Ice hockey is often thought of as the Canadian sport of choice. While this is true, it also has a level of popularity in other countries. Both America and Russia have large ice hockey followings, and there is even a burgeoning scene in England. When it comes to placing wagers on ice hockey, it is some way behind other markets out there, but it is still growing year on year. With all that being said, the Betting Veteran is here to educate you on all things ice hockey and NHL.
betting on nhl hockey

Some say that the Betting Veteran has a library of sports stats bigger than most universities. Others say that he keeps everything in his head. What everyone can agree on is that he is the foremost expert on sports betting. If you want to know something about sports betting, then the Betting Veteran is your first port of call. If you can find him, that is.

Ice hockey background

Hockey has been around for well over 200 years. There are even thoughts that it has been in existence in some form for over 700 years! Ice hockey has not been around for quite so long, however. It is believed that ice hockey was first originated around 220 years ago when British immigrants to Canada and America brought hockey over during the winter.

By the early 20th century, the sport was beginning to become more than just groups getting games together, and by 1927, the NHL had been set up and was well on the way to being the huge sport that it is today. The game itself is a simple attack-versus-defence game, where both teams try to score points by hitting a round disc called the puck into a net. As the name suggests, it is played on ice and the players use ice skates to get around the rink. 

Ice hockey terms

Puck – this is the item that is hit in ice hockey, replacing the ball that is usually used in other team sports.

Bar down – this is when a shot hits the crossbar of the goal and goes into the net afterwards.

Stick – the stick is what the players use to hit the puck.

Hand pass – this is when you pass the puck using your hand. This is only allowed inside your own defensive zone.

Sieve – when a goaltender is particularly bad, they are known as a sieve, because they let a lot through them.

Coast to coast – running all the way from one end of the rink to the other with the puck.

Chirp – trash talking to opponents.

Goon – a player who is not much of a hockey player but is there to fight if the best player on the team is getting targeted.

Wraparound – when a player tries to score from behind the net in one complete motion.

Flamingo – when a player lifts their leg in the air because they are afraid of being hit by the puck.

Types of pre-game bets

There are three main ways to place wagers in ice hockey. Despite being quite a popular sport, there is still a smaller amount of markets on offer when compared to other sports such as football and basketball. This does not mean that ice hockey is without markets to place wagers on though.

The first and main way that people place wagers on ice hockey is via moneyline bets. A moneyline bet is, put simply, a type of bet in which you choose who you think will be the winner of the game. There is no tie option in ice hockey, so you will either pick the home or the away team.

The second option that gamblers are offered is the puckline. This is very similar to handicap betting. In fact, it is handicap betting just with a different name. Most online bookmakers will offer both the moneyline and the puckline as the main options when choosing a wager. The puckline will offer improved odds over the moneyline, depending on which way the handicap is leveraged. For example, if the Rangers were playing the Leafs and the Rangers were the favourites, then the puckline may offer a -1.5 handicap to the Rangers and a + 1.5 handicap to the Leafs.

If you choose to place a wager on the Rangers with this puckline, then you will receive increased odds when betting on the Rangers. This is because in terms of your bet, the Rangers will be starting the game with a score of -1.5. However, if you place a wager on the Leafs, then you will receive slightly lower odds as the Leafs will be starting the game on a score of +1.5. You are then afforded the opportunity to either wager on the favourites with slightly better odds or wager on the underdogs with a better chance of your wager coming in.

The final popular option is the total goals market. This is simply placing a wager on the total number of goals that will be scored by both teams combined during the game. It is usually done in intervals of 0.5 and offers an over/under option. Most wagers will only cover goals scored during normal time. There is a separate total goals wager available that covers overtime goals. The total goals wager is often taken up by gamblers who like to use stats to decide on their bets.

Types of in-play bets

The in-play bets that are offered on ice hockey are very similar to the pre-game bets that are available. The moneyline wagers are still on offer. However, the main difference is that the odds will change as the game is underway. If the favourites go ahead, then the odds on them to win will shorten even more. However, if the favourites go behind early on, then the odds on them to win will lengthen, which means that it could be a good opportunity to place a wager on the favourites and get a good level of return.

Puckline wagers are less common than in-play bets, but they are still available. It is still possible to place a handicap wager on a team when they are winning or losing a game. It will help to increase the odds or make placing a wager on an underdog more likely to come in.

The most common wager that is available in play for ice hockey is based around the total goals market. Because ice hockey is split into three periods, it is often possible to place a wager on the total number of goals that will be scored in a specific period. This can be both over and under a certain amount. If you are planning on betting on under a certain amount, then the odds will shorten as the game goes on, as the less time there is left to score, the more likely that the wager is to come in. However, if there is a flurry of goals, then the odds for an under bet are likely to increase. An over wager will have odds that increase as the timer counts down. So the later you leave it to place a wager on there being over a certain number of goals, the higher the potential return. Of course, if a goal is scored, then the odds for an over wager will fall again.

Accumulators or singles?

Choosing between an accumulator and a single wager in ice hockey can be difficult. While they are not as common as in other sports, they are still on offer to players. This means that it is possible to increase the potential returns available from betting on two or more games at a time by pairing them up. The way that an accumulator works is that the winnings from the first bet will be placed onto the second bet and so on for as many games as you have chosen. This means that you will technically be placing more money on each subsequent wager and as such will get a greater return at the end of it.

When deciding whether to choose an accumulator or single bets, it is important to weigh up the risk. Despite having greater returns, an accumulator also has much greater risk. Just one game losing will cause your whole wager to fail, while if you had put them on as singles, then one game losing would still offer a return.

Analysing the stats 

Looking at the stats for ice hockey is very important. Because teams can go on runs of form, just as players can as well, the stats will show up who is currently in form as well as who is likely to score, as well as how many they are likely to score. This can be used to increase the probability of a wager winning, though it does not guarantee that a wager will win.

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