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How to Bet NHL Pucklines

The puckline is hockey’s version of the spread and similar to baseball’s runline, with oddsmakers favoring one team by 1.5 goals with the other heading into the game as a 1.5-goal underdog.

The puckline is adjusted accordingly based on how strong the favorite is and how weak the underdog is. Those who want to bet the favorite but do not want to lay such a heavy price may consider the puckline a more affordable option.

How to Read Puckline Odds

Picture this: it’s a frigid Detroit day in February and the Toronto Maple Leafs are in the Motor City to play the Red Wings. There’s a bitter cold wind coming off the Detroit River and you can see Canada across the water and wonder what those kooky Canucks are up to. After drinking your third cup of hot chocolate, you decide to put some money on the Wings tonight. A typical moneyline would look like this:

Detroit -110

Toronto +130

In this case, you would need to bet $110 on the Red Wings to win $100, or $100 on Toronto to win $130. This is a fine bet. However, if you’re looking to up the ante, the puckline offers greater value and may be a better wager if you think the favorite will win the game by two goals or more. Puckline odds would look like this:

Detroit -1.5 (-175)

Toronto +1.5 (+150)

The oddsmakers expect Detroit to win by one goal because they are essentially making them underdogs to win by two or more. Betting Toronto to lose or win by a goal in this case provides a much smaller return but better odds.

When to Bet the Puckline

There are instances where betting the puckline makes more sense than taking the moneyline or making a totals bet. When there is a strong appeal in backing a favorite on the board and little value on the underdog, a puckline bet could net you more profit. By wagering on the favorite to win by two or more goals, you can get the likely winner of the game at a reduced price.

Hockey bettors can parlay their puckline bets. A parlay combines two or more individual wagers into one bet. It’s like a smoothie except you’re not adding protein powder and almond milk, you’re adding a puckline wager on a team to win by two or more goals and/or any other type of wager. However, in order for your parlay bet to win, all bets on the ticket need to win.

Winning NHL pucklines requires good money management, the great hockey pages on Odds Shark and, of course, a little bit of good luck. Before you place any NHL bet, look at our odds and free picks to ensure you’re making an educated wager. It could mean the difference between making Sidney Crosby dollars and Phil Kessel cash*.

*Not an actual unit of currency. Do not go to your bank and ask for 30 Phil Kessels. You will be disappointed.