NHL Playoff Betting History: Everything you need to know to bet on the Stanley Cup playoffs

Jordan Ramsay | Updated Apr 17, 2024

NHL: Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers

Following a full 82-game regular season, no Presidents' Trophy-winning team has gone on to win the Stanley Cup since 2008.

Puck drop on the opening game of the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs is set for Saturday, April 20 and we’re doing a deep dive into playoff betting history to help you have postseason success.

From the Presidents’ Trophy curse to home ice advantage, let’s take a look at the numbers.

Don’t forget to check out our complete list of NHL game odds, NHL futures and NHL specials and props.

Presidents’ Trophy curse

There’s no better example of the Presidents’ Trophy curse than last year’s Boston Bruins. With a 65-12-5 record, Boston’s 135-point campaign was the best regular season point total in NHL history, but Boston ended up being bounced in the first round of the playoffs.

In fact, since the Presidents’ Trophy was first handed out in the 1985-86 season, just as many winning teams have lost in the first round as have gone on to win the Stanley Cup.

Playoff ResultPresidents' Trophy Teams
Lost in First Round8
Lost in Second Round12
Lost in Conference Final6
Lost in Stanley Cup Final3
Won Stanley Cup8

Only eight of 37 Presidents’ Trophy winners have also won the Stanley Cup and no team has won both trophies since the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013. That Blackhawks team won it in a lockout year, so if you go back even further, no team that has won the Presidents’ Trophy following a full 82-game season has gone on to win the Stanley Cup since the Detroit Red Wings in 2008.

The New York Rangers have clinched the Presidents’ Trophy for the 2023-24 season, which has to make fans a little nervous given the league’s best regular season team has most commonly lost in the second round of the playoffs.

The competitiveness and parity in the NHL means any team has a chance to win come playoff time, so the moral of the story is, don’t blindly bet on a team just because they had the best regular season record.

Back the favourites

It’s pretty straightforward when it comes to which playoff seeds produce the most Stanley Cup champions. Since the 1999-00 season, over half of Stanley Cup winning teams entered the playoffs as a top-two seed in their conference following a full 82-game regular season.

SeedStanley Cup ChampionshipsStanley Cup Final Appearances
168
2611
326
436
511
614
712
814

Home ice advantage

Home ice advantage is a major factor in the NHL. Not only do teams receive a boost from the home crowd, but they are rested from not travelling and the rules actually favour the home side as they get last change to create the matchups they want.

So, home ice must be huge in the playoffs right? Almost, but since 2014 there’s an anomaly in the conference finals as you can see in the chart below.

RoundHome Team RecordHome Team Win Percentage
First Round41-2364%
Second Round17-1553%
Conference Final5-1131%
Stanley Cup Final5-363%

From the time the NHL adopted the wild-card system in 2014 (not counting the two COVID-shortened seasons) the team with home ice advantage has a winning record in each round of the playoffs other than the conference finals.

Teams with home ice advantage have won just 31 per cent of the time in the third round of the playoffs compared to 64 per cent in the first round, 53 per cent in the second round and 63 per cent in the Stanley Cup Final.

If you’re banking on a playoff upset, the stats say wait until the conference finals.

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