Beginners Guide to Ice Hockey Betting

Ice hockey enjoys Olympic status and boasts a multitude of leagues worldwide, with over a million registered players. In Canada, it reigns as the most beloved sport. Consequently, ice hockey betting has gained significant traction, becoming a prominent feature in numerous leading sportsbooks globally. These platforms typically feature the most renowned leagues, spanning major professional to regional ones, ensuring accessibility for punters interested in ice hockey betting.

For newcomers, familiarizing yourself with the rules and gaining insights into hockey betting tips and wager types is crucial.

Here’s a breakdown of how the game unfolds:

Ice hockey involves two teams, each comprising six players donning skates, all maneuvering on an ice rink armed with sticks. The primary objective for players is to propel the rubber disk, known as the puck, past the goal line and into the opposing team’s net, guarded by a goalie or goaltender. A team earns a point each time they successfully send the puck into the goal. The team that accumulates the most goals by the end of the game emerges as the victor.

An ice hockey match consists of three 20-minute periods. In the event of a tie, overtime is played to determine the winner. If the two teams remain deadlocked even after overtime, a penalty shootout ensues. This explains why tied games during the regular seasons of the NHL are a rarity.

During the actual gameplay, the puck is passed among the players, with the opposing team’s objective being to thwart any attempts at scoring. The game unfolds at a rapid pace and is characterized by frequent physical contact, making it a thrilling experience for both spectators and punters alike.

Basic Terms

To excel in hockey betting, it’s imperative to familiarize yourself with the terminology and jargon commonly used in the game. Below, you’ll find a compilation of the prevalent terms you’re likely to encounter while watching or placing bets on the outcomes.

  • Attacking Zone: Refers to the opponent’s end of the ice.
  • Assist: A play involving two players from the scoring team who contribute to setting up the scoring player.
  • Blue Line: The line that demarcates the defending and attacking zones from the neutral zone.
  • Blueliner: A term for the defenseman.
  • Body Checking: The act of using one’s body or hip to dislodge an opponent, typically allowed only in the men’s game.
  • Breakaway: When a player possesses the puck and has a clear path to score, with only the goalie to beat.
  • Cage: The protective metal grid attached to the front of a player’s helmet.
  • Defender: The player responsible for thwarting an opposing attack.
  • Defensive Zone: The area extending from the blue line to the end boards.
  • Rink: The ice-covered playing surface.
  • Faceoff: Occurs at the start of play or after a game stoppage, with players from each team vying to gain control of the dropped puck.
  • Goal: Scored when the puck crosses the goal line in front of the net.
  • Goaltender: Also known as the goalie, the player stationed around the goal with the primary role of preventing the opposing team from scoring.
  • Golden Goal: The game-winning goal.
  • Hat-Trick: Achieved when a player scores three goals in a single game.
  • Linesman: The official responsible for conducting faceoffs and identifying player infractions.
  • Minor and Major Penalties: Referring to 2-minute and 5-minute penalties, respectively.
  • Official: The individual overseeing and regulating gameplay.
  • Overtime: An additional session of play introduced to break a tie.
  • Referee: The official in charge of managing and officiating the game.
  • Zone: One of the three areas on the rink, divided by blue lines.

Where to Find Hockey Betting Websites?

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For those seeking ice hockey betting opportunities, the National Hockey League (NHL), the prestigious Stanley Cup, and various minor leagues offer a wealth of options. To capitalize on this thriving betting landscape, it’s crucial to explore the leading online hockey betting platforms. Nowadays, most sportsbooks include ice hockey in their lineup, each presenting bettors with enticing bonuses, competitive odds, and an array of valuable betting tools.

Just as selecting an online casino requires careful consideration, choosing the right bookmaker demands attention to several key factors. Start by verifying the bookmaker’s valid remote license and its acceptance of real money bets from your region. Evaluate the extent of coverage for leagues and matches and assess the competitiveness of the offered ice hockey betting odds. Additionally, look out for features like in-play betting, live streaming, diverse odds formats, calculators, mobile apps, and comprehensive hockey sports betting tips and guides.

If the task of comparing sportsbooks seems daunting, you can always turn to websites that specialize in listing and reviewing ice hockey betting platforms for punters. Our dedicated team delves into the hockey sports betting industry, thoroughly examining and reviewing these popular sites on your behalf. By consulting our curated list of hockey betting sites and tips, you can focus entirely on what truly matters: following and wagering on your favorite team!

Which Are the Most Popular Competitions?

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) serves as the central authority governing all facets of ice hockey, boasting a membership of approximately 74 nations. Ice hockey, played at both amateur and professional levels, finds its home across diverse corners of the globe, with North America and Eastern Europe particularly passionate about the sport.

While traditionally associated with regions blessed with cold winters, ice hockey’s appeal is transcending geographical boundaries. Its popularity is on the rise in unexpected places like Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. This global presence translates into an abundance of tournaments and competitions, offering ample opportunities for enthusiastic followers to engage in betting. Below, we present a selection of the most renowned ice hockey competitions, inviting you to dive into the action and place your bets today.

Winter Olympics:

  • Ice hockey shines as a marquee attraction in the Winter Olympics, where participating teams often enlist top-tier NHL professionals to bolster their chances. For many players, securing a gold medal in the Winter Olympics represents the pinnacle of their illustrious careers.

World Championships:

  • Annually hosted, the World Championships feature 16 national teams vying for supremacy. It’s important to note that this prestigious tournament exclusively showcases men’s ice hockey teams. This event serves as the linchpin of the annual ice hockey calendar and frequently draws the sport’s most accomplished professional players. However, some national teams opt to include younger NHL talents or even amateurs, as is the case with the United States. The Russia/Soviet Union boasts a storied history of success in the World Championships, while Canada, Finland, and Sweden stand as formidable contenders in this prestigious competition.

National Hockey League (NHL):

  • The NHL stands as the undisputed pinnacle of ice hockey leagues worldwide, generating fervent anticipation among fans. Spanning North America, the league comprises 30 ice hockey teams hailing from both the United States and Canada. The NHL is structured into two conferences, the Western and Eastern Conferences. The regular season kicks off in early October, extending through mid-April. Following the regular season, a thrilling 16-team playoff round ensues, culminating in the Stanley Cup final. Notable franchises in the league include the Montreal Canadiens, the Boston Bruins, the Detroit Red Wings, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the New York Rangers.

NCAA Ice Hockey Championships:

  • Ice hockey has carved out a prominent niche within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Much like its basketball counterpart, ice hockey within the NCAA draws massive live audiences and garners extensive coverage on leading US television networks. In select cases, offshore licensed sportsbooks extend NCAA online hockey betting lines, offering enthusiasts a chance to engage with the action.

Swedish Hockey League (SHL):

  • Beyond the borders of North America, the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) reigns supreme as the most prominent ice hockey league. In Sweden, where ice hockey enjoys unrivaled popularity, the SHL naturally emerges as the focal point of attention. Many of the star players who represent the highly successful Swedish national ice hockey team on the world stage also ply their trade in this league. The SHL stands as Western Europe’s preeminent ice hockey competition, featuring a lineup of 14 formidable teams vying for the coveted Le Mat Trophy.

NHL Betting – What Should You Know

The National Hockey League (NHL) stands tall as the premier sports league in North America, casting its influential reach across various European nations, including Scandinavia, Austria, Germany, and Russia. Thanks to its global acclaim and a dedicated fan base, leading sportsbooks naturally embrace real money wagers on NHL ice hockey matches.

Within the realm of NHL online hockey betting, an array of winning opportunities awaits, courtesy of popular bets, competitive odds, and an assortment of invaluable betting tools. Among the favored NHL hockey wagers are Game Winner, First Team to Score, and Point Spread. Venturing beyond the mainstream, players can explore lesser-known NHL bets like Anytime Scorer, Total Goals, Over/Under, Division and Conference outcomes, and predictions for the ultimate Stanley Cup champion.

When it comes to betting on ice hockey games, most platforms offer two distinct avenues. You can opt for pre-match bets, placing your wagers in advance on selections like the Game Winner or Point Spread. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the excitement of in-play hockey sports betting, allowing you to actively bet while the game unfolds. In live hockey betting, popular options include Total First Period, Total Second Period, and Total Third Period wagers. It’s crucial to note that in in-play betting, odds evolve in real-time to mirror changing dynamics, encompassing injuries, penalties, and shifts in momentum or scores.

Beyond these overarching NHL betting insights, several key strategies can bolster your online betting prospects. Explore the following betting tips to elevate your chances of success.

Understand conference and divisions

For any savvy punter, a fundamental grasp of how the league operates is paramount. Familiarity with the league’s structural dynamics can be a game-changer when strategizing your bets. The NHL comprises two conferences, the Western and Eastern Conferences, housing a total of 32 teams as of 2021. Within this framework, teams are further divided into four distinct divisions: North, West, Central, and East. It’s noteworthy that one division exclusively accommodates the seven Canadian teams.

Each division boasts its share of formidable teams and exceptional ice hockey talents, making it imperative for punters to acquaint themselves with the composition of each division. This knowledge serves as a valuable asset, enabling punters to make well-informed betting decisions. Moreover, understanding all four divisions assumes even greater significance, given the recent rule changes stipulating that the top four teams in each division secure a coveted spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

NHL Games Schedule

In adherence to the latest league regulations, each team is slated to participate in an 82-game schedule. This time-honored tradition of an 82-game schedule entails a meticulous balance, with 41 games hosted at home and the remaining 41 contested on opposing territory.

Familiarizing yourself with the updated team schedules proves invaluable when it comes to assessing hockey sports betting lines with unwavering confidence. It’s a well-established fact that many teams exhibit heightened prowess when playing on their home turf. In the realm of these sports, the proximity of fans to the on-ice action fosters an atmosphere of unwavering passion. Consequently, a team boasting an impressive home record and a fervent fan base can pose a formidable challenge for any opposing bettor.

NHL Playoff Games

Following the culmination of an exhilarating regular season, the anticipation escalates as the NHL playoffs take center stage. The spotlight shines on the top four teams in each division, those that have amassed the highest points, as they secure coveted entry into the playoffs. It’s a time when those hard-earned points take on paramount significance.

As the playoffs unfold, teams engage in thrilling best-of-seven series, each round a testament to their mettle and determination.

The journey commences with the Qualifying Round, where the bottom eight playoff teams from each conference engage in a spirited best-of-five series battle, vying for their rightful place in the ensuing rounds.

In the First Round, a captivating clash of rankings ensues as the eighth-ranked team, emerging from the qualifiers, locks horns with the top-ranked playoff team. Simultaneously, the second-ranked team faces off against the seventh-ranked counterpart. Such is the playoff tableau during this initial round.

In the Second Round, the victorious contenders from the previous matchups square off, battling fiercely for the honor of advancing to the coveted semifinals.

NHL Stanley Cup

As the riveting NHL playoffs progress through the semifinals, only the top two teams emerge triumphant, securing their coveted passage to the illustrious Stanley Cup Finals. Throughout this thrilling journey, spanning all rounds from the First Round to the Semifinals, the higher-ranked team enjoys the cherished home-ice advantage, setting the stage for four out of the seven games to be played on their home turf. This home-ice advantage is determined by the meticulous tallying of scores and the strategic seeding process, a ritual observed just before the commencement of each round.

As the grand finale, the Stanley Cup pits two deserving teams against each other, with the honor of hosting the final showdown awarded to the squad that boasts the most hard-earned points in this exhilarating journey to ice hockey glory.

Short History and Facts

The annals of ice hockey history unfurl a tapestry both long and vibrant. Though the game’s origins have sparked debate for years, a decisive ruling from the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) traces the roots of organized ice hockey to Montreal, Canada, in the year 1875. Many historical accounts also credit the Montreal Gazette as the pioneering source to broadcast the game’s rules to a wider audience. Interestingly, some research even suggests that the earliest ice hockey contests unfolded in England.

Yet, the contours of modern ice hockey, as we recognize it today, were primarily chiseled by what came to be known as ‘Canadian rules.’ This pivotal development in rule-making was swiftly followed by the emergence of competitive games and the establishment of hockey leagues. Among these early leagues were the inception of the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada (AHAC) in 1886, the formation of the Ligue Internationale de Hockey Sur Glace (LIHG) in 1908, and the establishment of the National Hockey Association in 1911—a precursor to the entity we now hail as the National Hockey League (NHL).

The NHL itself was officially christened on November 26, 1917. At its inception, the league comprised four Canadian teams, thus earning its designation as ‘National.’ Over the years, the NHL extended its embrace to accommodate more teams, and as of 2021, the league boasts an impressive roster of 32 teams, exemplifying the enduring evolution of this beloved sport.

Final Thoughts

Ice hockey, renowned for its lightning-paced gameplay, frequent player collisions, and unwavering support from passionate fans, stands as one of the most exhilarating sports spectacles. The fervor for this game transcends the rink, spilling into the realm of ice hockey betting, now readily accessible on numerous online casinos and sportsbooks.

In the realm of online hockey betting, you become more than a mere spectator or fervent supporter of your cherished team. You step into the arena as a bettor, engaging with ice hockey betting lines and the tantalizing prospect of lucrative payouts. However, exercising prudence and thorough research remains paramount when venturing into the world of ice hockey wagering. It’s imperative to align yourself with reputable bookmakers and delve into the wealth of hockey picks and NHL betting tips to fortify your decisions before venturing your hard-earned money.


So, you’re keen to dive into the world of hockey betting? Here’s your playbook:

  1. Get in the Game: To embark on your hockey betting journey, you first need to register for a real-money sportsbook account. This gateway grants you access to the enticing realm of ice hockey betting lines and the chance to place your bets.
  2. Deciphering Ice Hockey Betting Lines: Picture this – ice hockey betting lines are akin to a map guiding your wagering expedition. These lines are the sportsbook’s way of setting odds, establishing the favorites and underdogs for each match. The line essentially draws a line in the ice (pun intended) between the two competing teams, shaping the parameters of your wager.
  3. Unveiling NHL Consensus Picks: Want to gauge the betting pulse of the hockey-loving masses? Enter NHL consensus picks. This valuable insight provides a window into how the betting public is placing their bets. For instance, if 78% of the bets favor the favorite to win, you’ll know where the crowd stands.
  4. The Strategic Choice: While it’s tempting to follow the crowd, the savvy bettor knows better. It’s not always prudent to instantly align with NHL consensus picks. Instead, exercise patience and monitor the ebb and flow of money and bets before making your move.
  5. Exploring NHL Futures: Prepare to journey into the realm of NHL futures. These intriguing hockey bets allow you to wager on outcomes or events that will unfold later in the year. For instance, you could place your bets on the Stanley Cup winner, even as the regular season kicks off.
  6. Deciphering the Puck Line: Understanding the puck line is key. When you see a puck line of -1.5 goals for the favorite and +1.5 for the underdog, it signifies that the favorite must secure victory by a margin of two goals for your wager to succeed. Conversely, the underdog can triumph outright or lose by just a single goal, making it a versatile option.

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