- The NHL announced it’s plan to return to the ice Tuesday afternoon
- What does that mean for bettors who have NHL futures bets still outstanding?
- Read on for what many sportsbooks are doing in regards to point total, playoff, divisional and other futures bets
Yesterday the NHL announced it’s plan to Return To Play with 24 teams when the league resumes. When? Well, we still don’t know. That will depend on the current state of COVID-19 in the coming months. Where? We’re still waiting on which two cities will emerge from a list of ten potential hub cities.
But knowing the league is fully committed to playing out the season is exciting news for fans and bettors alike. But there are still many other questions left to be answered from the regular season, mostly for bettors.
When we last left the league, bettors were closing in on cashing their divisional futures bets and were coasting to the finish line with Red Wings’ UNDER win total bets. But with the regular season cut short and the league proceeding immediately to a special Qualifying Round followed by the playoffs when it returns, how are sportsbooks grading these bets?
Commissioner Gary Bettman shares details on the NHL’s Return to Play Plan. https://t.co/ZH7153tpZ0
— NHL (@NHL) May 26, 2020
As with any bet you make, firstly, it’s important to know the rules and stipulations at the specific book where you’re betting. While many rules may be the same across the board, each book generally has their own rules on what constitutes “action” or “no action” on a bet. In the case of the NHL, many futures bets will likely be deemed “no action” and refunded due to a full 82-game regular season not being played.
Season Point Totals and Playoff Bets
That directly impacts anyone who bet Over/Under season point totals on specific teams.
That’s good news if you were bullish on say the Devils exceeding their point total of 90.5, considering they were languishing in the basement of the Metro with just 68 points and 13 games to go.
But bad news if you were sitting back in your rocking chair and waiting for an easy winner on Red Wings UNDER 76.5 points. They were historically bad this season and still had just 39 points after 71 games. Ouch. That’s a bad beat.
David's right, refunds will be the norm on conference tournament futures. Win/point totals for NBA/NHL will be graded by individual house rules which in most cases would become refunds unless the regular season schedule is completed
— Todd Fuhrman (@ToddFuhrman) March 12, 2020
This goes the same for season point totals on player props. Most sportsbooks have already begun to issue refunds on those as well.
However, there is a grey area in the playoff Yes/No betting. Initially, it was thought that 24 teams had now made the playoffs, but the NHL has since stated that the Qualifying Round is not the playoffs and only 16 teams will officially make the playoffs. As such, many sportsbooks have held off in making a final grade on those bets.
Let me clarify by saying another NHL source says this is still being discussed internally as far as whether the round-robin/play-in for record-keeping purposes will be considered playoffs or not. For now, they're saying it's a Qualifying Round to get into the 1st Rd of playoffs https://t.co/iaptpdqols
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 26, 2020
Teams Celebrating Division Titles?
While teams like the St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights were quick to jump on Twitter to announce their crowning as division champs, as of now, the NHL has yet to officially declare if division titles will be awarded.
As such, some sportsbooks are yet to grade these bets as they await a decision from the league, while others have already begun issuing refunds on those bets.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) May 26, 2020
Conference, Stanley Cup and Player Award Futures
These wagers are still live if you’ve bet on a team that remains in contention to win the East or West or to lift the Cup.
Great news if you wagered on a team that looked dead in the water like the Montreal Canadiens or Chicago Blackhawks.
Since player awards will still be awarded after the season, these too should still be live at most books.
Rules May Vary
Despite many of these bets being refunded, remember that final grading rules still vary from book to book so be sure to check the rules at the sportsbook where you bet. There are reports that some shops are grading what would be a winning bet a winner for some of these wagers while refunding those that would be losers.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.