Few sports are as fast and furious as ice hockey, with every face-off ushering in frantic action on the rink. As you might expect, there are plenty of ways to bet on how the games unfold – here are just some of the popular markets available at the UK’s best bookies.
Outright League/Tournament Betting
The NHL alone presents a number of ways you can place outright bets – whether you’re predicting who’ll win the Eastern and Western Conferences of the NHL, or which team will get their hands on the iconic Stanley Cup. Other outright league/tournament bets can focus on the likes of the Kontinental Hockey League and Ice Hockey World Championships.
This sounds like a simple market – you’re betting on which team will win, right? Just bear in mind that there can be variations on this. One type of match result market will focus on regulation time only, while the other takes overtime into consideration. (A related market lets you predict whether the game will go into overtime or not.)
This self-explanatory market lets you guess how many times the puck will slam into the nets during a period or game. It takes the form of an over/under bet, so you’ll wager on whether the total number of goals will exceed a certain number.
If you feel like Lady Luck is in a good mood, you can try putting your money on what the scoreline will be. You can bet on the correct score for each individual period or the game as a whole.
Who will score the very first goal of the game? Who will prove particularly lethal with the stick and rack up the highest number of goals? And – getting into the real nitty-gritty – which period will a particular player score in? These are some of the player-related prop bets you can try your luck with.
You don’t have to place all your bets before the first face-off of a game. Thanks to live betting – also known as in-play betting – you can go ahead and put wagers down right throughout the various periods. Not only does this make watching the hockey even more exciting, but it also means the odds can shift and become more lucrative, depending on how things go.
Let’s take the example of a strong team like the Boston Bruins taking on rivals who languish far lower down the Eastern Conference. The odds on the Bruins winning will be pretty short before the game, but if they get off to a poor start and are losing at the end of the first period, the odds on them winning may dramatically lengthen. So, if you bet on them to win at this point, and they later regain momentum and triumph, that means a better return for you.
Imagine being able to bail on a bad bet before it actually becomes a bad bet. It’s no fantasy. Many of the UK’s best bookmakers provide a cash out option, which allows you to effectively cancel your bet during a hockey game if it looks like you’re not going to get the outcome you predicted. By hitting the cash out button, you’ll get a payout based on your initial stake and the odds as they stand at that moment – it won’t be as much as a win, of course, but it beats an outright loss!
Accumulator, or acca, bets are getting more popular all the time among punters, and it’s pretty easy to see why. Combining different bets onto one slip means that the individual odds will be multiplied together if you win – meaning a much bigger return. Is there a catch? Well, you’ll need every selection to come good for the whole acca to count as a win. But top UK betting sites offer a partial safety net in the form of acca insurance, which will return your stake in the form of free bet credits if your acca loses by one selection.
Boost Your Bankroll With a Bonus
As far as many punters are concerned, the welcome bonus is the number one deciding factor when choosing between UK betting sites. The most popular and widespread welcome bonuses include:
- Matched deposit bonuses, such as “100% up to £200”, where the bookie will match the whole of your first deposit up to a maximum of £200 (so if you transfer £50, you’ll have an extra £50 to bet with)
- Free bets, where you’ll be given a welcome gift of free bet credits after making a qualifying bet (for example, £10 in free bets if you bet a tenner)
With all welcome bonuses, it’s important to check the terms and conditions to see if there are wagering requirements, minimum odds requirements and deadlines for making use of bet credits.
Bet With the Hottest New Promos
What about after you sign up to a UK betting site? Well, the best bookies carry on providing perks in the form of regular promotions which reward return visitors. These include:
- Money-back offers, where you’ll get your stake back as free bets in the event of a losing bet (up to a certain limit)
- Enhanced odds, which are particularly prevalent with big sporting events, and involve the bookie boosting odds on popular betting markets to give you better returns than you’d normally expect
The best UK betting sites ensure the whole online gambling process is as straightforward and convenient as possible. That’s why they’ll accommodate a variety of banking options, such as:
- Visa and Mastercard debit cards
- Bank transfer
Bet Anytime, Anywhere
Big hockey games take place across various time zones, so you can’t always be at your computer to place bets. But that’s fine because mobile sports betting has never been more popular. There are two ways to do it:
- With the betting site’s mobile-optimised web site, which means logging in just as you would on your computer, and doesn’t require downloading any software
- With the native mobile app, if available, which requires downloading the app onto your device, tends to be faster and more convenient, and also provides you with push notifications on the latest promos and bonuses
Get Clued up Before Placing Your Bets
Whatever sport you’re betting on, it pays to do some research ahead of time. With ice hockey, checking the league rankings of teams can give you a general sense of how good they are, but recent form is a far more significant factor.
Even a team with a giant reputation may be faltering in recent weeks and months, whether it’s due to injuries, ageing players, poor management or behind the scenes tensions – all of which can make it tempting to take your chances on their underdog opponents (and potentially make big returns on longer odds). You should also check the head to head statistics on previous clashes between the teams in question – do they bring out certain strengths and weaknesses in each other? And do particular players play more aggressively or cautiously against certain opponents? Knowing the latter can steer you in the right direction with prop bets.
Major Ice Hockey Tournaments
For many, ice hockey is pretty much synonymous with the National Hockey League, or NHL. Encompassing teams spread across the United States and Canada, it’s divided into the Eastern Conference and Western Conference. Running from October, the NHL season includes the regular season and the Stanley Cup playoffs, which determine who’ll compete for the ultimate accolade in the Stanley Cup Final.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, there’s the Kontinental Hockey League, or KHL, which involves teams based in Russia, Belarus and other countries. The season commences in September and the winners of the playoffs lift the Gagarin Cup, named after Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space.
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for the Ice Hockey World Championships, which is hockey’s biggest international tournament and takes place every May. And then, of course, there’s the ice hockey at the Winter Olympics to look forward to every four years.
All Set to Bet on Ice Hockey?
Ready to face-off against the bookmaker and see if the pucks will skid and slide your way? Have a look through our recommended ice hockey betting sites in the UK and sign up to start placing your wagers today!
Frequently Asked Questions
The best way to guarantee a safe experience is to exclusively bet with bookmakers licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). At Compare.bet, we only review and recommend sites with the UKGC seal of approval, which means you’re guaranteed fair betting, secure payments and measures to help you gamble responsibly.
You should always gamble responsibly and play with a budget of money that you can afford to lose – wins are never guaranteed. UKGC-approved sites make things a lot easier – they feature measures such as loss limits, deposit limits, time outs and self exclusions that help you stay in control of your gambling activity and help combat any problem gambling.
As with all sports, online betting tips can provide some useful knowledge and help you make better-informed wagers. But always keep in mind that, no matter how successful a tipster is, no tips are foolproof – it’s impossible to guarantee a result in sports, so make sure you do your homework before adding to your betslip.