Ice hockey is sometimes referred as “the fastest game on earth” and has some of the most passionate fans among all major team sports. Due to the surface of the pitch, both fans and punters traditionally hail from northern countries, specifically Canada, USA, Russia, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic. It is an action filled contact sport, with many goals and never ending fights, while at the same time showcasing the perfect mixture of individual talent combined with teamwork. Hockey as a sport has had a long history, dating back to the 18th century, however its principles have remained the same to this day.
Two teams compete against each other, with each side consisting of six players. One player acts as the goalkeeper, while the rest try to take possession of the puck, in order to either score a goal, while on the attack, or prevent a goal when defending. Ice hockey betting may not enjoy the same popularity such as other team sports among European punters (like football or basketball), however an increasing number of players are intrigued by the various markets found on the online bookmakers and obviously the breathtaking action of the game.
Like we mentioned, each team has six players, which are split to one goalkeeper and five outfield players, who are also called “skaters”. Typically, these will include three forwards and two defencemen. Like their names imply, forwards are tasked with putting the puck in the opposite net, while defencemen try to stop their opponents from scoring. Outfield players can only use their clubs/sticks to move the puck around (with a few exceptions) while the goaltender can use any part of his body in order to intercept the puck. However, the goaltender is technically not allowed from leaving his crease (the perimeter close to this goal).
Length of match
Every match is split into three periods of 20 minutes, with the clock running down when the puck’s in play. No ties are allowed on ice hockey which means that if there is no winner after 60 minutes of play, then a five minute overtime is played, with a “sudden death” goal ruling. Whoever manages to score the first goal will win the match, which may require more than one overtime.
Given that ice hockey is a contact sport, each player is bound to trade a couple of blows, while escalated fights are a common occurrence, sometimes even part of a team’s strategy. If a rule is violated (an infraction is made) then the referee will award a penalty that will result in one, or more players having to sit out for a certain time period (usually two minutes), depending on the severity of the offence. When a team is down a player, they are considered as “short handed“, while the team that has the numerical advantage is on a “power play“.
Ice Hockey Betting Markets
If you are familiar with football betting, then hockey wagering can be quite easy to get a hold on. The most common betting markets include:
Match result. You can bet on which side will win or the case of a draw. Most of the times, you can find better odds in handicapped lines, where the favorite must overcome a goal difference, or the underdog must not lose with more goals than the limit. A similar bet can be placed on the “draw no bet” market, where you must pick the match winner. If your selected team wins, you win. If the match ends as a tie, you get your stakes back and if your team loses, you lose your bet.
Match totals. You must predict whether the goals scored in the match, will surpass or not, a given line (over/under). There are usually two markets, a two way, consisting of handicapped lines and a three way that has three possible outcomes: either more, less or exact goals as the line offered. Bet365 has perhaps the best odds on ice hockey betting, by offering asian handicap odds and profitable NHL lines.
Next team to score. This one is pretty straightforward as well. You must pick which team will score the next goal, or whether there won’t be another goal.
Ten minute/period betting. Instead of punting on the full time result or number of goals, you have to predict which team will win a specific period or a ten minute period (i.e. 20:00-29:59), or even how many goals will be scored. This is a slightly risky bet, however it allows you to make perfect use of a team having the numerical superiority, in case of a penalty.
Team totals. Like in match totals, you have to select how many goals will one of the two sides score. You will be able to either choose from an exact number of goals, or an over/under line.
Both teams to score at least “X” goals. Depending on the tendency of each team to put the puck in the net and the goals & time period in the match, a bookie will offer a two way market, where you can choose whether both teams will, or will not score a certain amount of goals (e.g. both teams to score 3 goals).
Exact score. Pretty much like in soccer punting, you must predict the final score of the match. Usually this will include any added overtime.
All in all, ice hockey is one of the most fast paced sports in the world and whether you enjoy watching it or simply want to try your hands on a new sports market, then we highly recommend that you give it a try. In order to better describe hockey, we will use one of the most famous quotes of former superstar and current owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brendan Shanahan: “Is hockey hard? I don’t know, you tell me. We need to have the strength and power of a football player, the stamina of a marathon runner, and the concentration of a brain surgeon. But we need to put all this together while moving at high speeds on a cold and slippery surface while 5 other guys use clubs to try and kill us. Oh yeah, did I mention that this whole time we’re standing on blades 1/8 of an inch thick? Is ice hockey hard? I don’t know, you tell me. Next question.“
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