NHL Playoffs Odds
NHL Playoffs Betting Odds
Punch Bowl Became Stanley Cup
Lord Stanley, then the governor general of Canada, originally purchased a decorative punch bowl from a London silversmith in 1892 for about $50.
He wanted a trophy that could be awarded to the top hockey club in Canada. It initially stood about seven inches tall and about a foot in diameter.
Today, that trophy is known as the Stanley Cup — awarded annually to the National Hockey League champions. Many tiered rings and bands have been added and retired from the cup over the years, since the name of every member of the winning team is inscribed on it.
The trophy has been awarded 99 times — from 1914 to the end of the 2017 season. Twenty-three teams have won the trophy, 18 of which are still active in the league today.
The Montreal Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup a record 24 times. The Toronto Maple Leafs are second with 13, with the Detroit Red Wings next at 11.
Five active teams have yet to earn a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals. Three of these teams have remained in the same location since their inceptions: Columbus Blue Jackets (16 seasons, three playoffs), Minnesota Wild (16 seasons, eight playoffs) and the Vegas Golden Knights (2017 expansion team).
Only two franchises have won the Stanley Cup in at least four consecutive seasons since 1950: Montreal (1956-60, 1976-79) and the New York Islanders (1980-83). These two teams were back-to-back dynasties, winning the championship every year from 1976 to 1983.
Both the Chicago Blackhawks (2010, 2013, 2015) and Pittsburgh Penguins (2009, 2016, 2017) have won the cup three times in the last nine seasons.
NHL Playoffs Bracketology
The NHL realigned into a four-division, two-conference system for the 2013-14 season. Under the new postseason setup, the top three teams in each division make the playoffs, with two wild-card teams in each conference (for a total of eight playoff teams from each conference). There are 16 teams in the East and 15 clubs in the West, so 16 teams make the playoffs out of 31.
The lower seeded wild-card team plays against the division winner with the best record while the other wild card plays against the other division winner. The other two series match the second- and third-place teams from the divisions.
The winners advance to the second round, then the conference final and, ultimately, the Stanley Cup final. In the NHL final, the team with the best regular season record holds home ice advantage.
All of the Stanley Cup playoff matchups are best-of-seven series, and overtime is played like a regulation period — there are no shootouts.
Where To Bet On NHL Playoffs
Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers won their fourth Stanley Cup and lost just two of 18 games in the playoffs in 1988. That’s a lot of wins on the money line. Obviously, no one made money betting against the Oilers that playoff season.
The Great One also set an NHL final scoring record that year with 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) as the Oilers swept the Boston Bruins. That prop bet may not be on the board this year in the championship, but sports books offer many wagering options like the money line, puck line, over/under totals, futures and prop bets.
- Money line: Just pick the winning team.
- Puck line: The favored team must win by two goals or more.
- Over/under: Which team wins the game does not matter in this bet. The result is based on the total score of the two teams.