HomeNHL Betting in Virginia

NHL betting in Virginia

The National Hockey League (NHL) is the top league in the world for professional hockey, and while it trails the NFL, NBA, MLB, and college football in U.S. popularity, it is still steadily growing.

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According to Statista, NHL games during the 2023-24 regular season averaged 504,000 viewers across games on ABC, ESPN, and TNT, up 8% from the 2022-23 season.

The lack of an NHL team in Virginia does moderately impact the betting numbers, but with the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes in neighboring states and local minor league clubs (the Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL and the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs of the SPHL), hockey fandom is certainly present.

In this piece, we’ll take a closer look at the opportunities for NHL betting in Virginia, including how to register at VA sportsbooks, what types of bets you can make, how to read odds, and more.

Best VA sportsbooks for NHL betting

If you asked 10 Virginia hockey bettors to name the best sportsbook for NHL betting, it’s entirely possible you’d get 10 different answers. The “best” sportsbooks will be the ones that fit your betting needs and wants, and offer fair and competitive lines with a reasonable selection of betting markets.

We’ve found these Virginia sportsbook operators to meet that criteria and be worth your time and consideration.

ESPN Bet Virginia Logo


While ESPN doesn’t actually run the sportsbook (PENN Entertainment is the operator using ESPN for branding), it makes sense the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” would eventually make its way into the gambling space in some capacity. ESPN+ streams all NHL games that aren’t airing live on ESPN or TNT, and the sportsbook odds are integrated into the broadcasts.

FanDuel Virginia


FanDuel VA has built on its successes as a daily fantasy sports operator to become an excellent sports betting option for same game parlay wagering. The mobile app is also supremely intuitive and easy to use.

DraftKings Virginia


Like FanDuel, DraftKings began as a DFS site, and has since become a dominant force in the Virginia gambling landscape. DK has a superb live betting selection, allowing fans the chance to cash in on the thrill of fast-paced hockey action while games are in progress.

BetMGM Virginia


BetMGM VA balances a high-quality rewards program with a top-notch customer service experience. The operator is frequently one of the first to post lines for futures betting and also offers generous NHL promos throughout the season.

NHL betting promos that Virginia sportsbooks offer

Here are a few of the NHL betting promos that you may see Virginia sportsbooks offer.

  • Odds boosts for goal scorers: One of the most frequent promos you’ll see for NHL betting is odds boosts for goal scorers. These offers will result in higher payouts if you are correctly able to predict which players will score an anytime goal, the first goal of the game, or the last goal of the contest (excluding shootouts).
  • Same game parlay boosts: Same game parlays are a popular choice because they allow gamblers to concentrate their betting research efforts on a single matchup rather than a series of games. These boosts typically come in the form of a profit percentage boost rather than an odds boost. This is because you can usually add anywhere between two and 10 legs to your parlay, so an odds boost may not make as considerable of a difference.
  • Bet and Get offers: Especially common at the start of the season, bet and get offers will usually be advertised as something like “Bet $5 on any NHL market, receive $100 in bonus bets.” These bonus bets can then be used in any market (not just hockey) and would be credited to your account regardless of how the $5 bet played out.

How do I bet on the NHL online in Virginia?

Before you can start betting on the NHL online in Virginia, you’ll need to register a sports betting account with a licensed bookmaker. The signup process shouldn’t take you more than about 5-10 minutes to complete on each site, and you can find a full list of legal VA sportsbooks using the dropdown menu at the top of this page.

Here’s what the signup process will look like.

  1. Open the form: You can access the signup forms directly from our sportsbook review pages. The links will open in a new tab when you click them so you can easily reference the review as needed. This will also ensure you’re getting the best available welcome bonus offers, as sportsbooks will change the promo throughout the year.
  2. Set up your credentials: Some sportsbooks will make you choose a username, but most will require an email address and password to log in instead. You’ll also need to provide a phone number so you can use two-factor authentication when accessing your account.
  3. Verify your identity and eligibility: Next, you will need to confirm you are legally old enough to bet, as Virginia law requires you to be 21 years of age or older to bet on sports. To verify, you will need to provide your legal name, date of birth, the last four digits of your social security number, and your home address. This is also needed for tax paperwork, as gambling winnings are taxable in VA.

What types of bets can you place on ice hockey?

There are many types of bets you can place on ice hockey, and they aren’t limited to NHL action. You may also be able to wager on these bet types for Olympic hockey, IIHF World Championships, and other international professional leagues. Here are a few of the most common types to place.

  • Puck line: The easiest way to think about the puck line is to treat it like a spread bet in football or basketball. The puck line handicaps the moneyline (a bet on the straight-up winner, including overtime and the shootout) by requiring the betting favorite to win by multiple goals or allowing the underdog to win by keeping the game close even in a loss. Unlike basketball or football spreads, the puck line is almost always +/- 1.5 goals; it is quite rare to see the line at more than +/- 2.5 goals before puck drop, though if the teams involved are on opposite ends of the standings, such an event could occur (you may also see more than that while live betting if one team holds a sizable lead).
  • First period goal in the first 5/10 minutes: According to Hockey-Graphs.com, the team that scores the first goal wins about 67% of the time on average. Because of the importance of scoring first, sportsbooks regularly have markets for whether or not a goal will be scored in the first five minutes and first 10 minutes of a hockey game.
  • Player props: Player props account for the bulk of same game parlay betting markets; they focus on in-game events and statistical milestones such as goals, assists, points (combined goals and assists), shots on goal, hits, and saves.

Reading NHL wagering odds

Reading NHL odds is a two-part process. First, you must determine the betting favorite and underdog(s), and then you’ll need to calculate how much money you could win depending on your bet.

To determine the favorite and underdog outcomes, look for whether there is a “+” or “-” sign next to the odds. The “+” sign indicates the underdog (the less likely outcome as determined by the sportsbook and public betting action) and the “-” sign denotes the betting favorite (the most likely scenario).

In some scenarios like futures bets or goal scorer props, you may see scenarios where multiple options have either symbol. If two or more “-” signs are present, the favorite is the one with the largest number after the symbol; conversely, when all outcomes have a “+” symbol next to them, the favorite has the smallest number after the sign.

Next, you’ll need to know how much money you can win on each wager. The easiest way to determine this is to look at the numbers after each symbol and base them around a $100 hypothetical.

If you’re backing a favorite, let’s say, the Carolina Hurricanes on the moneyline at -160, you would need to bet $160 to win $100; this would result in a $260 payout ($160 for your original stake plus the $100 profit).

On the other hand, if you’re wagering on the underdog, let’s say the Washington Capitals at +160, a $100 wager would win $160 and again pay out $260 ($100 original stake + $160 profit). Note the difference in the amount you would have risked in either scenario to get the same amount; favorites require a larger upfront cost if you’re aiming to win a specific amount.

Perhaps the most important thing to know when reading the odds is that you do not need to wager $100 when making your bets. Whatever amount you use as a stake, the profits will scale accordingly. Remember to choose an amount that is within your financial means, and never bet more than you can afford to lose!

Tips for NHL wagering in Virginia

Here are a few tips for NHL wagering in Virginia from an expert NHL bettor.

  • Prioritize 5-on-5 play: While power play numbers certainly give players and teams a better opportunity to score, there is no guarantee opportunities on the man advantage will occur throughout the game. Because the majority of play will almost certainly be at even strength (5-on-5), normalizing your stats research to 5-on-5 play instead of “all scenarios” will give you a clearer picture of player and team performance. Sites like NaturalStatTrick.com and MoneyPuck.com are outstanding resources for this.
  • Embrace advanced analytics: Basic stat categories like goals, assists, points, +/-, and shots on goal (for and against) point to what happens in the game, but advanced analytics help show why those events happened. Understanding metrics like Corsi (all shot attempts), Fenwick (all unblocked shot attempts), PDO (the sum of a team’s shooting and save percentages), and expected goals (both for and against) will help you determine the likelihood of scoring opportunities and whether teams are due for positive or negative regression.
  • Fatigue is a factor: The NHL has gotten better in recent years at limiting the number of times throughout the season that a team plays on back-to-back nights. However, teams will still usually have between 8-12 such situations throughout the season. Teams on the second line of a back-to-back will likely use a different goaltender, which could result in a different style of play in front of the backup. This fatigue can also weigh on while traveling, especially during interconference play with teams crossing time zones to get to the games.


Is NHL betting in Virginia regulated?

Yes, NHL betting is regulated in Virginia. The Virginia Lottery enforces the sports betting regulations established by state law and issues licenses to legitimate operators. If you do not see the Virginia Lottery seal listed on a sports betting site, it is best practice to stay away.

Do all VA sportsbooks offer NHL betting promos?

Yes, all VA sportsbooks will offer promos that can be used for NHL betting. However, the exact nature of the promo may not always be exclusively NHL-focused. For the latest news on Virginia betting promos, check in with VABetting.com.

Is NHL betting big in Virginia?

NHL betting is somewhat popular in Virginia, though hockey wagers still trail NFL, NBA, and MLB betting totals in VA.