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NHL Betting in Massachusetts

NHL betting is closer than ever to becoming a reality in Massachusetts and Bruins fans may be able to place a wager in time for the 2020-21 season.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is leading a legislative effort to legalize sports betting in the state after a 2018 Supreme Court decision allowed states to legalize and regulate sportsbooks. Lawmakers have debated the issue for months and have introduced about a dozen different bills to make NHL betting a reality but the details still need to be worked out. Despite a months-long delay, Baker says he is confident that sports betting will be legal in the state by summer of 2020, given the strong bipartisan support behind the legalization push, which is expected to raise hundreds of millions from taxes and fees.

If Baker is correct, Bruins fans will be able to place bets in person at one of the state’s three existing casinos or online at one of their platforms. Daily fantasy sports sites are expected to get in on the action as well and be allowed to launch mobile betting platforms. Users will only need to be 21 years old or older and be located inside the state, which sportsbooks will confirm using identity verification and geolocation software.

NHL Betting Boston

NHL Betting Massachusetts

A 2018 Supreme Court ruling lifted a decades-long ban on sports betting outside of Nevada and allowed states to make their own laws. States like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and — more recently — New England states like New Hampshire and Rhode Island legalized sports wagers. Massachusetts is expected to become the next state to follow suit, once lawmakers finalize the parameters.

The bills being considered by the legislature would allow existing casinos like the recently-built MGM and Wynn casinos to accept wagers on sports games at their physical locations and online. Daily fantasy sports operators, like Boston-based DraftKings and FanDuel, are expected to receive licenses for mobile betting platforms. The law exempts betting on amateur sports but would allow bets on all NHL games and other professional sports.

How to Bet on NHL Games

NHL odds differ from NFL and NBA odds, where much of the betting is done on the point spread. The point spread is the margin of victory the favorite must win by in order to win the bet. In other sports, the point spread is always different but in hockey, the “puck line” is always set a 1.5 goals. That means that the Bruins would have to win by 2 or more goals in order to win the bet while the underdog can lose by up to 1 goal and still win the bet.

Since the puck line is always the same, most NHL bets are placed on the moneyline. The moneyline seeks to entice betting on the underdog by offering higher payouts. For example:

Bruins -170

Flyers +160

The moneyline shows the ratio between the bet and the payout. In this case, the Bruins are the favorite, denoted with a minus sign, which means the payout is lower. You would need to bet $170 to win $100. The Flyers are less likely to win so the payout is higher. A $100 bet would win $160.

You don’t have to just bet on the game winner. Every sportsbook allows you to bet on whether the final combined goal total will be “over” or “under” the projected total set by the oddsmakers. Most sportsbooks also offer live in-game betting, prop bets, and futures bets.