Betting on Hockey’s Return: Vegas Odds for NHL Returning First, and When First Game Will Be Played


We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. If there is a gambler that wants to place a bet on something, there is a Vegas oddsmaker that will set a line for it. And that includes the return of sports after the COVID-19 virus subsides.

According to an article by the National Post, the NHL has the best odds to begin play first after pause for COVID-19. Here are the odds for each sport starting first:

MLB                             7/4
NHL                             9/5
NBA                             5/2
MLS.                            4/1

Ok, so how in the world did the oddsmakers dome up with these odds?

“It’s challenging to set odds on something like this,” said Adam Burns, SportsBook manager for, “because there are no stats to sift through and analyze, as there are when setting the odds for a game.”

“We’re looking at social media, Twitter, Instagram, reading the news, seeing what people are saying. We’re trying to keep on top of and obviously these odds will fluctuate quite a bit based on how people are betting it and what news comes out.”

But if betting on which sport returns first is not your cup of tea, you can also place a wager on when the first NHL game will be played. The latest line from Bovada suggests the odds favor the first game occurring after April 17th.

As for whether the NHL will resume play before June 1st, Bet-Online has the following odds:

Yes +300 (3/1)
No -500 (1/5)

“We’re just trying to have stuff for people to bet on. We’re getting tons of requests from people saying ‘Hey, can you put up this?’ Or ‘Can you put up that?’ People just want to have something to do.”, said Burns.

“Obviously the daily stuff isn’t there anymore. March Madness was one of our biggest things of the year. The Masters has been postponed. The Kentucky Derby, they say, might be postponed. So we’re just going with the flow and seeing how it plays out.”

“But you can still bet on the Stanley Cup or the NBA championship or the World Series or the Super Bowl.

“We even put up some odds on pro wrestling,” he said of the, er, scripted “sport”.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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