Ice Hockey Betting in the USA
Ice Hockey, while not being as popular as American football or basketball, is still one of the United States’ major sports. Just like other sports, it forms a pretty significant part of any US sportsbook’s betting markets. US players love to have a punt on their favourite hockey teams.
If you don’t know how, or do but are only just getting started in the world of ice hockey betting, our guide can quickly get you up to speed on the ins and outs of ice hockey betting. Don’t forget to check the other sports at Sports Betting USA.
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What Competitions Can I Bet On?
The NHL (National Hockey League) will be most Americans’ first port of call when it comes to betting on ice hockey. However, the Ice Hockey World Championships are certainly events which may be worth a punt, too. Let’s look at both of those a little closer.
- National Hockey League (NHL): Like most American sports, the NHL is divided up into a season and the Playoffs. Running from October to April, there are 31 teams, divided up into two conferences. The Western Conference contains 8 Pacific Division teams, and 7 Central Division teams. The Eastern Conference hosts 8 Atlantic Division and Metropolitan Division Teams. Each team plays 82 games. With the top three teams in each division plus a wildcard from each division advancing to the Playoffs.
- All-Star Game: Between the regular season and the Playoffs, an All-Star game takes place, featuring NHL’s top players in each conference.
- The Playoffs: The team with the best conference record will play the lowest ranking wild card member in their conference. The better ranking wild card will play the division winner with the second-best conference record, while second and third-placed teams play each other. Winners then play each other in the Second Round of Playoffs. Eventually, just two teams are left who compete in the Conference Finals to determine the winners of each conference.
- Stanley Cup: The winners of both the Western and Eastern Conferences square off in the Stanley Cup Final, with the team with the best regular-season record getting the home advantage.
- Ice Hockey World Championships (IHWC): Run by the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) this is the main event for International ice hockey. Held every year, the competition follows a Group Stage and Round Robin format, although lowest finishing teams can be relegated to Divisions 1 and 2.
Types of Ice Hockey Bets
Betting on ice hockey really isn’t that different to betting on football. In Europe, you will use the same kinds of bets you will find in football games. However, American players will prefer to use their standard American-style bets for hockey games. These include:
- Money Line: A one-off bet whereby the punter is wagering money on which team will win the match.
- Handicaps: If there is a definite favourite and an underdog, a handicap bet may be offered. By offering a handicap based on the number of goals in the winning margin, this evens things out. A handicap bet must see a team win by at least the number of goals listed as the handicap total.
- Totals: There are plenty of bets you can make with totals. The number of goals scored is the most popular total bet, although players can effectively bet on anything that features a total number with these types of bets. Keep in mind that Overtime (used to determine the winner in the event of a tie) may or may not be a part of total bets. You need to check this before you wager.
Doing Your Homework
Like any sports betting market, there are betting strategies which players can implement for their ice hockey bets. These vary significantly from country to country, competition to competition and bet to bet. You need to ensure that you fully understand hockey statistics before you decide to wager using a hockey betting strategy, since the approach you have chosen may not actually be ideal for the type of bet you are planning on making. Of course, there are other things to consider, too.
Other Things to Consider
Hockey games are unaffected by the weather, which means that this variable, which affects so many sports, is not going to ruin your game. However, other variables may do. It is worth checking out some of those. So you can better understand how your bet may go wrong before you place it.
- Home Advantage: Playing at home is a massive advantage in hockey, just like it is in most other sports. The bookies will almost certainly have factored this into their bets, but if you do your stat checking and see that an away team has a particularly good record when away at a specific team’s stadium, it may be worth checking out.
- Injuries and Form: Like other sports stars, hockey players are prone to injuries, and their form may fluctuate depending on the game. If a team can no longer reach the playoffs, for instance, they have a lot less to play for than a team who may still make it. That is worth factoring into the equation.
- The Goalie: The goaltender is a vital part of a team’s defence. Goalies with a poor record need to be looked at, as do other elements such as solid defensive pairings, or a handy offensive setup. There are stats aplenty to help you gauge what kind of track record the starting team has when playing with each other on a regular basis. Certain players work and perform better with others, and that’s just a fact of life. It is handy if you know what the perfect line-up is.
Where Can I Bet on Ice Hockey?
Everywhere. Even though ice hockey may not hit the heights of American football or basketball in the eyes of the American public, it is still a significant sport with millions of viewers.
Every major sportsbook offering their services to players in the USA will provide at least NHL betting. If not ice hockey betting on other major competitions and tournaments, too, such as the Swedish Hockey League. It’s also possible to gamble on the American Hockey League, and the Kontinental Hockey League, for instance.