How to bet on the Stanley Cup

Logo_Hockey_NHL Stanley Cup 64x64

What are the Stanley Cup Finals?

The Stanley Cup is the most coveted trophy in all of professional hockey. Every season, it is awarded to the champions of the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs.

The NHL Conference Finals, which take place prior to the Stanley Cup Finals, determine which team from each conference will make the finals. An Eastern Conference team and a Western Conference team cannot play one another in the NHL playoffs until the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Stanley Cup Finals is a best-of-seven series, and the team with the better regular season record earns home-ice advantage. The team with home-ice advantage will host Games 1, 2, 5, and 7, whereas the other team will host Games 3, 4, and 6. The final series usually starts around late May or early June, depending on how many games were required to settle the Conference Finals.

Once the Stanley Cup champion has been declared, the names of the winning team’s players, coaches, club staff, and management personnel are engraved upon the cup itself. As a result, the Stanley Cup has continued to grow in size over the years as additional bands are added when more space for names is needed.

Hockey_NHL_Colorado Avalanche's Gabriel Landeskog celebrates with the Stanley Cup
© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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How can I bet on the Stanley Cup?

There are several ways to place NHL bets on the Stanley Cup Finals. You can bet on the Stanley Cup as early as the preseason, when you can place a futures bet on the Stanley Cup winner. Futures markets are plentiful ahead of the season, and every single team in the NHL is assigned odds to win the Stanley Cup.

When the Stanley Cup Finals are actually taking place, the most popular NHL betting market is the moneyline. Placing a moneyline bet means wagering on one team to be the outright winner of any Stanley Cup Finals game. The moneyline odds will often be fairly even between both Stanley Cup Finals participants, given how good each team has to be to get there in the first place.

Another way to wager on the final score of a specific Stanley Cup Finals game is to place a point spread bet. In hockey, this is often referred to as the puck line. Each game will feature a point spread, which is usually set at +/-1.5 goals. For example, if you were to wager on the Montreal Canadiens with a +1.5 spread, they would need to either lose the game by fewer than two goals or win for your bet to be a winner.

A unique way to bet on certain aspects of the Stanley Cup Finals is to place a prop bet. This kind of bet focuses on wagers that do not directly relate to the final score. For example, betting on a certain player to score a goal or register a point.

Stanley Cup betting tips

Always check the injury and team news

The NHL playoffs are a war on ice, and most teams are pretty banged up once they reach the Stanley Cup Finals. A significant injury to either team can change the whole complexion of any game.

Be aware of current team and player trends

Is one team in hotter form than the other? Is a team at home and tend to play much better in front of their own fans, or against rivals? Is a team better on the power play? Knowing which players are on hot and cold streaks is essential as well.

Learning that information could help you pick a team on the moneyline or place a prop bet on a player to score a goal, as well as help you out for live in-play bets.

Analyze each team's recent NHL playoffs

This history can add additional context to your Stanley Cup bets. For example, the Toronto Maple Leafs have an unfortunate recent history that has seen them consistently eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. In the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs, they were once again beaten in the first round by the Montreal Canadiens, despite having home-ice advantage and being heavily favored. Sports can be unpredictable and history tends to repeat itself, so knowing how well a team has done in recent NHL playoffs can really help with placing smart Stanley Cup bets.

Who are the current Stanley Cup champions?

The 2022 Stanley Cup champions are the Colorado Avalanche, who ended Tampa Bay Lightning's run of dominance at the top of the NHL.

The Lightning had won the Stanley Cup in both 2020 and 2021, and reached the final again in 2022. The Avalanche defeated Tampa in overtime in Game 1, then thrashed them 7-0 in Game 2 to take charge of the series before eventually running out 4-2 series winners.

Who is the Stanley Cup MVP?

The Stanley Cup MVP award is called the Conn Smythe Trophy as it commemorates former NHL owner, general manager, and coach Conn Smythe.

The Conn Smythe Trophy is decided upon by a vote conducted by the members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA). The winner is announced by commissioner Gary Bettman (who has held the role since 1993) prior to the official presentation of the Stanley Cup winner. Only the winning player is known, as other potential finalists are not announced before the ceremony.

The Conn Smythe Trophy was won in 2022 by Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar, who followed the Tampa Bay Lightning duo of Andrei Vasilevskiy and Victor Hedman, who won the honor in 2021 and 2020, respectively.

The Conn Smythe Trophy has been given to a player on the losing team just five times in Stanley Cup Finals history.

Hockey_NHL_Colorado Avalanche's Cale Makar receives the Conn Smythe trophy
© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Stanley Cup history

The Stanley Cup is one of the oldest professional sports trophies in existence and has arguably the most compelling history of any sports trophy. The Stanley Cup was officially commissioned in 1892 as a part of the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, and was named after former Governor General of Canada, Lord Stanley of Preston.

Since the Stanley Cup’s inception, there have been a few teams that have been part of a championship dynasty. The first NHL team to truly establish a Stanley Cup championship dynasty was the Toronto Maple Leafs. From 1942 to 1951, the Leafs won the Stanley Cup six times in ten seasons. That performance was eclipsed by the Montreal Canadiens the following decade, who won the Stanley Cup six times in just eight seasons between 1953 and 1960.

Nowadays, NHL championship dynasties are much rarer occurrences. This is largely due to the level of competition, with today’s NHL featuring 32 teams compared to the six-team league of the 1950s. Gone are the days of the same team winning the Stanley Cup four or five years in a row, although some teams have come close. The Chicago Blackhawks won three Stanley Cups in six years from 2010 to 2015. In the modern era, that has been as close to a championship dynasty as a team has managed.

Stanley Cup FAQs

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