Like with baseball, moneylines and totals are the most popular forms of NHL betting, but pucklines are also available for bettors willing to dig a little deeper for some profits.
The puckline, like the runline in MLB betting, is hockey’s version of the spread. Oddsmakers favor one team by 1.5 goals, while the other team heads into the game as a 1.5-goal underdog. Odds and payouts are adjusted accordingly based on the relative strengths of the clubs in question.
For instance, if the Detroit Red Wings are rolling into Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Rangers, the moneyline could look like this:
New York -130
In this case, you’d need to bet $100 on the Red Wings to win $110, or $130 on the Rangers to win $100. The puckline, however, is different, and could be a better wager depending on how you handicap the game:
Detroit +1.5 (-175)
New York -1.5 (+150)
It’s easy to see that oddsmakers expect the Rangers to win by one goal. Taking the Wings to win or lose by a goal provides a much smaller return, while betting the Blueshirts to win by two or more goals garners the biggest payday. The latter is also the larger risk, of course. [ Hockey underdogs pay out bigtime - the best dog odds are often found at ]
There are definitely instances where betting the puck line makes sense. One situation is when there’s a prohibitive favorite on the board, and there’s little value in the huge underdog. By wagering that huge fave to win by two or more goals, however, you can get the likely winner of the game at a reduced price.
Hockey bettors also use the puckline to parlay their moneyline bets. By combining a moneyline bet with a puck line wager on a team to win by two or more goals, bettors can reap some serious rewards in the right spot.