hart Trophy and then he gets hurt, you will not be refunded your bet. Your bet will just lose. In some cases you may be offered a cashout but this is likely to be way below the amount you originally staked. There are lots of risks to future bets and that is something that you want to keep in mind.


  • Other Considerations
    • Suspensions, just like injuries, happen in hockey and can impact a team’s success. Players can get suspended and miss time, thus negatively affecting your bet. Illness can keep players out of the lineup as well, impacting your bet. Lastly, teams go on road trips, go through slumps, have internal conflicts that you have no idea about, etc. It is important to consider these facts before placing a long term future bet.


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NHL Futures Betting Explained FAQs

Yes, you can bet on a team to win the Stanley Cup. That is one of the more popular NHL future bets to place. You can place these bets before the season starts, during the season, during the playoffs, or all three. This is a fan favorite NHL future bet.
NHL future odds are updated after every game that the respective team plays during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Let’s say a team goes down 0-2 in the first round of the playoffs. Their odds to win the Stanley Cup will go up in value since they have to complete a comeback now. Vise versa, if a team goes up 3-0 in the Conference Finals, their odds will go down in value since they are up heavy and so close to the Stanley Cup Finals.
NHL futures are one of the most popular bets out there and a fan favorite. With that, they are available in most sportsbooks. Online sportsbooks such as PointsBet, BETMGM and FanDuel Sportsbook have access to future bets. Most land based sportsbooks in casinos in states where sports betting has been legalized often carry NHL future betting as well. With sports betting becoming more and more popular, you can find NHL future bets almost anywhere.

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