Updated Updated: December 13, 2019

Ice Hockey Betting Guide | Sites, Tips and Types of Bets Explained

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 Ice hockey is a popular sport to watch and place a bet on, especially in North America,
Northern Europe and Russia. The holy grail of ice hockey players worldwide is
to play in the NHL (National Hockey League) in the United States.

NHL is by
far the most watched and financially rewarding ice hockey league in the world.
That is even though in the USA, ice hockey comes 4th on the list of the most
watched sports, after American Football (NFL), baseball (MBL) and basketball

In the United
Kingdom, ice hockey is played professionally in an eleven team format in the
Elite Ice Hockey League, founded in 2003. Ice hockey in the UK experienced
worldwide success, in the beginning, winning medals in World Championships and
even gold at the 1936 Winter Olympics in Germany. However, since the Second
World War it has all dwindled down.

While in the
most parts of the world the word hockey alone is identical with ice hockey, in the UK it might create some uncertainty due to field hockey, which is played on
grass or artificial turf. To avoid any confusion for the remainder of the
article, in any instance the word hockey is used, it will most definitely refer
to ice hockey.

Ice Hockey Explained

Before you
jump in and start betting on ice hockey, it is very important to have a solid
understanding of the game. An ice hockey match is played between two teams of
six players and the match lasts one hour of regulation time. It is split into
three periods, each consisting of 20 minutes. The object of the game is to win
by scoring the puck into the opponents’ net more times than they do. The puck
is a small circular disk made of vulcanized rubber that easily slides on ice.
The net or goal in ice hockey is merely 120 cm tall and 180 cm wide. When you
add a rather large goaltender on the line of the net, it is no wonder why
hockey is considered by many bettors a low scoring sport.

An ice
hockey game will always end with a winner, some rare exceptions being an
exhibition or friendly match. Hockey games that are tied at the end of the
regular 60 minute play time, will go to overtime and play on a Golden Goal
rule. This makes a difference when it comes to betting on ice hockey, whether
to bet on a team winning in regulation time or with overtime included.

Ice hockey
is also known as a very physical and violent sport. It has its own structure of
penalties and sin bins. For example, if a hockey player is called for a
dangerous foul, he is sent to a sin bin for 2 minutes or until the opposing
team scores a goal. There is no limit on how many players can be sent to a sin
bin at the same time. Also, the 2 minutes penalty can be increased, depending
on the level of the player’s infraction.


Ice Hockey Betting Rules

Betting on
ice hockey is pretty straightforward. Similar to betting on other sports like
football, you have a choice of who will win, total goals scored and other
common markets. However, some ice hockey rules might catch you unprepared if
you are not familiar with them. As such, it is crucial to take the time to
familiarize yourself with the main rules in order to avoid any mistakes when
placing bets.


Ice Hockey Matches Do Not End In Draws

This is very important to understand
before placing a bet. Unless it’s an exhibition or friendly, ice hockey matches
do not end in a draw. An ice hockey match that ends in draw settles by going to
overtime and sudden death if no winner is decided in the extra time period. How
long and how many overtime periods there are depends on the match, whether it’s
a regular season or a play-off in NHL, in the Winter Olympics or the World
Championships. Regardless, pay close attention when you place a bet on the
winner or goals in an ice hockey match, whether or not your bookmaker counts
overtime or not.


Power Plays

Hockey, is largely considered one of
the most demanding team sports, where strength, endurance and stamina are
essential. A hockey team that’s on ice has 6 players only, of which 1 is the
goaltender. If for whatever reason, a hockey player is sent to the sin bin for
2 minutes, it puts great pressure on his team while giving the opponents a
chance to dominate. This is even more important to understand if you want to
place a live bet on ice hockey during a power play.


Unlimited Substitutions

While a hockey team only has six
players on the ice at the same time, the size of its squad is usually around 20
players. Each team is allowed an unrestricted number of substitutions
throughout the match. Ice hockey is characterized by its high-intensity
intermittent skating, with quick changes in speed and velocity, and numerous
body contacts. In hockey, most substitutions are not on an individual basis.
Instead, a group of players substitute another group of players in what is
called a line change. This can definitely look chaotic especially to the
unfamiliar eye.


Betting Strategy

The biggest
ice hockey leagues in the world are the NHL (teams from the United States and
Canada) and the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League with teams from Russia, China,
Belarus, Finland, Kazakhstan, and Latvia). As a general rule of thumb for
bettors, these two hockey leagues will offer the best-betting markets.

The best way
to bet on ice hockey is to follow two universal rules of betting that apply
across all sports and markets: statistical research and a staking plan.


Statistical Research

When you
look at a team’s most recent matches and head-to-head results against a current
opponent, you might see some trends show up. For example, in NHL the stats for
the number of total goals per game are pretty consistent. This gives a bettor
some good opportunities to use the stats of a hockey team that is either high
or low scoring, and back a bet accordingly. Even more opportunities are in the
live in-play markets. If you see two high scoring teams with high scoring
head-to-head stats, who are playing now and it’s 0-0 after the first period,
it’s likely the goals will start flowing.


Staking Plan

The staking
plan is the very foundation to be successful in betting long-term. The idea is
to use your funds wisely and turn them into long term profit. It takes
discipline and hard work but it is all worth it. Ice hockey is a fast, intense
and very physical sport which makes it highly unpredictable at times. A staking
plan is necessary to turn betting on ice hockey profitable in the long run.

The idea of
a staking plan is to always only use a percentage of your funds to back a bet.
That percentage depends on your level of confidence in the bet and it is set in
your staking plan and does not change from bet to bet. It sounds easy but it is
challenging, especially for the get-rich-quick bettor. There are many staking
plans suggestions with the most common and recommended figures as follows:

in your bet

% of your funds used to back the bet








Taking those
figures and putting them in a practical example, if your betting balance is
£100, your stake on the most confident bet should be £5.00. That may seem a
small amount to back a bet you are very confident will win. That is also the
main reason most staking plans fail, lack of discipline and not looking at the
long-term picture.


Other Ice Hockey Betting Tips

Who Is The Goaltender?

With only
six players on the ice, the role each one plays is essential to the outcome of
the match. In particular, a goaltender’s role is of huge importance.
Goaltenders appear large in front of a 120cm tall and 180cm wide goal, wearing
a helmet, padded equipment everywhere, and a stick. But things change when you
take into consideration they are defending the goal against a puck that’s only
76 mm in diameter and 25 mm in thickness which can reach speeds of over 100
miles per hour. With that in mind, it is encouraged to do some research on the
goaltenders in an ice hockey match, see their previous results and determine what
kind of streak they are on.


Home Or Away Match?

When you
consider backing a team in ice hockey, always take into consideration if the
team is playing home or away and how that influences the team’s performances.
There is a lot of money in ice hockey, especially in the NHL, with stadiums
often filled with fans for regular season matches. Some hockey teams perform
better in front of their home crowd, others perform worse, while others are
neutral. It is worth knowing those stats before placing a bet.


How to bet on ice hockey

Money Line

The money
line is the most popular market when betting on ice hockey. It means you bet on
a team to win the match, whether in the regular time, overtime or a penalty

Puck Line

Similar to
handicap betting, puck lines even out the playing field between underdogs and favourites
in ice hockey. They are usually listed as +/- 1.5. For example, if you back
Chicago Blackhawks at -1.5 puck line against Columbus Blue Jackets at +1.5,
they would need to win by 2 or more goals difference. Alternatively, if you
backed the Columbus Blue Jackets, they could lose and still make you money, as long
as they don’t lose by more than one goal.

Over / Under Goals

In this
market you select how many goals will be in a hockey match. You can back the
two-way line by selecting either over 5.5 or under 5.5 goals for example. This
is pretty identical with the football over/under line. Alternatively, you can
back a score line within a bracket, such as 3-4 goals, 4-5 goals, etc. If you
bet on 4-5 goals, to win the bet the hockey match has to end with either 4 or 5
goals scored. Lastly, there is the over/under/ exactly market where you have
three different selections such as: over 5 goals, under 5 goals, exactly 5

Markets by Period

Most bookmakers
will offer markets to bet on by the end of each period of a hockey match. You
can bet on puck lines or over/under goals per period. For example, Boston
Bruins -1.5 first period puck line means they would have to win by 2 goals or
more at the end of the first period for the bet to be settled a winner.

Team Goals

This is the
over/under goals market separated individually between the two teams. You
could have a line for the home team to score over 3.5 goals in a match for

Both Teams to Score

This hugely
popular football betting market is also available for ice hockey with a slight
difference. As ice hockey is a much higher scoring sport than football,  both teams to score market reflects that. Instead of a Yes or No as in
football, bookmakers will list different lines in hockey, such as Both Teams to
Score 2 or more goals, 3 or more goals, etc.

Race to Markets

This is
betting on which team will get to a certain milestone first. Most common
milestone is goals. For example, you can back the away team to race to 2 goals
and they would have to score 2 goals first in order for the bet to win. It
doesn’t matter if they lose the match in the end, as long as they are the first
team to score 2 goals, the bet is a winner. This market usually has 3 lines:
one for the home team, one for the away team, one for “neither”.

To Score First or Last

straightforward line, betting on which team will score first in a match or even
period, or which team will score last.

Player Performance

These bets
cover the individual performance of a player and the markets differ from
bookmaker to bookmaker. Some common ones would be to bet if a player will score
goals, and how many, or if the player will get penalties, and how many. 


You have several options when betting on ice hockey matches. Some of the most popular betting sites are offering ice hockey betting options such as:

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