Everything You Need To Know About Betting On Ice Hockey
Ice hockey has fans all over the world and it is one of the most popular Olympic sports. The NHL is the strongest championship in the world, but there are several important tournaments in Europe as well. From a betting perspective, this sport has plenty to offer and it is a common sight at all major bookmakers. It pays off to learn how to bet on ice hockey, because there are many markets to choose from.
The NHL is preferred by punters because games take place on almost a daily basis. Another upside of betting on ice hockey is that the NHL is played when most football leagues are in recess. There is also a great deal of volatility in ice hockey betting, which mean punters need to commit a lot of time to research. Furthermore,a keen eye for news is important too, as the balance of power changes at the beginning of each season due to the drafting system.
The knowledge accumulated when betting on NHL matches can be put to good use in European tournaments. There are, however, significant differences that decrease the likelihood of many goals being scored. In this ice hockey betting guide, we will help you navigate the somewhat changeable nature of the sport to ensure you’re always making the right decisions when betting.
As happens with many popular sports, the origin of ice hockey is lost in history. One theory is that it evolved from the stick and ball games played in the UK in the 18th century, though most agree that the contemporary version of the game was developed in Canada at the end of the 19th century. It is the most popular sport in the Great White North, and some of the best players in the NHL are Canadians.
The first Stanley Cup trophy was awarded to a Canadian amateur team in 1893, and ice hockey was first played in the Olympics in 1920, cementing its place in history.
How is the Game of Ice Hockey Played?
Before learning how to bet on ice hockey, it’s important to understand the rules of the game. Two teams of six players go against each other, plus a goaltender for each squad. The objective is to score more goals than the opposite team during the three 20-minute periods. In order to score goals, players need to send the puck into the opposing team’s net using their hockey sticks.
The game begins with a face-off between two opposing players, as the referee drops the puck in the center circle. Players can be replaced during the game; and it’s frequent that you will see an entire line replaced simultaneously. When athletes commit a foul, penalties are issued and the perpetrators are sent off for two minutes. This gives the other team a clear advantage and when goals are scored during these intervals, they go by the name of power-play goals.
Defensive players use their hockey sticks to perform legal checking, to push the puck away from their opponents. By comparison, offensive players use advanced strategies, such as forechecking, to attack opponents in their defensive zone. In NHL, it is not uncommon for fights to break out and they are unofficially condoned. These fights add to the excitement of the game and the crowds seemed to enjoy them.
Different Types Of Ice Hockey Bets
Ice hockey is a fun sport to watch because it is fast-paced and a lot of things happen over short periods of time. As an ice hockey bettor, there are a number of different kinds of bets for you to choose from to make the most of this exciting sport. These bets are offered by all major bookmakers, and the odds are generally bigger than what punters are able to take advantage of when betting on other sports. However, since there is an indissoluble link between risk and reward, it’s vital to understand what each bet stands for.
These are the popular types of ice hockey betting:
Match Result in Regulation Time
The best odds on the winning team are offered by bookmakers to those who bet on the regulation time result. At the end of three periods of 20 minutes each, the winner is decided if a team has scored more goals than the other. This is the easiest way of betting on ice hockey if you are seeking to maximize potential profits.
In competitive ice hockey, there is no possibility for a draw, so the games continue if the score is tied after 60 minutes. Those who bet on the match result in regulation time lose their wagers if the score is tied. So there’s an element of risk to this bet, but you’ll be rewarded for that risk in the form of preferable odds, so it’s worth considering.
Moneyline Bet Including Overtime
Players who have just learned how to bet on ice hockey are advised to try another popular, and somewhat simplified, market. Moneyline bets are more straightforward, and thus a popular choice for newcomers to ice hockey betting: the winner is decided based on the result after extra time and penalties. If the score is tied after 60 minutes, the game continues with periods of extra time and if necessary, penalties. Any goals scored in extra time will lead to the immediate termination of the match— a “golden goal” scenario familiar to fans of most sports.
This bet really is the most straightforward bet of all, as it is based on the actual winner of the game, whether that victory is earned during regulation time or during overtime. You are simply betting on the team who you feel will leave the ice victorious.
Puck Line Handicaps
One of the first ice hockey betting explained terms that punters need to understand is the puck line handicap. This is a phrase specific to ice hockey, based on the popular spread betting technique. The puck line is normally set at 1.5 goals, with the favourite being handicap by two points. When you choose to place this kind of bet on the underdog, you can still win if your team loses by the odd goal.
Normally players use puck line handicaps to back the weaker team, when they expect a tight match. There are, however, ice hockey betting strategies that compel players to apply the handicap to the better team. If you expect a lopsided victory, it pays off to take slightly bigger chances for the sake of better odds.
Over and Under Goal Totals
This is the traditional Game Totals bet that bookmakers offer on all sports, and there are only small differences when used for ice hockey betting. Depending on the tournament you bet on, the line can be set at 4.5 or 5.5, but there are exceptions to the rule. It comes down to how good the two teams are at attacking and defending.
In this ice hockey betting guide, we advise players against tinkering with Over and Under bets until they have a thorough understanding of the hockey league. Tempting as it is to push the lines for the sake of bigger odds, bookmakers are well versed in the art of offering diminishing returns.
However, if you do want to give it a go, then remember this key rule: when betting on Overs, it’s important to choose markets that include extra time and penalties.
Correct Score Betting on Ice Hockey
This is pretty much the pinnacle of complexity for punters and the riskiest possible bet. Just as the name suggests, you are supposed to indicate the exact score recorded after regulation time. As ice hockey is a high-scoring game, it can be very difficult to accurately predict the correct score.
‘The biggest odds are offered on scoreless draws, because they are also the rarest. Beginners and risk-averse punters should stay away from correct score wagers because of the extraordinary variance. For savvy players, it is possible to use ice hockey betting strategies that can offset the risks. Correct score bets are not available at all bookmakers, but most of the prominent sports books offer these markets— so if you feel you can predict the goal number in this high-scoring sport, it might just be worth giving this a go.
Best Bookmaker For Ice Hockey Betting
Any respectable bookmaker will feature ice hockey in its selection and is likely to pay special attention to the NHL. We believe that Expekt is the best choice for those who plan on dwelling mostly on betting on ice hockey. They’ve been for more than a decade the sports book offering the biggest odds on regulation time markets. These happen to be the most popular ones for amateur punters, but also savvy players; so Expekt have a great all-round appeal that should work for most punters.
Match result in regulation time odds influence all the other markets, so you can expect bigger than average odds overall. Expekt allows punters to bet on the outright winner at the end of extra time and penalties. All the other popular betting types are featured, as well as several special markets. Depending on the importance of the match and the magnitude of the league, you can even bet on goal scorers and make prop bets.
While we wholeheartedly recommend this bookmaker when betting on ice hockey, we advise you to also do your research. Check the available odds at all major operators and ideally use an odds comparison site. However, our research suggests that you can count on Expekt to consistently offer top odds and a pleasing diversity of ice hockey markets.
Popular Ice Hockey Betting Terms
The rules of ice hockey are practically the same in matches played on both sides of the Atlantic. There are small differences between European competitions and the NHL, but these are relatively simple to adjust to. Of course, before placing any bets it’s worth going over the terms that can allow you to feel you have had ice hockey betting explained to you in a clear, concise manner. So, without further ado, here’s an overview of the essential terms you need to know…
- Live Betting — Betting on ice hockey game while the game is underway.
- Period Betting — Betting on the outcome of one or more of the three 20-minute periods in a match
- Alternate Lines — Special betting markets, based on regular money line and puck line, but at bigger odds.
- Prop Bets — Special bets on markets unrelated to the final outcome of the match.
- Exotic Wagers — Special bets, different from straight and parlay wagers.
- Parlay — Sn accumulator bet on two or more markets, combined on the same betting slip.
- Future Odds — Betting on odds given by bookmakers on the winner of a series, or even the World Series.
- Double Chance — Betting on a team to win or draw the match in regulation time.
- Team Totals — Betting on the total number of goals scored by one of the teams playing in a match
- Sharp Money — Bets placed by professional punters and well-known handicappers on ice hockey matches.
- Hedge — Betting on the opposite outcome of a previous bet, to guarantee a profit.
- ROI (return on Investment) —The percentage won per pound wagered on ice hockey matches.
Edge — The advantage players estimate to have on a bet; basically the exact opposite of the house edge.
Top Tips For Betting On Ice Hockey
Ice hockey has always been a popular sport, and continues to be a popular offering for many mainstream bookmakers. It doesn’t take long to learn how to bet on ice hockey, but the real challenge is to master the art to deliver the best results over a longer period of time. Nothing can replace experience, but there are a couple of things to do to enjoy a positive start to. Many of the most common mistakes committed by beginners can be avoided by following the following tips for betting on ice hockey:
Research The Impact of Power Plays and Penalty Killing
Having one extra player on the ice is extremely important and many goals are scored in power play. Ice hockey betting strategies for live wagers need to take into account the penalty killing effectiveness of the teams involved. Some teams are better than others at defending while their athlete is serving a suspension on the bench. Pay attention to the team stats regarding how often teams concede goals in power play. The impact of penalty killing and power plays is particularly important when big rivals meet in key matches.
Look For Goaltender Rest Periods
Ice hockey is a fast-paced sport in which many goals are often scored. However, only a small percentage of the shots sent towards the net actually get past the goalie. This is why the goalkeeper is a key player, if not the most important one on the ice. All teams have main goaltenders who defend the net throughout the season, but because of the high number of games, they need to take breaks. Sometimes coaches will choose to rest the goalkeeper when fatigue and injuries become a problem. These are the times when you can bet on a higher number of goals, or against the team who decides to rest the goalie.
Betting On Ice Hockey Goals
When Betting on Over and Under Markets in ice hockey, the line usually stands at 5.5 goals, but it can go up to 7.5 goals. Statistics can help you distinguish between high and low scoring teams and compare their performance against the Over/Under goals line. Having said this, averages can be distorted by a few extremely high or low scoring matches. Try to filter these exceptions out to get a more accurate value.
Generally, it is wise to bet on Over 4.5 Goals and Under 5.5 Goals, to cover the 2:2 draw in regulation time. For wagers that include overtime, a 2:2 score after 60 minutes turns the aforesaid bets into winners.
Finding Ice Hockey Value Bets
This is the most difficult thing to do when betting on ice hockey, but also the most profitable endeavour. Blindly backing the favourites is a sure-fire way of going broke and it’s better to back the underdogs if the odds exceed the risks. Losing individual bets is acceptable if you consistently bet on matches where the odds offered are greater than the chances you are taking. There’s no substitute for experience and practice in finding ice hockey value bets, but these are bets worth hunting.
Pick Special Ice Hockey Betting Markets Carefully
The rule of thumb for ice hockey betting is that the house gets the biggest edge on special markets. It is far more difficult to extract value from these markets if you don’t have a lot of experience with this sport. Betting on hunches or just because the special markets look tempting is a bankroll ruining mistake. There are, however, times when it is worth switching from common bets to special ones to cash in on the bigger odds. You can take advantage of the bookmakers’ tendency of casting the home side as favourites to win. Home ice advantage is important, but there are many occasions when this advantage is overrated. Try to find those matches where the hosts are in poor form, struggle with injuries, or likely to rest the goalie.