Hockey is quite popular in some parts of the world, like Europe (including Russia) and North America, but it can’t compare with the absolute king of all sports, football. Even in some hockey countries, the sport is considered inferior to other sports like basketball or tennis and in the US inferior to baseball and American football. This is the reason why bookmakers’ lists on hockey matches were rather scarce.
However, lately the situation is improving. In the US, the cooperation between bookmakers and sports organizations and the development of the Continental Hockey League were very important towards this end. Today, bookmakers offer attractive and rich bet lines for matches of this championship, being further promoted by the fact that Fonbet became one of the sponsors of KHL. The same holds true for the World Championship, as the League of Bets cooperates with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), which offers good listings for the matches. The rest are striving to follow and as such hockey fans can’t really feel being left out.
Unlike some sports like football being the same all over the world, hockey is a game played differently in Europe and North America. It’s like two worlds that – although overlap – have their own rules. One basic difference is that the European ice hockey fields are wider (28-30 meters) compared to the North American fields which are subsequently narrower (26 meters). Another difference has to do with the fact that hockey in North America is much more power-driven and aggressive with teams playing exclusively forward. Matches, therefore, are more dynamic and the game is more effective. Moreover, comebacks and unexpected game results are very common in North America.
Hockey is not much different from football when it comes to betting. The basic bets are on the outcome of the match, total and handicaps, but there are more events offered for betting as well. But let’s start with the basic ones.
In hockey betting you try to predict how a match will end in the regular time. There are six different scenarios in total:
We see again here that these bets refer to the regular time of the match which ends with the final siren in the third period. However, most of the time in hockey games, the winner is determined in overtime or after a series of post-match shots and so there are also available bets on the outcome of the whole match, where you can bet on the winner of the entire game whether the win is done during the regular time or in the overtime.
Let’s see an example. A fan bets on “W2” in the match between Lightning and Canadiens in the Fourth Stanley Cup Final match. This means that the bet is going to win if the Montreal club wins within the regular time of the match. The match ends with the Canadiens winning 3-2, but only with a goal in the overtime and so the bet is lost.
Total bets. Just like in football, there are numerous options for Total bets in hockey – total of the match or the individual total of any of the two teams. Betting on the total of a match means that a certain number of pucks should be scored at the end of the game. When betting on this total it is critical to pay attention to whether the bet refers to the match’s regular time or the entire match (including overtime) because the odds will be different in each case. Betting on “Total Regular Time Over 4.5” means that you will win if at least five goals are scored in the match – four or fewer goals mean that the bet loses.
On the other hand, individual totals have to do with the number of goals scored by a specific team, regardless whether this team wins or loses in the end.
Let’s see an example. A fan wagers on “Canadiens Individual Total Over 2.5” in the third Stanley Cup Final match between Lightning and the Canadiens. This bet is rather risky, given that the Montreal Club has only scored one goal in each of the two previous games. The match eventually ends with Canadiens being defeated by Lightning in a 3-6 score, but the bet is won because the team scored more than 2.5 goals (it scored 3 goals).
Handicap bets in hockey are also similar to handicap betting in football. Here, you try to predict the difference in score at the end of the match. The handicap can be positive or negative. When positive, the team must not concede with a difference more than the one suggested by the handicap and when negative, the team needs to have an advantage greater than the indicator of the bet.
Let’s see an example. A fan bets on Lightning Handicap (-2.5) in the first Stanley Cup Final match between Lightning and the Canadiens, being confident that the team will beat its opponent in the opening match. To win this bet, Lightning must win by more than 2.5 – so by three or more. The match eventually ends with a victory of Lightning in a 5-1 score, and the bet is won since the team’s advantage is 4 (which is over 2.5).
Now, besides the bets on outcome, total and handicap there are also other events offered for betting in hockey. These are the time intervals when the first/last puck will be scored, the team that will open the score or the last one to score, the correct score of a match and much more.
Things to consider before betting on hockey
1) Teams’ form. Before betting on a hockey match, it is useful to consider some issues such as: which of the teams is the favorite, what is the form of both teams, whether any of the teams has a winning or a losing streak etc. All these are very important and at the same time they are not difficult to analyze, as there are 2 to 3 matches held every week.
2) Team Lineups. Hockey offers more opportunities for rotation and as such the loss of one player is not as significant as it is in football. However, this does not mean that an injury of a lead goalkeeper will go unnoticed or that the best striker being traded to another team will not make a difference. Nor does it mean that when the coach rests the leaders or when a player is suddenly disqualified and thus disorganizing the team, the match will be unaffected.
3) History of head-to-head meetings. Hockey also has awkward opponents and before betting it is useful to do some analysis on issues such as the kind of hockey games the coaches prefer or possible inconveniences in matches against the rival. It is important to keep in mind that in both NHL and KHL, teams play on a two-point system, in which a victory in regular time and overtime gives the same points.
4) Motivation. Everyone needs glasses, but some need them more. When a team has a long winning streak, then it is likely to experience a defeat. In fact the longer the steak lasts, the more likely it is to end soon, because everyone wants to beat the invincible. Generally, when it comes to movativation a number of factors should be considered.
It is rather clear by now that the possibilities for betting on hockey are quite many. The intensity of the schedule, which means that more matches are being held, eventually makes betting more interesting and dynamic. All it takes is an analysis of the available information and the selection of the appropriate match.
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