In some other sports, fans and bettors can feel confident knowing the majority of the outcomes before the game even begins. The vast majority of hockey betting lines are pretty obvious: the home team is usually favored, the underdogs have good odds, etc. But what happens when all of those outcomes are equally likely? How do you bet on a game you know will end in a draw? Or, put another way, how does 3-way betting work in hockey?
The Basics Of 3-Way Betting
All sports, including hockey, are split into two categories: point-spread games and money games. Point-spread games feature two teams who are evenly matched, and the oddsmakers take into consideration things like talent, sportsmanship, and, in some instances, injuries. For example, if you bet on the New York Rangers to beat the Boston Bruins, you’re basically betting that Boston will outplay New York. And vice versa.
In a money game, the favorite is usually dictated by public betting trends and by the fact that more people are playing the game. Trends can vary from season to season, but as long as the over/under is set at 3.5 goals, the favorites will typically be 70% to 30% in favor of the home team. So if you want to bet on a home team to score three or more goals, you’ll have to risk losing a little money on the underdogs. That’s the price you pay for following public opinion.
3-Way Betting Explained
In a baseball bet, for example, you might wager $100 that the New York Yankees will beat the Chicago White Sox by 1.5 goals or more. In that scenario, you’re assuming that the White Sox will lose the game. The oddsmakers make that assumption, too, which means they’ll take the over/under line into account. Should the game end in a draw, you win $100 because the over/under was set at 1.5 goals. Should the Yankees win by eight runs, however, you lose your initial $100 wager because the over/under was set at 1.5 goals and the Yankees didn’t cover the spread.
In a 3-way hockey betting line, all three teams are given equal status. That means the oddsmakers will not assume anything about who’s going to win the game; rather, they’ll simply list the teams’ respective odds. So if you wager $100 on the New York Rangers to win the game, you’re essentially risking $70 on the Bruins and $30 on the Blackhawks. In the event of a draw, all three bets are refunded. And in the event of a Tampa Bay Lightning victory, you win $100 because your initial $100 wager was against the Rangers.
When Do You Use 3-Way Betting In Hockey?
Although you can use any of the three-way betting methods in hockey, you should only use them in very specific circumstances. If, for example, you think Boston is going to win despite being underdogs, you can certainly wager on them, but keep in mind the over/under is already set at three goals. So even if the hockey gods are smiling down on you and your team scores four or more goals in the first period, you won’t win your wager. In a similar vein, if you have a feeling that the New York Rangers will cover the three-goal spread in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, you can certainly use that information to profit from scalping tickets or betting on them to win, but in the event of a draw, your wager is going to come up short.
Only use three-way betting in instances where you have strong evidence to support your claim. Otherwise, you’re simply wasting your time and potentially hurting your finances should the other teams meet or exceed your expectations.
To learn more, check out this awesome infographic from bet365.com. It explores everything you need to know about betting in hockey, from odds to lines to placing bets to refunding tickets. And be sure to bookmark it so you can return to it whenever you need a quick refresher.