Basic Hockey Betting Tips and Strategy
Ice hockey is one of the world’s most popular winter sports, and while it may not be as big a draw as football, baseball, soccer or basketball, there’s still plenty of money that get wagered on hockey every season. For gamblers, hockey is a great sport to bet on; because it’s popular enough, there’s never a shortage of action, but because it doesn’t receive the amount of attention the biggest sports do, the lines aren’t always nearly as sharp as in other games. This means that a smart bettor can take advantage and win more than enough bets to show a profit on hockey betting
Types of Hockey Bets
When it comes to betting the National Hockey League, there are three main kinds of bets you can make. First, there’s the money line, which works just like the money line bets in any sport. If a team has a number with a plus sign next to it – such as New York +150 – that means that you must bet $100 to win the amount listed. Their opponent, the favorite, will have a line like -180 – which would mean you need to bet $180 to win $100. If you’ve made a money line bet in any other sport, you’ll be able to make them in hockey, too. In European hockey, you’ll usually have three options on the money line bet, as you can also bet on a tie.
Slightly more complex is the puck line bet. This bet combines aspects of the spread line and money line bets popular in other sports. The puck line does use a spread, but it’s always the same – one team is favored by exactly 1.5 goals over the other. Since the line is static, the odds on both teams are rarely the same; unlike in football, where both sides on a spread line bet will usually pay -110, the payouts on puck line bets often look something like this:
New Jersey +1.5 (-200) Boston -1.5 (+170)
In this case, New Jersey is getting a 1.5 goal handicap, meaning that even if they lose by a single goal, a bet on them wins. However, that advantage comes with a cost; New Jersey is a heavy favorite to cover that spread.
Finally, you can also bet on totals in hockey. This works like any other sport; the bookmaker sets a number for the total goals that will be scored in an upcoming game, and players can bet on whether the actual total will be over or under that number.
Hockey Betting Strategy
Of course, the most important aspect to betting hockey, just like betting on any sport, is doing your research before making a bet. Since there’s somewhat less interest in hockey, the bookmakers generally spend a little less time creating their hockey lines, meaning that a gambler who takes the time to do research can find many spots where the sportsbooks have missed something and one side of a bet has a major edge.
While there are numerous factors that should play into your hockey wagering, two of the biggest are goaltending and penalties. Before betting on any game, make sure you know who will be starting in net for each team; the difference between starting and backup goaltenders can be significant. You should also check on a goalie’s recent form, since a hot goaltender can carry a team. As for penalties, a team that converts power plays at a high rate will have a significant advantage over a team with a tendency to get in the penalty box often. Keeping an eye out for these kinds of trends and matchups should give you an edge when betting on hockey.