Like any other sport, ice hockey offers a quite large variety of different betting options. The amount of open markets differs a bit between the leagues in terms of betting. Reason is not that the game is played differently, but the fact that ice hockey is a minor sport on a global scale. European leagues have a smaller range of markets because the European leagues have smaller following compared to the NHL for example. However there are always more than enough open markets for punters to find good odds the place bets on.
Now we are going to go over the most common ice hockey betting markets.
The classic Home Team Win - Draw - Away Team Win, 1x2, bets are the most common option for hockey punters to choose. Odds are easy to understand and the bet itself is very self explanatory. If the game is tied after 3 periods and 60 minutes, it’s a draw, otherwise you have a winner.
Moneyline bets are very popular in ice hockey. With a Moneyline bet you choose one team to win, and the bet includes overtime and shootouts, if necessary. So basically it’s a simplified 1x2 bet in a nutshell. Odds for Moneyline markets are always significantly lower compared to 1x2, as the market only allows two options instead of three, hence the house edge is also smaller which affects the odds. Moneyline bets are considered “value bets”, as those are the most common markets that big sharks and professional punters bet on. Value bets are where the money lies and that’s where your long term profits also come from.
Correct score markets are the most simple ones out there. You place a bet on a game where you try to guess the correct score when the game finishes. So let’s say we have Team A vs Team B, you place a correct score bet 2-4, if the game ends 2-4 you win. Odds for correct score bets can seem very tasty, but don’t get fooled, as correct score bets are very random. The amount of goals that each team scores in a game varies too much so you could be able to predict them properly. Throwing a 1-7 Correct Score bet once a month won’t hurt, as the payout is huge if it lands, but betting on these markets constantly won’t do you any good.
Over and Under markets
Over and Under marketis, hereafter referred to as O/U, have become so common that they are available for almost all games out there. There are quite a few punters who bet almost solely on O/U markets on ice hockey. If you are following certain leagues and it’s games very closely you can start grinding quite a lot with O/U markets. The average goals scored per game is going down as the game and it’s players are evolving. That has had a big effect on the O/U markets as the line used to be O/U 6,5 but now it’s quite often 5,5 or sometimes even as low as 4,5. Couple tips for O/U betting:
- The first month of new seasons is a very good time to place O 5,5 / 6,5 bets. The NHL especially is a complete mess for the first month and it’s common to see 8-9 goal averages per game for the first 5-6 full rounds at least.
- Check the starting goalies for each team, if either of the teams is playing their 2nd goalie there is a chance for more goals to be scored.
- Special teams: Check PP (Power Play) and PK (Penalty Kill) % for both teams. If Team A has PP of 38% and Team B’s PK is 74% it’s a smart option to go for O5,5. (If you do this, remember to also check how much penalties the teams take on average so you have an idea of how many PP’s/PK’s can/will be).
Period 1/2/3 markets
As ice hockey is played over three 20 minute periods, you have the opportunity to bet on each period as a single event too. Most of the big league games have 1x2 bets, Moneylines, both to score/not to score, Double Chance bets, Total Goals for Team O/U, and Correct Score for each period. Basically betting on Period 1/2/3 is like betting on a mini game inside the hockey game.
Goal scorer markets
Goal Scorer markets are as simple as this: Bet on a player to score first goal / last goal / a goal. You pick a player from either of the teams, choose whether you want to bet on him/her to score first, last or a goal. If the goal is scored you make money. Goal Scorer markets are a bit on the same side with Correct Score bets. The odds for the best goal scorers aren’t usually that high, and the variance will eat your bank roll. If you love data and have the time, you can create estimates for when players who score ~10 goals in a season will score and find some small edge with high odds. But I wouldn’t recommend it.
Point scorer markets
Very simple again, bet on the player to score point(s), or against it. Again quite fun markets, but not so much value in long term betting. Odds for high point scoring players are very low, and they are not really high enough for the rest either, unless you are betting on 2point nights, which adds too much variance to be considered a good bet.
Handicaps and Asian Handicaps
Before we go into the bets themselves, it’s good to separate (European) Handicaps and Asian handicaps from themselves. Difference between them isn’t huge, but it’s noteworthy as it changes the fundamentals a little bit. So here are the two handicap betting options and the difference between positive and negative.
Asian handicap bets are easiest to explain via an example, but before that it’s good to know that if the game ends as a draw, you get your bet amount back. So if the game ends in a tie, you don’t win or lose. This is why Asian Handicap odds are also smaller than 1x2 or Moneyline bets for example. Here’s a Asian Handicap line from the Tampa Bay Lightning vs Dallas Stars game with Tampa -0,5 and Dallas +0,5.
If you pick Tampa -0,5 it means that you bet on Tampa to win, but they start the game with -0,5 goals. This means that for you to win Tampa needs to win with one goal or more.
If you pick Dallas +0,5 it means that you bet on Dallas to win, and they start the game with +0,5 goals.
European Handicaps are the simpler version of Asian Handicaps. Instead of playing around with 0.25, 0,50, or 0,75 differences we have even numbers that make the game a bit easier. With a European Handicap you can bet on +/- 1,2,3 etc.
Let’s say you have Team A vs. Team B again, and you bet Team A +2. This means that you bet on Team A to win and you give them a two goal advantage before the game starts. If the game ends 0-2 for Team B, your bet loses as the result is a 2-2 draw.
Negative Handicap means that you bet, as we did on the example with Tampa vs Dallas, on the minus handicap, like Tampa -0,5. You can get higher odds with handicaps than regular 1x2 or Moneylines, but it also makes the risk higher. It’s common to see people advising not to bet on negative handicaps at all, which is reasonable, if you are not researching properly. But we are, and we can definitely bet on those!
If you want to bet on a favorite to win a game, looking into asian handicaps with small negatives can turn out to be very fruitful. Just make sure that you research properly beforehand.
Betting on underdogs with positive handicaps is an excellent choice to pick on your betting slip. If you have done your homework properly, positive handicaps and underdogs is an iconic duo that can make you very happy. Betting on underdogs can be sketchy, but with asian handicaps the markets become a lot more stable which is a very good thing for punters.
Wincast and Scorecast markets are super fun. Essentially they are combo bets that bookmakers are making for you. Now I wouldn’t recommend these bets as something to grind, but they are definitely a fun option if you are watching a game and want to add some extra excitement. Out of these two Wincasts are far better than scorecast, but we’ll explain both.
In a Wincast bet you choose a player to score a goal and team to win. You can choose the player to score from the losing team too, which makes this betting market very fun and interactive, as you can play around with them a lot.
Scorecast on the other hand, you choose a player to score a goal and the correct score at the end of the game. So essentially you are combining Correct Score and Player to Score markets that have high variance. Therefore you should always pick Wincast over Scorecast if you are funbetting.