Field Hockey Rules, Features and Ultimate Betting Strategies

If you thought hockey was only played on ice, then you were wrong. There are athletes who don't like cold, ice and skating, rather preferring the non-slippery green coating and soft shoes. In this article we will talk about the sport of field hockey, and especially, about betting on this sport.

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Field Hockey Rules in the USA

Two teams of 11 people each compete in a field hockey game. The game takes place on an artificial lawn on the court, the size of which is almost identical to a football field.

Athletes use clubs or sticks with swirling hooks and an ivory ball slightly larger than those in billiards. Players are only allowed to hit the ball with the flat side of their sticks. These sticks will also be the only thing able to hit the ball, as the use of feet or hands is not allowed (except for goalies). 

Another thing that sets the sport apart from ice hockey is its non-physical nature. There is no physical contact with other players either through themselves or their stick, and doing so will result in a foul. 

This will result in a free hit or a 'penalty corner' depending on the severity and position of the foul. 

In America, a field hockey game is comprised of two 35-minute halves. The goal of the game is simple - to score more goals than your opponent does within the 70 minutes.

Field hockey goals can be scored through field goals, penalty corner or a penalty strike. 

  • Field Goals - a goal scored during the flow of the game (can only be scored inside the shooting circle)
  • Penalty Corner - awarded after a foul in the shooting circle or by defenders intentionally hitting the ball over the line
  • Penalty Strike - awarded after a foul inside the attacking 25 or a foul inside the shooting circle which prevents a goal 

Fouls in field hockey can be awarded for a number of different infractions including obstructing other players, raising or using the stick dangerously or to hit other players sticks and by using anything other than the stick to advance the ball. 

During a game, the coach has the power to make only two substitutions. Also, the referee of the meeting can remove the player of any of the teams for two, five,  ten minutes or for the rest of the match for a foul; depending on the seriousness of his violation.

Field Hockey Positions 

These 11 players on each side will fit into one of five different field hockey positions. In this instance, the positions are a mix between ice hockey and soccer, with their own unique responsibilities. 

Different team formations and tactics can alter the number of players in each position on the field. 

The Ones Who Score - Forwards 

Just like in soccer and ice hockey, most of the scoring in field hockey will be done by forwards. There are most often four fowards on each team, and will be positioned in-between the midfield and the opposing goalie. The main purpose of the forward is to advance the ball into scoring positions. 

Midfielders or Halfbacks

These are the primary two-way players on the field for each time. Midfielders are positioned in the middle of the field, and will need to play both offense and defense. There are most commonly three midfielders on each side: left, right, attacking and/or defensive. Stamina, endurance and quick reactions are necessary attributes for this position. 

Last Line of Defense - Fullbacks 

Like the midfielder, there will most often be three defensemen, or fullbacks. These players will be the last formal line of defense between the goalie and the opposing attack. Their main mission is to stop the opposing team from scoring and regain possession of the ball for their team. 

The Sweeper - Goalie's Best Friend

Use of a sweeper in field hockey is optional, and depends on the coach and quality of the opponent. The sweeper will have the same role as a fullback, but if employed will truly be the last position the opponent encounters before the goalie. 

Goalie or Goalkeeper

There is one goalie on each team who's sole mission is to stop opposing teams shots from turning into goals. A goalie is also the only player who can use their body to stop the ball. 

Types of Field Hockey Bets

Moneyline Betting. As in other types of hockey, in this sport there are bets on the victory of one or the other team or on a draw result (P1, X, P2). This is a bet on the main outcome of the match, and bets on outcomes are considered to be among the most popular types of bets.

Betting with a Spread. The superiority in the quality of one team over another in field hockey can be significant. In these instances, bettors, to receive higher odds, can make a bet with a handicap placed on one of the teams. A bet with a handicap implies an initial advantage by adding or subtracting points from a team's initial score.

Over Under Bets. Each bet on total goals in field hockey is numerical and is a bet on the total number of goals in a particular indicator, for example:

  • total score (the number of goals scored by both teams for the entire match)
  • team total (the number of goals scored by a certain team)
  • total goals in each half (could be both teams or just one team)

According to statistics, on average, teams score 4.5 goals per game. After the initial stage of the league (8-10 games) the player, having studied the statistics, can choose for himself specific games where the performances and styles of the teams participating are well known.

Futures Bets. Many betting companies offer the chance for players to make long-term bets on the outcome of the tournament or season. In the line with long-term bets, you can bet, for example, on the number of wins for a team in the season, on a specific place in the standings at the end of the season/tournament, etc.

How to Make the Best Bets on Field Hockey

As with any other sport, the advice here is quite simple: you need to know the specifics and rules, understand the rules of tournaments, understand the teams and the style with how they approach the game.

In the NCAA, there are teams who consistently perform well each season. Due to the recruiting nature of the league, these teams will be favorites nearly each year. 

In general, there is no method that allows you to win consistently or guarantees you to win your bets. Although some methods can come close, like the strategy of middling the sportsbook odds. However, we remind you that such a strategy will require precise timing and patience.

Unfortunately, even an excellent knowledge of a particular sport cannot guarantee a constant profit in the game on bets but definitely helps to properly analyze and minimize risks.

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