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What is the NHL Puck Line & How to Bet It

What is the NHL Puck Line & How to Bet ItLet’s talk about the NHL puck line for a minute.There are three bets that comprise most of the wagers on team sports. Spreads, moneyline and over/under bets dominate the wagering activity.

For the NHL, the spread bet isn’t referred to that way but is instead known as the NHL puck line.

Unlike football, where the point spread is set differently for each game, the puck line is always the same. A football point spread bet usually carries odds of -110 for both teams, constituting the operator’s edge.

In hockey, the favorite has a puck line of -1.5, and the underdog’s is +1.5.

On a puck line bet, the favorite wager wins if they outscore the underdog by at least two goals. The underdog bet pays out if they win the game outright or lose by a goal.

Bet On The Spread

On a puck line wager, the odds look more like moneyline bets in other sports, but the bet is still on the spread.

Take a recent game between the Islanders and the Washington Capitals, where New York was favored to win. However, on the puck line bet, the odds on the Capitals were -220 and +180 for the Islanders.

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This meant the Capitals, while moneyline underdogs, were actually favored to keep the game within a goal. The player would have to put down $200 to net $100 on the puck line for Washington.

Betting $100 on the puck line at your sportsbook for the Islanders would net $180 if they won by at least two goals.

The Capitals ended up winning the game 3-2 in regulation, paying out on the puck line by covering the 1.5. They also won the moneyline, where they were +110, which indicated they weren’t big underdogs after all.

Late Goals

Most games in the NHL are either decided by one goal or by multiple goals that include an empty-net goal. Teams that find themselves behind late in a game can pull their goalie and add an extra attacker. This leaves their goal unprotected and vulnerable to a late-game score.

Obviously, this occurrence could greatly impact the outcome of an NHL puck line wager. However, teams don’t generally pull their goalie when down by only a goal until the final minute or so.

But it’s still important that bettors take the possibility into consideration when making a puck line wager.

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Statistics indicate that against the puck line, wagers on the underdog are more favorable than on the favorites. Most games are decided by a goal, so it makes sense that the better bet is on the underdog.

The bookmakers take that into consideration by making the puck line underdog (+1.5) the odds favorite.

A sound strategy, if betting the puck line, is to focus on high scoring teams. If they’re favored, they have a better chance to win by two goals and will get favorable odds. As with any betting strategy, it’s important to be selective when making wagering decisions.

The puck line can be a little more complicated than many wagers, but understanding the bet can help. There are no real point spreads in hockey, just the puck line of +/- 1.5.

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