Football may currently be hogging the news headlines courtesy of events out in Qatar and no doubt, in many areas of the world, football dwarfs all other sports almost all year round. Not in all regions though.
One sport which at least gives football a run for its money in many nations – and in some cases surpasses it – is that of Ice Hockey. Immensely popular in the USA and the national game in Canada, Ice Hockey also generates significant interest in northern Europe, including the Baltic Regions.
A major spectator sport in these areas, Ice Hockey also creates impressive levels of betting turnover, with fans always eager to assess the latest deals and promotions, such as those available at new betting offers UK.
Here we take a closer look at this puck-based punting arena, including information on the most popular betting options, and a few factors to bear in mind when picking out those bets.
Ice Hockey: Most Popular Bets
- Outright Betting: Simply a bet on a team to win a specific league or competition. In the NHL the two most popular outright markets are for the winners of the President’s Trophy which is awarded to the team which finishes the regular season with the most points, and the most famous trophy in the sport, the Stanley Cup, which goes to the winners of the post-season playoffs. Outright betting is also available on the Meistriliiga, the Hockey Higher League, and Lithuania Hockey League.
- Match Result in Regulation: Also known as 60-minute betting, this is a bet on what the result will be at the end of regulation time, with three options available – Home Win, Away Win and Draw.
- Match Result – Including Overtime: Of course, in Ice Hockey, unlike many other sports such as football, games do not end in a draw, with overtime and a shootout played if required in order to determine a result. This bet therefore only has two options – Home Win or Away Win.
- Puck Line Handicap: This bet effectively gives the underdogs in the match a head start from a betting perspective. Take an example of the New York Rangers +1.5, Buffalo Sabres -1.5. In this instance, a bet on the Rangers would win provided they do not lose by more than one goal. In contrast, a bet on Buffalo would only win should they win by two goals or more.
- Over/Under Total Goals: For this bet, the bookmaker set a goals line for the game, say for example 5.5. Your task is then to predict whether the total goals in the game will fall Over or Under this specified amount. In this instance, a bet on Over would win if there are six or more goals, and a bet on Under would win if there were five or fewer.
Ice Hockey: Betting Hints
- Take Both Sides in Tight Games: Many matches in the NHL and other major leagues around the world look all set to be very tight affairs, making it tough to decide which side to favour. A simple bet on the underdog on the puck line handicap is a decent option here. However, many shrewd punters opt to place two bets in such games – one on the favourite to win in the Match Result market, and another on the underdog on the Puck Line Handicap. Doing so means that, should the favourite win by one goal, you will collect on both of your wagers, and come close to breaking even on any other result.
- Always Ensure the Number 1 Goaltender is Playing: Assessing line-ups in advance of placing a bet is always recommended. However, if you are to pay attention to just one position, make it the goaltender. Some believe that the goaltender is as important as the starting pitcher in baseball, or the quarterback in the NFL and it’s hard to disagree – particularly as the gap in quality between a team’s number 1 and number 2 can often be significant. If you are considering backing a team and their star goalie isn’t playing, the best advice would be to think again.
Avoid Betting on your Favourite Team: Solid advice across any sport. You may firmly believe that you are unbiased when assessing your favourite side’s latest match-up, but chances are you will still have some inbuilt leaning regarding your team - be it over-optimism, or being unduly pessimistic. In contrast, when weighing up the odds for a match in which you have no preference for either side, you are far more likely to make a dispassionate assessment – essential in becoming a profitable punter.