Hockey is a sport that has always been popular in Canada and the United States. The Winter Olympic crossovers between the two countries have made the sport even more popular. The NHL and the WHA merged to form the modern NHL in 1979, and with it came world-class hockey as well as increased popularity. Since then, the sport has continued to grow in popularity and with it, so has the number of people interested in wagering on hockey. Unfortunately, the majority of places where you can make wagers on hockey are either illegal or require you to be 21 years of age or older.
You may be wondering how to bet on hockey if you’re not from North America. Luckily, there are legal ways to do so if you live in certain countries. The largest hockey market is Canada where you can find NHL games every week and the betting options are endless. You can bet on the outcome of the game, place a wager on which team will score next, or simply bet on the total number of goals scored in the game. All of these options are completely legal and perfectly safe to do so.
NHL Teams Vs. the World
If you’re not familiar with hockey, it is a sport that is usually played between two teams of six players each. The team that scores the most goals wins the game. Each team is allowed to have up to five players stationed on the ice at all times, but the odd man out is always allowed to walk around and wait for the next whistle. This gives the sport its open-style of play and minimal substitutions.
The NHL currently features 12 teams divided into two conferences – the Eastern and the Western Conferences. The conference winners from each conference advance to the next round of the playoffs, where they play against each other. In the Stanley Cup Finals, the team that wins four games out of seven faces off against the Central Division champion in the deciding game. This makes the NHL the longest-running professional sports league in North America.
The 2016-17 hockey season was the 100th anniversary of the NHL, and the league did something big to celebrate this momentous occasion. They held a special event on October 11, 2016, where they officially christened the NHL Centre™, a state-of-the-art, all-digital ice arena that is located in Cleveland, Ohio. This iconic arena, which is now the home of the Cleveland Maple Leafs, will be the first NHL game ever played in the Midwestern United States.
This season also marked the first time that the Tampa Bay Devils, Colorado Avalanche, and Vancouver Canucks didn’t make the playoffs, marking the first time in history that three NHL teams from the same division did not qualify for the postseason.
Where Do I Bet On Hockey?
You have a plethora of places where you can make wagers on hockey, but which one is the best? While each option is great in its own right, you need to keep in mind a few things. The most important is the difference in betting styles and lines. Some places only allow you to bet on the outcome of the game while others allow you to bet on things like over/under betting or pitching tensions. The more you know, the better off you’ll be when making your wagers.
The line is how much you’re willing to wager on the outcome of the game. The longer the line, the more you’re risking. For example, if you were to bet on the Toronto Maple Leafs – Montreal Canadiens game, the line would be -0.5 units (most places allow you to bet at least a dollar per game nowadays).
If you were to follow the NHL handicapping strategy for 2016-17, you would need to bet -275.0 units on the Habs to win $100 at the end of the season. This is assuming you win at +275 and do not lose at all (just like the NHL handicapping strategy).
The line moves up and down based on the betting trends. Typically, the public loves betting on teams that are underdogs, and that trend continues in the NHL. You’ll usually find numerous NHL underdog teams bets on in the open (pub or club) setting, which means there’s a good chance your NHL underdog team will win.
Underdogs +3.0 or better win 71% of the time in the NHL according to research done by OddsChecker.com. Additionally, overdogs +3.0 win 73% of the time.
Progressive lines are where you place a wager on things like scoring margins or which team will score the next goal. The line moves according to the flow of the game as opposed to being set in stone. This allows you to adjust your wager based on how the game is progressing.
Home Teams Vs. the Away Teams
The home team is the team that plays at home. In case you’re not familiar, the home team is simply the team that wins the majority of their games. When playing away from home, the away team is the one that travels to the facility of the other team. If you’re not familiar, hockey teams do not necessarily have to play every game at home. Sometimes, they will play a few at home and the majority of the games on the road. This is commonly done because arenas do not allow for all the teams to play every game at home due to capacity concerns. However, the home team benefit from playing at home – they will have more scoring chances and be less penalized because they’re familiar with the ice and the home terrain. The away team receives less home territory when playing away, but they gain a tremendous advantage when playing at home because the fans will be on their side every step of the way.
Over and under scores apply to the total number of goals scored in a given game. If you’re not familiar, over and under scores appear on lines – they are always presented on the backs of the hands of gamblers, bookmakers, and casinos that take wagers on hockey. This is because the over/under scoring phenomenon is so commonplace in the NHL that it has a specific handicapping strategy all its own named after it.