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Ice hockey is a popular sport, garnering the attention of millions of viewers. According to the latest numbers from Statista, the National Hockey League (NHL) has a strong viewership of 2.43 million viewers in the US alone. Of these numbers, roughly 12% consider themselves avid fans.
However, when it comes to ice hockey betting, the interest isn’t the same. The reason? Not many are aware of how to bet on ice hockey. In this article, we’ll provide you with comprehensive information about ice hockey, betting strategies, and ice hockey leagues.
The Game of Ice Hockey
Many consider ice hockey one of the most intense sports out there, and rightfully so. Games are fast-paced and highly physical. Each of the players must be skilled enough to make sure they can goal the put, while on their ice skates and battling it out with their opponents. Despite this, it’s one of the most popular sports, particularly in areas with more intense winters, such as the United States, Canada, and Europe.
How to Bet on Ice Hockey Online
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of ice hockey betting, it’s important to understand how the game is played. The game involves two teams, each with six members. One will serve as the goaltender, while the other five will play in the outfield.
The objective of the game is to have more goals than the opponent. The score is awarded when a player hits a rubberized disc (puck) using a hockey stick into a goal. The entire match has three 20-minute periods for a total of 60 minutes of playing time.
Each playing period begins with a “face-off” where two opposing players will grab possession of the puck after the referee drops it in the center circle of the rink.
If you want to bet on ice hockey online, you have to choose a reliable sportsbook that can show you the action as it happens. It should also allow you to make bets according to your preference. This may include betting on the outright winner of a match, league, or the Stanley Cup. Online ice hockey betting also allows you to bet on the winner of individual games, first to score a goal, and the next goal scorer, among others.
Types of Bets on Ice Hockey Tournaments
League or Tournament Outright Winner
Also called an outright bet, this type of bet is when you choose a specific team to win a competition. It doesn’t have to be the big leagues since ice hockey has several events you can place your bets on, especially during an ice hockey season. But, if you want to make huge wins, you can reserve your bets for international leagues, such as the Ice Hockey World Championship. This competition happens yearly. Another option is the Winter Olympics every four years. During these tournaments, you can place your bets on outright winners of the individual groups and the competition.
Such kinds of bets are also possible at the club level. The NHL has two Divisional titles for each of the two conferences. The best eight teams from each conference enter the playoffs using a knockout format. The last two teams will play against each other in the finals. The conference winners will then compete to secure the Stanley Cup. For many avid bettors, this is the crown of ice hockey betting. So, if you want to secure a big win, you must gun for this league.
Aside from the Stanley Cup, the President’s Trophy is another coveted prize. It’s awarded to the team who completes the league with the most number of points in a regular season. If you’re following the league, you might want to place your bets on who will receive the trophy.
Other leagues to watch out for are the Swedish Hockey League, Kontinental Hockey League, and the American Hockey League.
Match Result in End of Regulation
If you’re a newbie in betting, you might want to bet on ice hockey using the most straightforward bet – the match result. You bet on which team will win a particular match. It’s simple but can be tricky. In case you don’t know, draws can happen, wherein both teams will have the same score after 60 minutes. However, the match will not be considered a draw. Instead, the Golden Goal rule in overtime will prevail, and this means the team to first score is the winner.
What does this mean?
For example, team A and team B have similar scores at the end of the regulation. If you chose team A and they end up winning the overtime match, but team B scored first, you still lose your bet.
1. Match Result with OT
So, if you want an even simpler bet, match result with OT is the best option. The bet is based on the game’s actual winner, regardless of when they earned the win. Your bet is on which team will leave the rink in victory.
2. Puck Line Handicaps
If you’ve been following ice hockey betting for some time now, you may have heard about the term, “ice hockey betting puck line.” It may be a niche bet for ice hockey, but it has similarities to traditional spread betting. The point spread is given to the underdog and favorite team.
Often, the puck line is at 1:5, where the underdog will get an additional 1.5-goal puck line handicap. If you place your bets on the underdog, they should not be behind by two or more goals for you to win your bet. In the same line, the favorite will get a -1.5 puck line, wherein they must win by two goals for your bet to win.
3. Goal Total Over/Under
In this type of bet on ice hockey, you choose what you think will be the number of goals in a hockey game. For instance, in games where teams often make goals, you can think of the final score to be at least 3-2, totaling 9 goals in at least a game. If, however, you think the teams are unlikely to make over five goals, you should bet -5.5. If you believe more than six goals, bet +5-5.
4. Correct Score
The correct score bet on ice hockey refers to the actual score at the end of the game. Will the game be tied a the end of the regulation, or will there be a particular scoreline? Say you’ve been following the Blackhawks and notice a pattern on their scores. You can choose an exact scoreline, such as 5-3. It can be tricky, and the odds are often high since you have to select the precise score.
Ice Hockey Leagues to Bet On
As mentioned, there are tons of ice hockey leagues that you can bet on. Here are some of them:
National Hockey League (NHL)
The biggest professional league in ice hockey is the NHL. It consists of 30 teams from the United States and Canada. It has two leagues, the Eastern and Western conferences, which have 16 and 14 teams, respectively.
From October to mid-April, you can bet on ice hockey during the regular season. Teams will compete during the playoffs and head to the Stanley Cup.
One of the most popular sports during the Winter Olympics is ice hockey. Most of the top teams are comprised of professional players. Based on recent events, the most successful team is Canada. So you might want to consider this when placing your bets for the next Winter Olympics.
While waiting for the Winter Olympics, you can place your bet on ice hockey at the annual World Championships. This event features the top 16 national teams worldwide.
Kontinental Hockey League (KHL)
Founded in 2008, the Kontinental Hockey League is a professional ice hockey league composed of 28 teams from Eastern Europe. It’s considered to be one of the most established ice hockey leagues in Asia and Europe, gaining tons of interest from avid fans.
The best teams in the KHL include Jokerit Helsinki, Dinamo Minsk, Dynamo Moscow, SKA Saint Petersburg, and Medveščak Zagreb.
Swedish Hockey League (SHL)
The beauty of placing an online bet on ice hockey is that you can do it with any team, even from across the planet. So, if you’re interested in betting on Swedish competition, the Swedish Hockey League is another option you can explore. Take note that the Swedish national team clinched the World Championship nine times.
American Hockey League (AHL)
For minor tournaments, you can check out the AHL. The teams have club affiliations that develop young talent. So, it’s actually a great place to scout for future ice hockey players.
Now that you have an idea about how to bet on ice hockey, it’s time to bring out your list of teams to follow—research them, including their team performance. You still have plenty of time before the regular season of NHL opens. So, start choosing your teams now.