To the uninitiated, ice hockey can often resemble an ongoing - and extremely fast - brawl on multi-coloured ice. Indeed, the idea that betting on ice hockey is both incredibly popular and can be enormously profitable will come as a surprise to some people whose ice hockey betting predictions extend no further than wondering who will next hit whom with their hockey stick.
Of course, ice hockey betting encompasses any number of markets – from correct score outcomes to winning margins – as well as outright win/lose wagers. Not surprisingly, it is online bookmakers, replete with their comprehensive range of free bets, who have witnessed a surge in the willingness of punters to bet on ice hockey.
“The internet drives ice hockey betting,” says the CEO of one UK-based online odds comparison service. “Ice hockey bets are popular with bettors who fancy a decent return, especially from correct score markets, because the odds are so attractive.”
This assessment is borne out by a look at the most compelling ice hockey bets a few days before the Stanley Cup duel involving the Philadelphia Flyers and the Chicago Blackhawks. A bet on hockey can be very profitable if you’re prepared to venture into the correct score markets, as the odds provided by one online bookmaker ahead of this encounter show.
For example, punters placing a bet on hockey who anticipate a 2-2 outcome can generally receive odds of around 17/2 against, but for less precise folk expecting a draw, an online bookmaker will offer odds of approximately 16/5 about the contest finishing level. And that’s before the free bet is thrown in.
Ice hockey betting will reach a peak next weekend when the Flyers take on the Blackhawks, the odds-on favourites to lift the Stanley Cup. But it’s not just because this is such a massive game; betting on ice hockey was always likely to increase thanks to other reasons. Perhaps the most obvious is the game’s television coverage. Ice hockey betting has been buoyant since the end of the Winter Olympics; incredibly, the Olympic final produced better television ratings than the last dozen NBA finals.
Ever since the Olympics ended, the volume of ice hockey bets has risen steadily and the process shows no sign of slowing down.
Widespread internet access, combined with the ready availability of generous free bets has convinced many punters that hockey is not simply an excuse to whack people over the head with a large stick. And as a consequence, ice hockey betting has started to become popular with a UK audience.
A few years ago, outside of the US, only north American expatriates would place an ice hockey bet, their predictions determined by team loyalty. Today, the number of different nationalities enjoying a bet on ice hockey has broadened considerably. If the game’s widening appeal is a predictor of future trends, online bookmakers are in for not just a busy Stanley Cup weekend, but for a busy few years.