When watching a hockey game, it’s tough to keep track of the puck as it zips across the
rink. But it can also be tough to understand what puck line bets are, a type of wager
that’s unique to hockey.
In a traditional point spread bet, the odds are set to equal numbers on both sides. But
the opposite is true with puck line betting—each side has different odds.
Since puck line bets have moneyline odds, bettors gain a few advantages:
● When betting on the favorite, they could receive a higher payout.
● When betting on the underdog, it may be more likely to win the bet.
Sports betting can get confusing, especially when it comes to hockey games. We’ve put
together this guide to help you understand puck line bets:
How to Read Puck Line Odds
Most outcomes in NHL games are decided by one or two goals, which makes sports
betting quite contentious.
Puck line bets are like a hybridization of point spreads and moneyline odds. You’ll
usually see puck lines that are +1.5 goals for the underdog and -1.5 goals for the
favorite. The .5 is added (even though half points are impossible) to avoid a push or tie,
in which the bettor’s money is returned with no gains or losses. This is in stark contrast
to NFL games, where many point spreads have a difference of more than 7 points.
Here’s an example of what a typical puck line bet looks like:
Toronto Maple Leafs: -1.5 (+110)
Montreal Canadiens: +1.5 (-150)
First, we can see that the Leafs (who are the favorite to win) need to score 2 more goals
than the Canadiens to cover the line. The Canadiens must lose by less than 2 goals to
cover the line—if the Leafs win the game, but only by 1 point, you still cash out. With a
puck line bet, what matters is how many points a team wins or loses by.
Next, you’ll see the moneyline odds. The important thing to note here is the (-), which
indicates what you must wager to win $100, and the (+) symbol, which tells you what
you’ll win if you bet $100. If you bet on the Leafs, you’ll win $110 by wagering $100; if
you wager $150 on the Canadiens, you’ll win $100. This is because it’s easier for the
Canadiens to lose by only 1 point than for the Leafs to win by more than 2.
You can see that sports betting is more complicated than simply wagering on the
favored team. When it comes to hockey betting, it’s often more likely for the underdog
bet to be successful.
Difference between Puck Line and Moneyline
The key difference here is what event you’re betting on. With moneyline odds, you’re
wagering that a specific team will win. Regardless of the final score, you get paid if you
choose the winning team.
When you’re betting on the puck line, it doesn’t necessarily matter which team wins.
You’re wagering on how many points a team will win or lose by. If you bet on an
underdog that loses by only 1 point in a +1.5 puck line bet, you’ll still cash out.
Anyone who follows the NHL knows that it’s not uncommon for games to go into
overtime. This is sometimes referred to as a two-way puck line bet; you can only choose
whether a team will win or lose by a set number of points.
Overtime puts those who bet on the underdog in an advantageous position. In the NHL,
the first team to score 1 point will win the game. Given that many puck line bets are set
to 1.5 goals, this makes it easier for a bet on the underdog to cash out.
But if you aren’t keen about betting on what happens in overtime, then the next type of
wager may appeal to you:
Three-way Puck Line
With a three-way puck line, any overtime is not factored into the wager. It only accounts for
time (and goals scored) in the regular 60 minutes of a game. This gives bettors a third
option: they can bet if the game will end in a tie. If the team you choose doesn’t cover the
line by the time the game ends, you lose the bet.
The three-way puck line is an advantageous opportunity for bettors since it’s more
challenging for oddsmakers to predict three outcomes rather than two.
Hockey Bet Parlays
Feeling lucky? You can string together multiple types of wagers to increase your
winnings with a parlay bet. Pair a puck line bet with a totals bet if you’re feeling
especially confident. The stakes for parlays are higher; you’ll need to win each type of
wager for your bet to cash out. However, you can increase your winnings substantially if
Use parlays to your advantage. For example, if you strongly believe that one team will
win, you’ll only get paid so much with a moneyline bet. Combine it with a puck line bet to
increase your earnings. Since there are odds attached to puck line bets, you could
receive a bigger payout than you would with a moneyline bet alone.
Pick Line Betting Strategies
Now that you understand how puck line bets work, you might be eager to start investing.
But before you place your bet, consider things like:
● What is the travel schedule of both teams?
A team will typically play better when they’ve had adequate time to rest. But if they’ve
played two or three games in a row, they’ll be exhausted and potentially injured by the
fourth. Pay attention to the schedule of both teams, as it will affect their performance on
● Are they playing at home or on the road?
Some teams play better in front of a home crowd, while others tend to choke. If the top-
ranked team in the NHL has only lost a handful of games, but all those games were
played on the road, that’s something to take note of. Check out which locations teams
lose in more often: home games, or away games.
● What are professional sports handicappers picking?
Hockey betting becomes more popular each year as more bettors realize the potential
that this sport offers. Given the complexities of sports betting and the money at stake, it
can be highly beneficial (and profitable) to use a sports handicapping service.
When choosing NFL picks, Kyle Covers takes all these factors, and more, into account.
Using data analysis, his team examines every element at play in a given hockey game.
If you’re interested in sports betting, consider one of the NHL covers packages for
professional picks, parlays, and bankroll management advice.