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Hockey Betting

To be honest, the popularity and passion for ice hockey in Canada should need no introduction, but let us start at the beginning for any newcomers reading this. Ice hockey is the number one sport in Canada and so with that comes a huge array of betting markets and money-making potential. The USA has American football, England has soccer, and Canada has ice hockey. Those are the facts and so in this guide we are going to show you how to get involved with hockey betting. 

We will walk you through the basics and what the different types of bets there are, we will explain a little bit about the game and why certain facts can help you in your search for winning bets, and we will also point you in the right direction for which of the leagues and tournaments provide the best betting action, so let’s get to it.

Facts & Information on Ice Hockey

The National Hockey League of North America is the most popular league for ice hockey in the world, and most of you will know this simply by the acronym, NHL. The league is followed by fans from every corner of the globe and this is why you will find many betting markets dedicated to the sport, and this exciting league in particular, at all the top online bookmakers. 

The NHL consists of 30 teams which are located all across Canada and the United States. Each of the teams are scheduled with 82 games within a regular season, and so this in itself brings a lot of betting opportunities. The hockey schedule is packed full of games and that means a constant flow of betting markets to analyse and bet on. The sheer number of markets available on the bigger bookmaker sites also means that sharp-eyed NHL fans may find inaccurate odds from time to time, and those are the bets that can give you a long term edge over the sportsbook.

Why is Ice Hockey Betting So Popular in Canada?

The game is often described as the fastest game on earth and it is not hard to see why when you watch a live game. Speed, skill, physical performance, and the sheer excitement of the game is almost guaranteed with every match, especially when the game boils over and players take matters into their own hands, literally! The game has naturally evolved in geographical locations that suffer harsh winters, but from those cold and hostile climates a sporting spectacle has grown and, in our case, has provided us with great betting entertainment, too.

Popular Ice Hockey Bets

No matter which hockey league you follow, the league format and cup competitions follow the likes of soccer and football. This goes for both international and club levels, and so you can find similar betting markets available which basically allows you to follow more or less the same betting strategies.

Below we have listed some of the most popular betting markets to follow when first betting on ice hockey. This list should give you more than enough entertainment as you find your way in this fast-paced and exciting sport.

Outright Bet – League & Competitions

The outright bet offers some of the best potential returns based on your overall profits, especially when you place these bets early on in the season or competition. Basically, you pick a team to win the league over the season, or a particular competition, and if they win, you win. 

On club hockey level, you will find multiple bets being offered throughout the season. For example, the NHL has two Divisional titles available to win in both of the two Conferences. From each Conference, the top eight teams take part in a knockout style playoff with the last two teams taking part in the overall Conference Finals. 

The Prince of Wales trophy goes to the Eastern Conference winner. The Clarence S Campbell Bowl goes to the winner of the Western Conference. The overall NHL winner is then contested between these two Conference champions, in what is known as the biggest and most popular outright betting market in professional ice hockey, the Stanley Cup.

Other outright markets to keep an eye out for include the Presidents Trophy which goes to the team who achieved the most points throughout the regular season, before all the playoffs and the Stanley Cup is played. 

If you want to look further afield then we suggest taking a look at the Swedish Hockey League, the Kontinental Hockey League, and a little closer to home, the American Hockey League. All of which contain many opportunities to put down early season outright winners.

Match Result - inclusive of Overtime (OT)

The simplest bet of them all and all you need to do here is pick the winner of the individual match during regulation time and/or overtime. Whoever you think will leave the ice rink as the victor, this is who you should put your money on. For example, you think that New Jersey Devils will beat New York Islanders then you back New Jersey to Win, simple. As we said earlier, due to the sheer number of matches played throughout a season, you will have thousands of opportunities to place your match result bets.

Correct Score

A follow on from the Match Result is the Correct Score betting market and while this is a lot harder to predict, the potential profit is a lot higher. You choose the score that you think the game will end on between the two teams, such as 5-1 to Toronto Maple Leafs against the Florida Panthers. The draw result is also an option such as 3-3 or 4-4 if you think the teams will end up in a stalemate at the end of regulation time.

Puck Line Handicaps

The ‘Ice Hockey Betting Puck Line’ betting market is unique to the sport of ice hockey, but in all truth, it is a simple deviation on the typical handicap betting. Instead of creating a point or goal spread against the underdog or the favourite, you create a goal puck line which is usually +1.5 to the underdog. It means that the underdog must not lose by two goals or more else the bet is lost, similarly, if you back the favourite on a -1.5 goal puck line handicap then they must win the game by at least two goals or more for the bet to profit.

Total Goals Over/Under

One of the most popular betting markets across any sport is the over/under goals or points market. It helps you to even out the odds as you are betting on the total goals scored by both teams, and so you are not so dependent on one of the teams winning. You just want goals, or a lack of goals if you bet on the under market. 

Take a match between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins where there is usually a flurry of goals, you may think the game will end up 4-2 to Boston. Therefore, you can back the +5.5 goals bet if you think there will be at least six goals in the game. It might even end up 5-1 to Chicago, but you would still win the bet because there were more than 5.5 goals scored in the game overall.

Popular Ice Hockey Tournaments

You will never be short of hockey games to watch or bet on with leagues and competitions being played out throughout the year and across most continents. The IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) holds around 74 members and there are numerous amateur teams trying to promote their star players up into the bigger leagues. It is a huge setup and so we have narrowed down the major and most important tournaments and leagues and detailed them in the list below:

Our Top Tips for Betting on Ice Hockey

As we have seen, ice hockey is a huge sport that is played and followed by fans from every corner of the globe, even those countries where ice is rare! The attraction of the high-intensity games is something that can’t be matched in any other sport, and so with all that popularity there comes a chance to make some money with your betting. As always, you need to stick to a betting strategy and put yourself in a position where you are not betting blindly, in as much as you at least know a little bit about the game or league you want to bet on. 

Ultimately, the more you know, the better the chance that you will find those bets with great betting value – as that is where the bigger betting profits lie. So, let our experts offer you a few tips and tricks for betting on hockey. Take them on board and see if you can start to pull in some bigger profits over the next hockey season.

  1. Understand the Game & Rules

It makes sense to get to grips with the hockey rules before you start betting on the sport. Just a basic grasp of how long the game lasts, how many goals are scored on average, and learning the playing styles for both the top players and teams are all going to help you out when you come to placing your next hockey bet.

  1. Who are the dominant teams?

As in any sport, there are always teams who dominate the league or competitions. These teams attract the top players as well as the best youngsters to build a solid team and bench, which then becomes very hard to play against. So, although the odds for backing the dominant teams might not always be great, you can find profits if you look across the length of a season. Check out what the usual win/loss rate is for a top team over their last few seasons and see if you can spot a potential profit opportunity.

  1. Home & Away Form

In most sports the advantage of playing at home is always going to help but some teams begin to make their home stadium a fortress over the course of a season. It is worth studying the form over the last handful of games to see where significant home advantage lies. You will often find that the fans help a team along to victory as well, and so a traveling team who are not playing well on the road is going to have a hard time playing at one of these ‘fortresses’. Teams playing with a lot of confidence which then ripples up into the stands to the fans is an important factor to think about.

Three Best Bookmakers for Ice Hockey Betting in Canada

Betting at the right bookmaker is always going to make your experience that more comfortable, not to mention more rewarding due to the extra bonuses on offer. Ice hockey and the NHL in particular is a popular sport and so you will find that most top bookmakers track the sport with in-depth betting markets. We have listed some of them below to give you a head start, but as always, it is worth signing up to a handful of sites to ensure that you can always place your bet with the best odds possible.

Unibet

The Scandinavian bookmaker has ice hockey at its heart and so you will definitely find betting markets on the NHL and the European leagues such as the SHL and KHL. Unibet is renowned for its vast betting options and along with its many bonus offers, you can find plenty of entertainment and ways to boost your bankroll on a regular basis. Additionally, they freely accept Canadians and their Canadian Dollars to their popular sportsbook.

William Hill

William Hill is a bookmaker with experience and many years of knowledge in the betting business. You know exactly what you are getting with this bookmaker. The British-based bookie holds a lot of space for soccer and racing, but ice hockey markets can be easily found too. With great odds and bonuses it is always a solid option for betting fans based in Canada.

Mr Green

Mr Green might not be your typical sportsbook choice, but they are slowly building up a large community of sports betting fans at their site. The Mr Green sportsbook is easy to use and the fact that they include outright and live in-play ice hockey betting markets, across the top leagues and competitions, means that it really should be on your list of bookmakers to try out. A quick flick of the language settings and you will have your Canadian odds and currency ready to go.

FAQ - Hockey Betting

Which hockey leagues should I bet on?

For beginners, you will be best off betting on the NHL as this is where the top teams and players play. Consistency is key and you will experience less upsets when betting on the world’s number one hockey league.

Can I watch the hockey games while I bet?

Yes, many of the bookmakers offer live streaming from their websites but sometimes you will need to have made a bet on the event to watch the stream. You can then freely watch and enjoy the in-play markets right until the final buzzer.

Are there good bonuses out there for ice hockey betting fans?

Most of the sportsbook bonuses will allow you to use your money on the ice hockey markets unless it is specified otherwise. Some of the top bookmakers create unique bonuses for the NHL as well, so it is worth keeping your eye on the promotions page each week.