Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) Preview & Betting Guide

Updated: 1202 Ice Hockey

We look ahead to the 2023-24 season of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), can the reigning champions CSKA Moscow win the championship for a third consecutive season?

Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) Preview & Betting Guide
Andy Powell Content Editor

Horse Racing stats man, Andy has contributed to OLBG for 18 years - An Ipswich fan and F1 fanatic, he also contributes EFL football and Motor Sport opinion.

2023-24 KHL Preview

The new season of the KHL gets underway in September 2023 and CSKA Moscow will be looking to defend their Gagarin Cup after defeating Ak Bars Kazan 4-3 in last season's final.

That was title number thirty-seven for CSKA Moscow and their second consecutive title, they have now started to dominate the league having won four of the last five titles and have appeared in eight of the last nine finals.

They will head into the 2023-24 season looking to win a third consecutive championship, a feat that has not been achieved since the early 90s when Dynamo Moscow actually won four on the bounce between 1990 & 1993.

Throughout the season be sure to head over to the Kontinental Hockey League Predictions from our expert ice hockey tipsters to see which teams they are backing to be successful.


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How often do Favourites win in KHL?

Compared to the NHL favourites, the KHL favourites have a higher win rate, in the NHL over the past five seasons (2017-21), the home favourites have won 59.8% of the games which is much less than the 64.6% in the KHL and the away favourites are the same story, in the NHL it is 57.5% compared to the 62.8% in the KHL which means overall the favourites are more reliable in the KHL than they are in the NHL based on the past five seasons.

KHL vs NHL Favourites

4.9% more favourites won in the KHL (64%) than in the NHL (59.1%) when comparing the last five seasons.

The most successful team when favourites in the KHL is SKA Saint Petersburg, over the past five seasons, they have won 200 of their 269 games (74.3%) when favourites and their away percentage is 74% when favourites, which is close to their home percentage (74.6%). The only other two teams to have over a 70% win rate when favourites are CSKA Moscow, they have won 71.2% (195-275) of their games when favourites and Bars Kazan who are 177-253 have a 70% win rate.

Favourites over the last 5 seasons

  • 2018-19
    • Home: 66.6% (331-497)
    • Away: 66.8% (185-277)
  • 2019-20
    • Home: 64.4% (309-480)
    • Away: 60.1% (158-263)
  • 2020-21
    • Home: 66.5% (268-403)
    • Away: 66.8% (187-280)
  • 2021-22
    • Home: 62.3% (220-353)
    • Away: 65.1% (142-218)
  • 2022-23
    • Home: 63.6% (304-478)
    • Away: 55.2% (148-268)
  • Overall
    • Home: 64.8% (1432-2211)
    • Away: 62.8% (820-1306)

Both Barys Astana and Tractor Chelyabinsk are worth a mention on the other side of things, they both have strike rates of 43% or more when they are priced up as the underdogs, Barys Astana with 44% (73-166) and Tractor Chelyabinsk with 43.5% (70-161) so are both worth watching out for as they may have a bit of value about them as the average league success for the underdogs over the last five seasons is only 35.4% so they are both well above that. See if the OLBG tipsters are backing any of the favourites or underdogs on the KHL predictions for today.

*Favourite statistics only include regular-season games


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Past Gagarin Cup Winners

The winner of the KHL season after the playoffs receives the Gagarin Cup, named after the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin, what does he have to do with hockey? Nothing, but the last game of the season is usually played around the anniversary (12th April) of his flight.

The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) was founded in 2008, the 2019-20 season was cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic which means we have had a total of fourteen winners of the Gagarin Cup and we are split at six wins from the eastern conference teams and seven wins for the western conference teams, the inaugural season which was won by AK Bars Kazan did not have a conference split.

AK Bars Kazan has made the final four times whilst CSKA Moscow have made the final on six occasions and they are well matched with Kazan & CSKA both winning three titles but it is CSKA who have had better recent success winning three of the last four and beating Kazan in 2023 final.

There are three other teams that have picked up the Gargarin Cup twice, Metallurg Magnitogorsk won it in both 2014 & 2016 and they have made three finals having also lost in 2017. Both Dynamo Moscow (2012 & 2013) and SKA Saint Petersburg (2015 & 2017) have 100% records when making the finals having both won the two finals they have appeared in. 

Who will be adding to their winning record this season? We have a lot of expert tipsters for ice hockey, try our Best Ice Hockey Tipsters page which will display only hockey tipsters who have shown a profit over the past year.

CSKA Moscow633
Ak Bars Kazan532
Metallurg Magnitogorsk422
Avangard Omsk312
Dynamo Moscow220
SKA Saint Petersburg220
Salavat Yulaev Ufa110
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl101
Atlant Moscow Oblast101
Traktor Chelyabinsk101
Lev Prague101

Past Continental Cup Winners

The Continental Cup is awarded to the regular-season winners, the team who amasses the most points prior to the playoffs, since the founding of the league, there has been a total of seven different winners of the trophy.

Do the Continental Cup winners do well in the playoffs? There is a simple answer to that and it's not really! You would expect following a very good regular season that the winners would go on to perform well in the postseason, however, in the eleven seasons (2019-20 had no postseason) only one Continental Cup winner has also gone on to win the Gagarin Cup, that was CSKA Moscow in the 2018-19 season.

Furthermore, only a total of three of the winner actually made the Gagarin Cup finals, the other two have also been CSKA Moscow who lost in the final in both 2016 & 2021. The Continental Cup has been awarded to a team from the Western Conference every year since 2013.

If you are planning on a bet on the KHL this season then before doing so make sure to read our Best Bookmaker for Ice Hockey guide to make sure that you get the most out of your betting experience.

SeasonTeam (Points)Playoff Outcome
2022-23SKA Saint Petersburg (W) (105)Lost in Conference Semi-Finals
2021–22No Winner
2020–21CSKA Moscow (W) (91)Lost in Gagarin Cup Finals
2019–20CSKA Moscow (W) (94)Playoffs not completed
2018–19CSKA Moscow (W) (106)Won Gagarin Cup
2017–18SKA Saint Petersburg (W) (138)Lost in Conference Finals
2016–17CSKA Moscow (W) (137)Lost in Conference Semi-Finals
2015–16CSKA Moscow (W) (127)Lost in Gagarin Cup Finals
2014–15CSKA Moscow (W) (139)Lost in Conference Finals
2013–14Dynamo Moscow (W) (115)Lost in Conference Quarter-Finals

2022-23 KHL Bracket

KHL Western Conference Teams

Teams in the Bobrov Division

The Bobrov Division is named after the great Vsevolod Bobrov, the former Soviet Union gold medalist and former CSKA Moscow player. SKA Saint Petersburg have dominated this division, since 2012, nine of the ten divisional titles have gone to them, the only year they did not win the division was in 2016 when the Finish team Jokerit Helsinki won it. Dynamo Moscow (2012 & 2013) and SKA Saint Petersburg (2015 & 2017) are the only two teams from the division to win the Gagarin Cup.

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod (FIN)Trade Union Sport Palace
SKA Saint PetersburgSaint Petersburg (RUS)Ice Palace12,30019462008
HC SochiSochi (RUS)Bolshoy Ice Dome12,0002014
Spartak MoscowMoscow (RUS)Megasport Arena12,12619462008
HC VityazPodolsk (RUS)Vityaz Ice Palace5,50019962008

Teams in the Tarasov Division

Named after the 'Father of Russian Hockey', the hockey hall of fame legend Anatoli Tarasov, the man who put the Soviet Union on the hockey map. The division has no surprise been dominated by CSKA Moscow given their playoff record, they have now won this division every year since 2015 (8 consecutive) and they are the only team from this division to have gone on to win the Gagarin Cup, the latest of which came in 2023.

CSKA MoscowMoscow (RUS)CSKA Arena12,10019462008
Dinamo MinskMinsk (BLR)Minsk-Arena15,08620042008
Red Star Kunlun
Beijing (CHN)Mytishchi Arena
Dynamo MoscowMoscow (RUS)VTB Arena10,49519462008
Lokomotiv YaroslavlYaroslavl (RUS)Arena 20009,07019592008
Severstal CherepovetsCherepovets (RUS)Ice Palace5,58319562008

KHL Eastern Conference Teams

Teams in the Kharlamov Division

The Kharlamov division is another division that is named after an Olympic gold medalist for the Soviet Union and former CKSA player, Valeri Kharlamov who is also inducted into the hockey hall of fame. It is one of the more competitive divisions, there have been five different winners of it although AK Bars Kazan does have a good record with seven wins including four of the last five. The division has been responsible for four Gagarin Cup wins but from only two teams with AK Bars Kazan (2010 & 2018) and Metallurg Magnitogorsk (2014 & 2016).

Ak Bars KazanKazan (RUS)TatNeft Arena8,89519562008
Avtomobilist YekaterinburgYekaterinburg (RUS)KRK Uralets5,54520062009
Metallurg MagnitogorskMagnitogorsk (RUS)Arena Metallurg7,70419502008
Neftekhimik NizhnekamskNizhnekamsk (RUS)SCC Arena5,50019682008
Traktor ChelyabinskChelyabinsk (RUS)Traktor Ice Arena7,50019472008

Teams in the Chernyshev Division

Arkady Ivanovich Chernyshev whom this division is named in honour of was remembered as more influential in the hockey world after his retirement from playing, he was the coach of the national team (Soviet Union) and also Dynamo Moscow and is inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame. The Kazakhstan team, Barys Astana have won the division for two of the past three years, they also won it in 2014 under a different name. Avangard Omsk's success in 2021 when winning the Gagarin Cup was the first time this division provided the winner since Salavat Yulaev Ufa won it in 2011.

Admiral VladivostokVladivostok (RUS)Fetisov Arena5,5002013
Amur KhabarovskKhabarovsk (RUS)Platinum Arena7,10019662008
Avangard OmskOmsk (Balashikha) (RUS)Balashikha Arena5,67819502008
Barys Astana
Astana (KAZ)Barys Arena11,50219992008
Salavat Yulaev UfaUfa (RUS)Ufa Arena8,07019572008
Sibir NovosibirskNovosibirsk (RUS)Ice Sports Palace Sibir7,42019622008

More Ice Hockey Blogs

As well as this blog and those already mentioned, here are the other ice hockey tournaments that we have looked at in blogs:

Author Information

Andy Powell manages this Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) Preview & Betting Guide and other hockey content in this section of the site as well as the Ice Hockey Tipsters in the OLBG tipster competition in his role in the OLBG Expert Team. Andy meticulously updates the date and results for these pieces and is an erstwhile Penguins fan in the NHL. He provides Ice Hockey betting advice in our bookmaker reviews as well as providing a huge contribution to the Best Ice Hockey Betting Sites Guide.

Andy Powell

Andy Powell

Content editor

Andy also possesses a keen interest in American sports with a particular affinity for the NFL and the NHL. He follows the Pittsburgh Penguins, emphasizing his broad palette for diversified sporting events.

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