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While ice hockey is still growing in popularity in the UK, it is one of the most popular sports in Canada and North America, as well as in some eastern and northern European countries, particularly Russia and Finland. This is mainly due to the climate of these countries, which lends itself well to games played on ice. So how does the game work?

Ice hockey is played by two teams of six, including a goaltender, two defence players, and three forwards. Each team has two goaltenders in its squad, along with two pairs of defence players, and three lines of forwards, all of which rotate as the game progresses. The aim of the game is to score more points than the other team by getting the puck into the opponent’s goal. It is played for a total of 60 minutes, with three 20 minute periods. Time only counts down when the puck is in play, and often games feature physical fights and confrontation. The two most major leagues in the world are the National Hockey League (NHL), played in Canada and North America, and the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), played in Russia.

Ice hockey is believed to have evolved from simple games played on ice in the UK, which were then transported to America and Canada, where they became very popular. In terms of international teams, the so-called ‘big six’ countries include Canada, Sweden, Czech Republic, Russia, Finland, and the United States. The international tournament, the Ice Hockey World Championships, is played annually, usually in one of these countries. However, despite the fact that it is not as popular as some other sports in the UK, many people place ice hockey bets online, mainly due to the unique way in which bets are placed. As a result, almost all of the major online betting websites feature ice hockey games, with live in-play betting and tailored odds.

What ways are there to bet on ice hockey?

Ice hockey betting online is unlike betting on many of the sports we have here in the United Kingdom. In America and Canada, sports betting works using ‘lines’ for all major sports, including baseball and basketball, as well as ice hockey. This means that in order to bet on ice hockey and stand a chance of winning, you’re going to need to know a bit more about how the line system works, and what it means for how you place your bets. So, let’s take a look at it in more detail.

  • The money line

The money line bet essentially means choosing who you think will be the outright winner of the match. However, the money line works by first determining which of the two teams is most likely to win, and which is considered the ‘underdog’. Once this has been established by the online ice hockey betting site, they will assign a price to each team.

For example, let’s say that the Boston Bruins are playing the Buffalo Sabres. The Bruins are expected to win, so a minus symbol is added to their line on the betting website; the Sabres are the underdogs, so a plus symbol is added to their line. Then the odds are adjusted for each team: as the underdog, the Sabres have better odds as the outright winner, whereas the Bruins have worse odds. The difference in quality between the two teams determines how much of a difference there is between the odds. On some ice hockey online betting sites, they will not use odds, but instead will show a sum of money. For example, the underdog might have + £150 next to it, meaning that if you bet £100, you will win £150; whereas the expected winner may have – £160, which means that for every £160 you bet, you can win £100.

  • The puck line handicap

The puck line handicap essentially involves betting on the number of goals by which a side will win or lose in the game. The puck line handicap works on a variable of 1.5, and is again determined by which team is expected to win. Let’s take the Bruins and Sabres again. The Bruins are expected to win, so their puck line handicap is – 1.5. This means that if they win by two goals or more, you will win the bet. The underdogs have + 1.5, which means that if they lose the game by one goal, or win by one goal, then you will win. This is fairly confusing for a first timer, but with a little practice it becomes as easy as betting on sports you know.

  • Total goals

In addition to the puck line and money line bets, you can also bet on the total number of goals scored by each team. Again, the expected winner and the underdog have different bets: for the underdog, you can bet on whether you think they will score over five goals in the match; whereas for the expected winner, you bet on whether they will score under five goals.

Live ice hockey betting

Like most other sports, you can also place an ice hockey bet during a live game. This means that the odds will change as the game progresses, giving you a better chance of making more profit when betting.

How can you get free ice hockey bets?

As a way to entice new customers to their website, many ice hockey betting sites offer free bet promotions to new customers. Usually, these free bets require you to sign up to the website and deposit some of your own money, which is either matched on the site, or triggers a free bet. Free bets are a great way to make the most of betting online, and are very simple to obtain from almost every online bookmakers. So, here’s three simple steps that you need to follow to get your free ice hockey bet.

1. Find the best free bet promotion for you

There are lots of free bet promotions out there, so first you need to find the one that’s right for you. At Best Deal Casinos, we try to make this as easy as possible for you, by outlining everything you need to know about each free bet offer in one handy table! This makes it simple for you to pick out your favourite free bet promotion and get started as quickly as possible. So, take a look at the table above, copy the promotional code, and click the link.

2. Sign up

The next step is to sign up to the online betting site, as this is usually a requirement for claiming your free bet. You will need to provide some of your basic personal information, and you may be required to enter a promotional code. These codes are outlined in the table at the top of the page, so it’s as simple as copying and pasting the code you need into the box on the website – it couldn’t be easier!

3. Make a deposit and claim your free bet!

You will probably be required to make a deposit before you can claim your free bet. This is to stop people taking their free bet and running away with the cash, but you can still make good profits on your free bet even if you have to spend some of your own money. Then, once you’ve made the deposit, you should be ready to get betting!

How can you use your free ice hockey bet?

You should be aware that some online betting sites may place restrictions on how you can use your free bet. The exact restrictions will depend on the online betting website you’re using, but can range from forcing you to bet on specific sports or markets, or a required minimum odds for your chosen selection. But don’t let this dissuade from using your free bet – even with the restrictions you still stand to make a profit should your selection prove to be correct.

So, now that you know a bit more about the sport itself, how betting on ice hockey works, and how to claim your free bet, you might be ready to start betting. However, to help give you a helping hand and a head start, we’ve included some ice hockey betting tips and tricks below that you might find very useful.

Ice hockey betting tips and tricks

As it isn’t a major sport in the United Kingdom, some people might feel unsure about how to make the most of their bet on ice hockey. So, to help you stand the best chance of winning with ice hockey bets, we’ve put together a list of three top tips and tricks for betting on ice hockey, starting with knowing the basics of the sport and the betting market.

1. Get to know the basics

As we stated above, ice hockey isn’t on a par with football and rugby in the United Kingdom, and while it is gaining in popularity, both with players of the game and and those who watch it, you’d be forgiven for not knowing too much about the sport and current events in it. That’s why it makes sense to get to know the basics of ice hockey before you even consider placing a bet on it. This means not only understanding how the sport is played, for example the length of games, how the scoring works, and how the league functions, but also keeping up to date on goings-on in the sport. For example, it will help to know which teams are in form, which players are under-performing, and who this season’s dark horse might be. There are a number of websites out there that can help you with this.

2. Understand the money line

The ‘money line’ is a betting term related mainly to North American sports, including baseball, basketball, and ice hockey. The money line works by betting on either the expected winner or the underdog in a specific game. On the betting page, the expected winner will have a minus symbol next to then, followed by a number, e.g. – £120, whereas the underdog will have a plus symbol followed by a number, e.g. + £130. So what does this mean? Well, if you want to bet on the expected winners, you would need to bet £120 to win £100, whereas if you bet £100 on the underdogs, you would win £130. This can be quite confusing at first, as it is not a betting style we are that familiar with in the UK, but once you’ve got your head around it, it’s no trouble at all.

3. Follow the games live – even if that means staying up late!

It’s no secret that following sport live while you’re betting on it is a good idea, as you can place live bets, work out if you’re going to win or lose, and formulate new betting strategies. However, most of the ice hockey games that you’ll be betting on will be being played in Canada or the USA, and this means that they’re likely to be shown in the UK either late at night or early on in the morning. But don’t let this deter you from watching them!

So do you think you’re ready?

By now, you should be ready to start betting and winning on ice hockey games online. So don’t waste any more time – claim your free bets from our table above and get started. Remember, you can always come back to this page for more information or to claim more free bets.

Please check out other sports suitable for betting, including Motor Racing, Netball, Rugby & Show Jumping.