Field Hockey Basics
Unsurprisingly, field hockey is played on a grass pitch (or AstroTurf). Two teams of eleven people compete and the game takes place on a court that is almost the same size as a football field.
The game is played using clubs or sticks with a swirling hook at the end, and an ivory ball. Players are only allowed to hit the ball with the flat side of the sticks, and with the exception of the goalie, the use of feet or hands to hit the ball is forbidden.
Field hockey is not physical in the same way as ice hockey. The players do not come into physical contact with one another and if they do, it will result in a foul. Depending on the position and severity of the foul, it will result in a free hit or a penalty corner.
The game takes place over two 35-minute halves and the aim of the game is very simple, to score more goals than the opponent does. Goals can be scored through field goals, penalty corners, or penalty strikes. A field goal can only be scored inside the shooting circle, a penalty corner may be awarded after a foul in the shooting circle or if the defenders intentionally hit the ball over the line, while a penalty strike is awarded after a foul inside the attacking 25 or a foul inside the shooting circle that prevents a goal.
Fouls can be awarded for a number of different reasons such as obstructing other players, raising or using the stick dangerously or to hit other players’ sticks or by using anything other than the stick to advance the ball.
Only two substitutions are allowed during a game, while the referee has the power to remove a player for two, five, or ten minutes, or for the rest of the match.
The eleven players in a team are divided into five different positions. There are forwards, whose job it is to score goals. Normally there are four forwards on each team. There are midfielders, positioned in the centre of the field and tasked with a mixture of offense and defence. There are fullbacks, usually three of them, who are the last line of defence between the goalie and the opposing attack. There is the sweeper, who has the same role as a fullback but is positioned slightly further back. Finally, there is the goalkeeper, whose job is to block the opposition’s shots and it is the only player allowed to use their body to stop the ball.
There are numerous field hockey leagues around the world that fans will be able to bet on, as well as a number of tournaments, such as the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup, the Hockey World Cup, and more. As such, there are usually plenty of betting opportunities.
Betting on Field Hockey
As with any sport that has both leagues and tournaments, there are many different betting markets available for field hockey. You can bet on individual games as well as the broader competitions. Here we will explain the most popular field hockey betting markets.
Winner Full Time
This is the most basic bet that you can place and also the most popular. You are simply betting on which team will be the winner when the match is over. If your chosen team wins, then you win the bet.
Handicap betting markets assign a handicap to the favourites that they must then overcome. This means that the odds on these markets are often more generous than on the simple winner markets. For example, the favourite team might be assigned a handicap of -2 and the underdogs of +2. This means that if you bet on the favourite, you win the bet if they are still the winners after two goals have been subtracted from their score. If you back the underdog, then you win the bet if they are the winners once two goals have been added to their score.
In addition to betting on the result of the entire match, you can bet on the result of the first half and/or the second half. You will have the same options as when placing a Match Bet and it is a great market if you think a team may start or finish a match strongly or weakly.
This is a bet designed to give you a better chance of winning. It covers two of three possible outcomes, home team win or draw, away team win or draw, or home team win or away team win. If either of your combinations prove correct, then you win the bet.
These three types of bet all relate to the score. As the name suggests, the Correct Score market is a bet on the final score of a match. It usually has very generous odds, as it is hard to get right.
Total Points Over/Under
In this market, you are betting on whether the combined goals from both teams will be more or less than the given number. For example, if the market is over/under 5.5, you would bet over if you think there will be 6 or more goals and under if you think there will be 5 goals or less. There are many possible variations on this market, for instance, you may find it offered on individual halves or you may find it offered on the individual teams’ scores.
This is simply a bet on a particular player to score during a match. Often there will be variations available, such as the player to be the first or last to score. These markets can be very good value when you think a particular player is in form.
Draw No Bet
This is a bet that has a bit of safety built into it. You bet on the outcome of a match, but if it ends in a draw, then your bet is returned.
In-play betting, or live betting, allows you to bet on a field hockey match while it is taking place. You will find many of the same markets as explained above; however, the odds will be updated in real time as the match progresses. There may also be ‘Next To’ markets, which are on the next thing to happen in a match, such as the next team/player to score. As such, by carefully watching the game and the odds, you may see some excellent betting opportunities.
These are markets that relate to a league or tournament as a whole rather than a specific game. The most basic is winner, i.e. which team will win the league/tournament. However, you may find many more, such as teams to finish in the top three positions, or which player will score the most goals over the course of a season. It is always worth looking at these markets carefully as you never know what you may find.
What to Consider When Betting on Hockey
As with any sport, before betting on field hockey you need to do as much research as possible. It won’t guarantee that you will win your bet, but it will go a long way to helping.
You can start by looking at a team’s recent form and their head-to-head history with their opponents. You also need to be aware of the individual players. If a star player has been injured or will be missing due to illness, then this can have a huge impact, even on the best teams.
You should also consider the teams’ recent schedules. If one of the teams has been very busy, then they may be tired. Similarly, if a team has to travel a long way for a match, then this can also affect their performance. There are other external factors that can have an effect, such as the weather and the condition of the field.
Ideally, you should be watching as much field hockey as possible, so that you can get a sense of the different teams and their styles of play. This way, you will be bringing a great deal of knowledge to your bets, which will hopefully lead to you placing many that go on to win.